If I am going to be honest, there is one person that I have spent many hours with that has been a big influence. Tammy Strouse has been a steady force at Rangeview for the entire time I have been there. We started working together under strange circumstances. Our Theatre Department was big and very successful. They had three people when I got there but one person dropped that third slot. Tammy was the leader and musical theatre expert. She was also the Poms head coach. She was exceptional at teaching dance and choreography. Our second person was Sandy Scott. She was the technical theatre guru. She could do magic with sets and all things technical. We never looked a high school production but we had all the hallmarks of a professional company. Sandy was a historian of theatre and kept us in line with our choices for productions. We gave students a full depth and breadth of plays and musicals. The third person became me and I just hung on for dear life! I was given the easiest of plays but it was always my choice and as long as I fit the correct genre sequence I was golden. Tammy and Sandy were patient and supportive of my shows. I think the greatest compliment I ever received was recently by a professional actor that started on our stage. He said from the three of us he learned different styles of directors and he has encountered all of those styles in his professions career. He said he was prepared and saw the three of us in his directors to this very day.
Tammy was instrumental in my spending well over 10 years working with theatre and I wouldn’t change a day. I laughed, I cried, and I sat in the back of theatre with pride as I watched the students on stage. I was brought into the department in a very strange way. Marc called me to his office. Closed the door behind me and I sat there in panic. Afraid that I made a mistake and I was only a few weeks into my position at Rangeview. Marc out of the blue asked “didn’t you say you did and loved theatre in high school?” I was baffled but I said yes. He responded with “good, you get a chance to do it again, you are now the third person in the group!” With Tammy as a mentor I learned more about the other side and how direct than I ever imagined. I hope I made her proud with my work and I always felt a part of the team. The first show I directed was Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee. That show holds special meaning for me. I can say that this show has given me the full range of emotions since I directed it almost 20 years ago. Some of the cast met with tragedy and others have made it to Broadway. I can’t think of that time without have a rush of emotions. I had the the chance to direct that and 1984, Fiddler on the Roof, Flowers for Algernon, One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, Diary of Anne Frank, Dracula, and Romeo and Juliet to name a few and helped in dozens more with shows directed by Tammy and Sandy.
I can never thank Tammy enough for what she gave me and I can say that my life and career have been much richer because of here and the Theatre Department. The only regret is that they would never let me do Carousel. If you want that story you will have to wait for another time.