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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

1 Day Til 30 - My Life In Theatre: Act 3, Post-College

After I graduated from the University of Scranton, there was a period of 5 years which we'll refer to as "The Dark Times". During this time, I wasn't involved in theatre at all. This was mostly due to the fact that I was working pretty consistently in the evening. I still went to see shows when the opportunity presented itself, but I wasn't involved in a show at any point. I did audition for a couple of shows during this time, but nothing ever came of it. But this all changed when August of 2011 rolled around. I read that York Little Theatre was holding auditions for "The Music Man" the week before Labor Day. Just on a whim, I decided to go and audition after I got home from work that afternoon. I figured it would be worth a shot since it was another show I was familiar with. I was hoping for one of the non-singing roles, like the Mayor or Charlie Cowell, the rival salesman. And if I didn't get either of those, I figured I'd probably be cast in the Ensemble. Imagine my surprise when a couple of days later I was contacted by the music director who said he wanted to try and meet up with the members of the Barbershop Quartet before the first rehearsal. Wait, what?!? I'm part of the Barbershop Quartet? I don't even read music! For the longest time, I kept wondering if maybe they had made some sort of mistake with this casting decision. But as we got closer to opening night, my confidence grew and I felt more and more at ease with things. I was finally back on stage after so long, and it felt great!

After "The Music Man" closed, I quickly auditioned for the next show in the season which was a farce called "Leading Ladies" written by Tony Award winning playwright Ken Ludwig who, believe it or not, is from York, PA. And the show also took place in York as well. How d'you like that? The only bad part of working on this show was I got incredibly sick the second weekend. That was unpleasant in and of itself. But add to the fact that my character did a lot of yelling in the show, my voice was pretty much shot by the time we closed. Despite this, it felt good to do a play again.

A few weeks after "Leading Ladies" closed, I got a call from my friend Chelsea who I had met through being in "Leading Ladies". She was directed a production of "The Taming of the Shrew" for a group in Dover called OrangeMite Studios and they needed a few more guys to round out their cast and asked me if I would be interested. Well, of course I jumped at the chance to be involved! It was another new experience for me since the performance space was a converted barn, so this was my first time working an outdoor venue. So far, that was the first and only time I've done a show for OrangeMite. But I look forward to hopefully being involved in another show sometime soon.

I spent most of the summer preparing for my next audition, the South Central PA premiere of "Avenue Q" at York Little Theatre. I love Avenue Q! I was lucky enough to see it twice while it was on Broadway and think it's one of the most original pieces of theatre even written in the last decade. I was determined to be involved in this show. I chose the song "I Believe" from the musical "The Book of Mormon" as my audition piece and drilled that song constantly for close to three months leading up to the auditions. All my efforts were worth it as I was cast as The Newcomer and also served as an additional puppeteer for the show. In all, I helped operate four different puppets over the course of the show. It was definitely a challenge, but I loved every minute of it!

As 2012 started, I went to the other side of the stage and served as Stage Manager for York Little Theatre's production of "Godspell". It was my first time working as SM for YLT and also working as SM since graduating from college close to six years earlier. Again, it was a challenging experience since it was, once again, a step up in responsibilities from college to community theatre. But in the long run, I enjoyed my time working on the show and will gladly Stage Manage a show at York Little Theatre again. It'll depend on finding the right show though, so we'll see when this will be.

Most recently, I had worked on "The Producers" at York Little Theatre over the summer. I was in the Ensemble for this show and played a wide variety of characters ranging from a blind violinist (who, by the way, got to utter the line "It's good to be the king!"), a horrible auditioner and former British Prime Minister William Churchill. Talk about range, am I right?

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm currently in rehearsals for York Little Theatre's production of "The Rocky Horror Show". I'm so glad to be a part of this show and am loving every second I'm involved. It's interesting because, with the exception of a couple of people, I've worked with everyone else involved in the show before. I know this is going to be a great production when everything comes together. I can't wait until we open!

Well, there you have it. Looking back, it's hard to believe that theatre was such a non-entity for most of the first half of my life. I'm glad I finally embraced it and have striven to be as involved as I can these last 15 years. Theatre has proven to be an invaluable resource in my life, I honestly believe that anyone that has to work retail or in the customer service industry should take some basic theatre courses.

The most important thing I've been able to take away from all my time involved in theatre is the many friendships that I have developed as a result. A lot of the people I have met in theatre are some of my closest friends to this day. The people you meet through theatre can be close to you as family since you spend so much time with them over the course of several months. I wouldn't have traded any of my time with any of them for anything. So for that, I say thank you to everyone I've ever known through the theatre. Thank you for being there for me and helping me become the man I am today.

And thank you to everyone who stuck with me through this "30 Days Til 30" project. We made it! Now, I look forward to a nice, relaxing day tomorrow as I celebrate. Thanks for reading! See you around!

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