Sunday, March 3, 2013
Major and degree earned: B.A. in Theatre
Graduation year: 1998
Current role: Assistant Stage Manager for The Lion King Gazelle Tour
Hometown: Dansville, MI
Now living in: New York, NY
My family has a long history with Michigan State (my parents met on the steps of Shaw Hall) and I grew up "bleeding green". I actually came to MSU to study veterinary medicine, but my first theatre class quickly changed my major.
The theatre department gave me experience in most every facet of technical theatre as well as the chance to stage manage both in the arena and on the main stage. Those experiences along with my work on Summer Circle, in the prop shop and the Departmental Office gave me confidence in my abilities as I started my professional career.
I met my wife on a production of Taming of the Shrew; Sheila Marie was an actor and I was the Stage Manager. I actually gave her a note for talking in rehearsal.
Take every opportunity that's offered. There's something to learn on every production and every experience. There's no telling when you'll meet the person or make the connection that will lead to your next job. This business is one of relationships and personal connections.
Keely and Du - a Graduate Showcase production
Backstage at The Lion King in costume for a brief onstage appearance in the Stampede scene
After graduation, I went to work as the Stage Manager (and sometime Box Office Manager) for the Main Street Theatre in Quakertown, PA. After two seasons in Quakertown, I made the move to New York and onto a TYA contract with ArtsPower. After two tours, I was back in New York and onto the stage at the Delacorte with The Seagull. That job lead directly to my first Broadway gigs subbing at The Graduate and Noises Off. Six Christmases at Radio City, 4 seasons working with the students at the Actors Studio Drama School and more than a dozen productions at the Gateway Playhouse followed.
In 2007, I joined the first national tour of Monty Python's Spamalot and toured the country for nearly 3 years. When I returned to New York, I made my Off-Broadway debut with The Irish Curse and at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ. Currently I work on The Lion King, subbing on Broadway and the Gazelle Company National Tour.
The cast of The Lion King that I am assistant stage managing also includes another MSU alum: Rob Parks.