The InPlay blog contest, Entry No. 2. Meet author Joe Albert.
By Joe Albert For InPlay Capital Region Read contest rules here
When I stop to think about it, there was a play that resulted in a major change in my life. There no public performances until the last two years of high school when I was involved with a public speaking group, The National Forensic League. I tried out for the humorous monologue competition, and worked my way up to come in at fourth place in the state of New Jersey. It was a bittersweet accomplishment as I found out I would have placed higher but one of the finalist judges rated me number 10. The monologue came in handy a few years later, in college.
At Antioch College my theater was limited to workshop productions. One of them stood out and propelled me to my next venture. My roommate was a Theater Major and for his senior project he put on the musical The Boyfriend. He talked me into taking the role of Lord Brockhurst, a lecherous older gentleman who has a delightful duet with a lovely young woman. In addition to learning how to be a lecherous old man at an early age, I did well with the part and was encouraged to audition for a summer stock company that was made up of Antioch students and alumni, performing in a town just outside of Dayton. The Trotwood Circle Theater. For my audition I used my high school monologue, The Treasurer’s Report by Robert Benchley. I was selected to become part of the company and appeared in 2 or 3 of the 5 shows we did that summer.
There was no involvement in theater for the next 34 years other than being in the audience.
Late spring or early summer of 1995 I was visiting with a friend who was a leader, perhaps president, of Spotlight Players who used the stage of Columbia High School for summer musical productions. That year they were performing Guys and Dolls. She told me the actor playing Big Jule had backed out and she suggested I read for the part. I do not remember how much time I took to think it over, but what the hell, why not. I did. I got the part and loved it.
The director thought enough of my performance to ask me to read for the part of the Narrator in Into The Woods which she was directing a few years later, also for Spotlight. I was hooked. Over the years since I have been in at least one production a year which, in addition to Spotlight included, Albany Civic Theater, Schenectady Civic Players; Circle Theater Players; Starzyk Play Productions; Confetti Stage 1 act play Festival; Classic Theater Guild; Noodle Pudding Players.
Matinee Players where I am spending most of my time currently, and Highlight Acting Troupe with whom I did most of my work over the years. Parts ranged from very small (8 lines all on the same page), to larger roles as Scrooge in Christmas Carol (twice) and Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street.
So, yes, falling into Guys And Dolls unexpectedly resulted in a major change in my life. It is not just the acting in shows but also the becoming part of a very talented and supportive group of people in the community theatre network. I still look to learn and develop further as a member of Patrick White’s acting class.
As Lord Brockhurst sang, “It’s never too late to have a fling, Autumn is just as nice as spring…”