Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Meet the Cast of Twentieth Century - Gary Cramer

Only a week and half until opening night, the train is starting to come to life on stage, wigs are finger-waved and costumes are sewn! Let’s meet some more of the cast.

This is what Gary Cramer who plays the neurotic and virtuous Mathew Clark had to say when asked: How long have you been acting and what made you get involved in theatre? How did you get involved with LTA?

Back in 1980, when I was in 10th grade in the small town of Springdale, Pa. (near Pittsburgh), my Speech teacher insisted I try out for the school's upcoming production of the Agatha Christie mystery "A Murder is Announced." Up to then, I had never really thought much about going on stage, even though the same teacher had gotten my next oldest brother to be in a show and I thought it looked kind of interesting. I got the role of the detective who was trying to solve the murder, but who eventually had to sit back and let Ms. Marple get the glory. However, I was hooked on the experience enough to keep acting in a handful of shows through the rest of my high school days, ending with one of my all-time favorite roles as George Antrobus in "The Skin of Our Teeth."

After that, however, my hopes of continuing to act in college were stymied when the Penn State branch campus I first attended only did musicals (for which I have never had any interest), and then I found when I got to the main campus that they really didn't want you to try out for anything unless you were a true drama major (whereas I studied journalism). So I put my acting on hold for what ended up, for various reasons, being a 16-year break before I finally let some friends talk me into auditioning for a summer season at the State College Community Theatre while I was still living in central Pennsylvania and part way into a 15-year stretch of working for Penn State as a public relations specialist. Thus, in 1999, I reentered this dramatic world with a supporting role in "Moon Over Buffalo" (written by the same guy responsible for our current adaptation of "Twentieth Century") and since then have managed to be in at least one major stage production every year except 2004, plus a range of dramatic readings, murder mystery events, and other one-shot shows. My biggest role by far while I was still in State College was as the male lead in "Romantic Comedy," and I'd have to say my favorite role from that era of my life was in "Absurd Person Singular."

I relocated from Pennsylvania to Virginia in 2005 for a switch from promoting higher education to promoting non-profits as a writer/editor and, after settling in, my first local audition was a success at landing me the role of Bob Cratchit in LTA's incarnation of "The Christmas Carol" for that year. It was a great introduction to the local acting scene, and one that I have followed up with parts in various Port City Playhouse, Aldersgate Church Community Theatre, and Dominion Stage productions, in addition to LTA's "Hero Worship" one-act in 2009 and "Nude with Violin" in 2010. "Twentieth Century" is my fifth show under the direction of Roland Branford Gomez, and I guess it says "something" that he is the only director for which I have been in multiple shows in all these years. I'll leave it up to the audience to decide what that something is, but if it is my calling to play strange little men on stage the rest of my life, I couldn't ask for a better community of friends and colleagues with which to do it.

1 comment:

  1. I want to see the show with two Gary Cramers in it.