The Nance - Meet cast member Chuck Dluhy!

What do you find appealing about your character and this show?
I love The Nance because it is a very unique play that incorporates drama, romance, slapstick comedy, musical numbers, politics and real-life history. The appeal of my character is that Chauncey is not afraid to stand up for what he believes even in the closeted world of Depression-era NYC.  Although he could be described as “self-loathing”, he has a lot of love inside of him if he can only recognize that he is worthy of the wonderful man who comes into his life. I like the fact that he is Republican and conservative because he is a hard-working fellow who doesn’t believe in taking handouts. I also enjoy the intense demands of the role – switching from an emotional, dramatic arc to the outrageously hilarious, vaudeville sketches to singing a song.

What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of “Chauncey Miles”?
Like Chauncey, I think everyone keeps a part of themselves hidden from family, friends, co-workers and others either for fear of being rejected or not being liked.  Also, I gained an appreciation for the hard-working performers of the time. When I first read the play, I thought the comedy sketches would be “easy” compared to other parts of play, but I soon realized that the energy, timing and quick-paced nature of the entertainment was quite challenging.

What do you want the audience to experience/take away from this show?
As Chauncey says in the play, “I just like to make people laugh”. Even the though the humor seems corny for today’s audiences, I still hope they laugh and gain an appreciation for this type of early 20th century entertainment. I would also like them to understand that gay people have been around forever. It didn’t start with Stonewall in 1969.That they had the same struggles as many people still do today. In preparing for the role, I read a fascinating book called “Gay New York” by George Chauncey, covering the period from 1890 to 1940. I hope I can accurately portray some those struggles many experienced over 80 years ago.

How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?
Many other shows fit neatly into a genre - drama, comedy or musical. This play almost defies a categorization.  Although it could be defined as a comedy (and it mostly is), that would be selling it short. The complexity and brilliance of this play is that the playwright expertly weaves many styles together.  Also, as an actor, instantly switching back and forth between the intense dramedy of the performer’s off-stage life and the fast-paced, vaudeville sketches and songs has been particularly demanding.  We should sell tickets backstage so patrons can see all the amazing set and costume changes.

How long have you been acting and what made you get involved in theatre? How did you get involved with LTA?
I’ve been acting for over 39 years, dating back to my high school years. I got involved because “everybody else was auditioning”.  I was in the school choir and everybody encouraged me to try out for The Music Man.  Shockingly, I ended up getting the part of Harold Hill and the rest is history. I was introduced to LTA as an actor, performing in West Side Story in 1989, directed by the incomparable Roland Gomez.  I’ve been involved in productions on-and-off with LTA over the years.

What advice would you give others who are interested in working in theatre?
Learn as much as you can from veteran performers and production staff. Volunteer for backstage work. Take acting classes. Direct a one-act play. Paint a set. Take vocal lessons. Assist a stage manager. Usher. Gather the props. Take a tap class. The more you know and the more diverse your experience, the more marketable you are.