My Life in the Theater

I grew up in the theater. Not at the theater, in the theater. When I was eight years old I was cast as an extra in Stars in My Crown, a musical play about the development of Kentucky Dam and Barkley Dam in western Kentucky. My mother was cast in a supporting role as a school teacher and my father was part of the technical crew. We did the show for two summers in a row before it closed.

It was run like a professional show although most of the actors and crew did not have a union card. My dad was the property master the first year. He acquired or built, stored, and maintained all of the props used in the show. The second year he ran the lights.

I loved getting up at ten o’clock in the morning, leaving for the show around five, getting dressed and made up for a curtain at eight. The show ran until around ten. Then there were pickups after the show. On the way home we would often stop for a hamburger at an all night truck stop and play popular songs on the juke box for a nickel.

I was obsessed by theater. I wanted to direct my class mates in plays when I got back to school in the third and fourth grade. As you might imagine, that didn’t go well. They couldn’t remember their lines or their blocking and had no patience being told what to do by one of their classmates.

I did participate in various school plays throughout junior high and high school. After high school I worked in a couple of western theme parks as a gunfighter and a guitar player in the saloon show. I also did Kentucky Long Rifle demonstrations and assisted in magic shows.

That, alas, was my last professional theatrical endeavor. I miss it. But it doesn’t pay very well. Unless you are one of the very lucky few that actually make it really big. That doesn’t happen to many people. You’d probably do better if you planned to make a fortune by playing the lottery.

I plan to perform some more. I’m not sure what I plan to do but the theater in my blood is starting to boil again. I’m going to do something about it soon.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.