Live from WVL Radio Theatre: It's A Wonderful Life | Immediate Theatre Project
Lee Wright (Voice of George Bailey, others)
This was my third time working with the wonderful folks at the Immediate Theatre Project (ITP), and this time I received the immeasurable gift of taking on the challenge and delight that is the classic character, George Bailey. Combining a frame story about the "WVL Radio Station" with a live "broadcast" of Wonderful Life as a radio play makes for a heartfelt adaptation that stays true to the film and its nostalgia but tells it in a fresh, meaningful way. As with all of ITP's "WVL Radio" plays, it was a real treat to tell this story not just with words but also with live Foley sound effects! ITP is based in Asheville, NC, and this production tours up and down the east coast every year. We performed as far south as The Villages, Florida, and as far north as Clayton, New York. Show photos by Sharon Siegfried at Penn State Harrisburg.
A Midsummer Night's Dream | Venture Shakespeare
Each year, and in this production of Midsummer, Venture Shakespeare's mission is to use many Elizabethan Original Practices (such as a "directorless," collaborative, text-driven approach) to bring professional Shakespeare to Western North Carolina. As part of its educational component, Venture also has a Young Company of college-aged apprentices in each show. As a Company member/teaching artist, it was exciting and rewarding to help guide the apprentices on their journeys with classical text. I was especially grateful to be able to do this work with the apprentices while at the same time collaborating with them and the rest of the company to tell this fun story. I also adapted the music for the show, using old Bluegrass tunes to serve as the melodies for Shakespeare's lyrics. https://www.ventureshakespeare.org/
Heroes of the Underground Railroad and The Diary of Anne Frank | Bright Star Touring Theatre
I am so grateful I got to work with this touring children's theatre both as an actor and teaching artist. These Young Audiences (mostly 3rd-5th grade) were so engaged with our stories, and they were a joy to perform for and discuss the topics with. Two actors play all the parts in these shows, so I played characters that ranged from white abolitionists to slave owners in The Underground Railroad, and such historical figures as Otto Frank, Peter van Pels, and Nazi soldiers in Anne Frank. It was an honor for me to help portray the important and serious history that we showed in both plays in the most truthful, respectful way possible for the students. I performed these shows and led Q and A sessions for special tour dates at schools in Western North Carolina and South Florida.
Live from WVL Radio Theatre: The Word Exchange | Immediate Theatre Project
Performing Understudy as Lee Wright (Voice of Bart, Others)
This was my second time playing the radio theatre employee Lee Wright, who voices many of the characters in the Immediate Theatre Project's WVL radio plays. This show delves deeper into the radio station's frame story, while also "broadcasting" an adaptation of the novel The Word Exchange, by Alena Graedon. In this sci-fi dystopian future, a techno-biological virus (caused by an evil mega-corporation) infects people such that language no longer means anything. Random nonsense words are scattered into the dialogue, causing mass confusion, and putting civilization itself at risk. Most of ITP's shows go on tour, but this one remained stationary, showing at Asheville's Equity house, North Carolina Stage Company. I was an understudy but had two scheduled performances. Along with the Foley sound effects, I also got to learn a few basics of the Theremin for this one, which was super fun!
Live From WVL Radio Theatre: The Headless Hessian of Sleepy Hollow (And Other American Horror Stories) | Immediate Theatre Project
Lee Wright (Voice of Ichabod Crane, others)
My debut in ITP's "WVL Radio Theatre" universe! This one tells such fall-themed stories as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the Lizzie Borden murders, and Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" in the radio play format. I played Ichabod Crane in the Sleepy Hollow section, and provided various characters, narration, and Foley sound effects for the other stories. This show toured mostly in the southeast, but also had a show in the Chicago area.
Twelfth Night | Venture Shakespeare
As always, the text drives the whole production for Venture Shakespeare, and I got to use all of what I learned in college to play Feste the Clown and Fabian the troublemaker in my first professional acting gig. As a Full Venture Company Member, but the youngest actor in the cast, I was very grateful to get to learn from the other professional actors in this show. I also played guitar, fiddle, and helped adapt the music for the show (putting tunes to Shakespeare's lyrics).
Shakespeare in Love | University of South Carolina Mainstage Theatre
This show was the US Collegiate debut of this stage adaptation of the 1998 film, and I was honored and thrilled to play Philip Henslowe in it. I've always loved the movie, and while I strove not to merely imitate Geoffrey Rush's brilliant performance, it was very fun to step into those shoes onstage. The whole show felt like a culmination of my collegiate theatre experience in many ways: combining all my training in and love for the world of Shakespeare, with a collaborative storytelling style that at once felt contemporary and classical.
Sense and Sensibility | University of South Carolina Mainstage Theatre
In this adaptation of Jane Austen's classic by playwright Kate Hamill, an ensemble of Regency-era gossips serve as almost Greek chorus-like commentators and engines of the story. I played various supporting characters and servants that sort of "led" this Gossip chorus in their mischief-making. The whole cast was onstage the whole show, observing the action when not actively participating in it. Collaborative storytelling like this show really helped to shape me as an actor, and to this day I love this type of work because it emphasizes the special and unique nature of live theatre.
Twelfth Night | University of South Carolina Mainstage Theatre
This was the first time I was in Twelfth Night and the first time I truly fell in love with the emphasis on music that Shakespeare uses as a storytelling device in many of his plays (and especially this one). We used mostly 40s music in this production to highlight the nostalgic melancholy present in the text, so to the left is a photo of me singing Sinatra's "I Get A Kick Out Of You" during our Intermission concert.
Outlaw Song | University of South Carolina Lab Theatre
Luke Weiss/Derek Unger
A new work by emerging playwright Ryan Stevens (a graduate student at USC at the time) that combines subverting but honoring the Western genre, professional wrestling, and live music! I played two very different characters in the show: Luke Weiss, the mild-mannered, stay-at-home husband of US Marshal Roberta Weiss (one of the main protagonists), and Derek Unger, a big city gangster who comes to town to challenge the titular "Outlaw," Billie Baxter. I also served as Music Director of this show, and played acoustic and electric guitar throughout. Left is our onstage band's almost Brechtian rendition of Nirvana's "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle" during intermission.