Monday, June 1, 2009

Civic Volunteer Album: Meet John Collier.


The "In the Wings" series of blog posts highlights the directors and actors of each Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette production. And while it makes sense to promote them on the blog for their hard work -- actors are the face of a production, and directors are the brains -- there are whole groups of volunteers who go unrecognized, not only on this blog but also perhaps by the playgoing public.

The "Civic Volunteer Album" will highlight various Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette volunteers who more often than not volunteer behind the scenes of productions as stage managers, designers, backstage crew and much more. They are the backbone of each production, working hard to support what everyone else can see and hear on stage.

John Collier has been involved with dozens of productions at Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette. His first show was the Dick Jaeger-directed production of The Sound of Music in the 1985-1986 season.

"I chose to get involved because I had just begun my professional career at Purdue a couple of years earlier, and I was looking for an opportunity to get more involved in the community," John said. "Civic filled that void."

John was cast as Franz the butler, which he noted was one of the few non-singing roles in the show.

"Based on my horrible singing auditions -- an a cappella version of 'Lydia the Tattooed Lady' -- I was lucky to get the part!" John humorously recalled. "I had a great time, I met many new, interesting and fun people, and I've been involved ever since."

John's involvement with Civic Theatre includes being an actor and director, and also a set designer and scenic painter. Some of the shows that John fondly remembers include Pump Boys and Dinettes, Little Shop of Horrors, Sylvia, Eleemosynary, Always Patsy Cline, The Prince and the Pauper, Moon Over Buffalo, Squabbles, A Chorus Line, Honk!, Jesus Christ Superstar, and both Greater Tuna and A Tuna Christmas. This season, he designed the set for the upcoming production of Children of Eden. He also had been on Civic's Board of Directors for several years, working on numerous committees and serving a couple of terms as the group's president. John will direct the 2009-2010 Civic Theatre production of A Christmas Story.

While John has enjoyed working on several different productions at Civic Theatre -- including a non-stop, four-day session to finish painting the set for Kiss Me, Kate 10 minutes before opening night -- he remembers a key moment in the development of all of them: opening night performances.

"Seeing everything get in front of an audience for the first time is always an incredibly good feeling, particularly after all the hard work by everyone involved," John said. "I absolutely love to watch the audience's reaction during the show."

John concluded by offering several reasons why people may enjoy volunteering at Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette.

"Civic Theatre is a great place to get involved because it’s a fantastic outlet for creativity; it’s a wonderful place to meet fun, talented and dedicated people; it’s one of the few places in this community where amateurs can get involved in live theater and it enhances the quality of life for our community in the process!" he said. "What more could you want from a volunteer opportunity?"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

John David Michael!