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Life Arts

Is there ART in YOUR heART? Tell me about it.

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All my life the arts have occupied a particularly important part of who I am and what I do. My twin sister and I were born into a protestant minister's family; however our dad had been a vaudeville actor in Chicago prior to his meeting mother (which "precipitated" the occupational 'conversion', so to say). Mother and dad sang duets for church, and my twin Vivian and I were only three years old when we were first "shown off" in church and even with the city band and on the radio singing duets, I singing the "lead line" or soprano part, and she the alto (purely by ear, by the way). By the time we reached the age of five, though, we had switched and I began singing the alto line. "The TWINS have a number they'll sing for you now." OH, back in those days selections were, maybe, "Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree With Anybody Else But Me", "Shine On, Harvest Moon", "Any Bonds Today", etc.

Quite early on, I also found I had ability with drawing and discovered if I would first TRACE Disney characters and other cartoons, I could subsequently draw them. And so it was that vocal music and visual art became much of who I was. Church programs and pageants also were often performed, and these must have shaped much of what fascinated me. As a student in junior high school, I attended a high school play. I still remember thinking, while watching it, "That could be done better". So when I got into high school, I began acting in plays. "Every Family Has One" was my first. That experience was a "rude awakening" of sorts. I was acting a rather large role, and hadn't memorized the lines very well. I still remember the panic I felt each time I exited "crash-reading" the script for what to say when I'd have to re-enter. I vowed then to ALWAYS KNOW MY LINES from that time forth. Still lead roles followed.

At the University of Missouri, likewise, I was likewise cast in lead roles in various theater offerings: "The Visit", "The Miser", "Tartuffe", "Mary Stuart", and others. I well recall during one of the rehearsals of "The Visit" (in which I acted the role of the Burgomeister) when I exited after a scene, the stage manager "wssped" me over and asked, "Do you know who is out in the house watching the rehearsal?" I confessed I didn't. "George C. Scott", he said. (Scott was an alumnus of Missouri and had returned to pay a visit to Professor Donovan Rhynesburger, for whom he had acted while attending the University). You might just imagine my reticence at going back out on stage after hearing who was THERE OBSERVING.

My university career was interrupted after my sophomore year and I went up to Minneapolis. Anyway, while in the Twin Cities, I was employed as an artist by Minneapolis Honeywell, AND I acted in numerous theatrical productions in several venues: The Edyth Bush Theater, White Bear Players, The Old Log Theater; and about that time, 1963, the Tyrone Guthrie Theater was built. After my job for Honeywell terminated, I managed to get hired there (not as an actor, but) doing tech. work. (Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy were featured actors in that FIRST year.) At the same time, I WAS acting (and directing) for BRAVE NEW WORKSHOP, a satirical review acting company.

Well, to make an exceedingly long story shorter, I returned to the University of Missouri, and to acting on that stage. While there, I met my wife, Patricia, who was a music teacher in a local small women's college. Anyway, I managed to land an art job with the University Medical Center, and resumed my education acquiring a Masters Degree in Theater and Speech Arts. Following, were teaching jobs in a college in Georgia, and in a senior high school in Dubuque, Iowa.

Along the way, I have acted in the feature film "F.I.S.T." in a scene with Melinda Dillon; acted the lead role of Captain William Van Schaick in the television History Channel's docu-drama "The General Slocum Disaster", as well as quite a lot of stage acting, having just performed the role of Arthur Kipps in the British ghost thriller "The Woman in Black" (a two-actor play). I also have written a number of scripts including a piece called "A Christmas Dickens" in which I've acted the role of Charles Dickens over the past 19 years (623 performances, a record number for any play in the state of Iowa).

I have been invited to audition at the Tyrone Guthrie Theater and, as well, to act and sing the lead role in a musical which is currently being written and which will be produced in Dubuque in November of 2008 titled "The River Sings". Additionally, I have had a number of poems published and perhaps will post several of them here in weeks ahead.

Is there ART in YOUR heART? ... If so, it's possibly due to early influences on you, and most especially to what you found were among those passions in your life. There are many articles, many art topics, you can find to submit for publication here. I shall be adding quite a few of them also. Join me, won't you?

 

I was born when I was yet quite young, and was second-born in a litter of two. My twin sister and I are not now, nor have we ever been, identical as evidenced by our differing balding patterns: she has very little facial hair. If you look us (more...)
 
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