Bitten by the theatre bug at an early age, by the time I reached high school, I had already been performing in professional theatre. I took every theatre class I could, including technical theatre, and auditioned for almost every play. In my freshman year, I played Peter van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank, and won the award for Outstanding Freshman when I was inducted into the International Thespian Society in 1983. I also acted in The Elephant Man (Orderly), Flowers for Algernon (Burt), and The Crucible (Rev. Paris) while in high school.
In addition to doing regular theatrical productions in the fall and spring terms, we also produced a short play each winter for the University Interscholastic League‘s One Act Play Competition. In my sophomore year, we took an abbreviated version of The Elephant Man to UIL. As a junior, I performed in Jean-Claude Van Itallie’s absurd play, Interview, and took home the Award for Best Actor at regionals. (Vintage video of Interview courtesy of D. Travers Scott.) I also won the Best Thespian award at my school that year and was elected president of the Thespian Society for the 1985-1986 school year.
Of course, I couldn’t have achieved any of this without having a terrific director/teacher/mentor, Mr. Chuck Lytle. Chuck and I acted in several plays together in legitimate theatre, and I am proud to say that we are still friends more than 30 years later. He taught me so much more than how to deliver a line or fill out a lighting design grid.