What is your favorite part about this role?
Helping Charlie survive Willy Wonka’s factory tour. Susan Wheeler is a joy to work with and she’s doing a wonderful job as Charlie.
What has been the biggest challenge during rehearsals?
Getting to know everyone, especially the younger performers. We have a large cast and many people rehearse at different times so for the first few weeks I only saw the oompa-loompas in passing at the stage doors.
What has helped you to get to know your fellow cast members and gel with them?
The Bucket Family is a riot! I spend most of the first act in a bed with three other grandparents while Charlie and the Bucket parents must figure out creative ways to interact with us. We laugh a lot in between scenes. And since the Bucket Shack isn’t very big, it’s easy to whisper and bond with the other actors.
What’s your favorite song and why?
This is tough to answer since there are several entertaining numbers. All of the golden ticket winners do such a good job with their songs. I would have to say my favorite number, though, is “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket” since this is when I finally get to escape my bed.
How did you get involved in Muni, and when?
It’s been 20 years since my first Muni show, when I played Benny Southstreet in 1997’s Guys and Dolls. I had been active with community theater in the Chicago area so when I moved to Springfield I again sought out performing opportunities. Springfield fortunately has a strong theater community, including the Muni.
What is it about Muni that keeps you coming back?
The Muni has created an amazing theater tradition. You meet a wealth of creative, talented people, many of whom become lifelong friends. From the impressive sets, costumes, sound and lighting systems, to of course the vast network of volunteers, it is a privilege to be a part of this incredible summer experience.