There’s a whole segment of the population that’s missing the boat on one of the greatest forms of entertainment this country has to offer… “Community Theater!”
There’s nothing like being in the room and experiencing the live action of real “flesh and blood” people giving their “all” to perform just for you. Then there are those special nights when the magic seems to go a step further and you feel so well connected to what’s going on, it’s almost like you’re on stage with them.
And if you look closer, you might see someone you know up there. After all… that’s why they call it “Community Theater”. Those who get involved are there for a myriad of reasons. Perhaps they’re there to build friendships or just plain do something different. Maybe they need a place to vent, or they love the arts so much that they just want to feel what it’s like to be on the inside of what goes on.
And, then again, you never know when you might get a look at the next “Box Office Star”. They all have to start somewhere, you know. If you look at the bios of your favorite actor you’re almost sure to see the name of the local “Community Theater” where they originally got “the itch!” People like Barbra Streisand, Gene Hackman, Bea Arthur, James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, Harvey Keitel, Judd Hirsch, Gary Sinise, Jerry Stiller, Rue McClenahan, Roy Scheider, Frank Langella, Tyne Daly and Kevin Bacon. Impressed?
But, let’s not forget those that you never see. The results of their labors can be just the thing to make or break the performance. Where would the show be without the costumes, the props, the sets? Or how about the Stage Crew? There’s the lights and sound! A good Tech person is a real jewel. Then, of course, there’s the Director. A really good Director lends their talent and creativity to the expression of the script and takes a performance from “good” to “amazing”. The Producers are the ones that do all that detail stuff that nobody really notices but is crucial to making sure that the whole thing happens to begin with.
That’s what I’m talking about! It’s a whole bunch of people coming together with a passion to do something crazy and wonderful… simply for the fun of it.
I started out in Community Theater in 1981. The first time I entered my local theater, I didn’t have the first idea what I was doing. Somebody said “Stage Right” and “Stage Left” and I said, “Huh?” And “blocking!” What in the world was that? But, like many, I learned and was finally given the opportunity to wear a lot of hats. I acted in both Plays and Musicals. When I was given the role of “Mama Rose” in “Gypsy”, at first I was elated! However, then I got the script and came face to face with the size of the role and panicked. But, I did it! I conquered the part and even got my first newspaper review and it was great!
I tried out everything and loved gaining the experience. I worked in costuming, directed and even produced. But, then I found my niche. I was called upon to write. I co-wrote a show about Gershwin and I was hooked.
And now, after years of hard work, I have co-written several Plays and Musicals and I’m thrilled to say that they’ve all enjoyed the opportunity of being performed on the live stage in front of appreciative audiences all over the country. I can’t tell you what an amazing feeling it is to hear the words that you struggled to put down on paper being spoken on a live stage and getting applause, no less. (I’m not ashamed to say that the applause is addictive.) I’m living my dream! And it all started because, one day, I saw an ad in the paper for a theater that was holding auditions and I said to myself, “Why not?”
So, I encourage you! Get involved with your local Community Theater! Meet new friends! Do something different! Express yourself! You’ll be surprised to find how welcome you are. And you never know where it may take you.
At the very least, the next time you’re looking for a “night out” treat yourself to a new experience. Look up what your local “Community Theater” is performing and go see it… “Live!”