In Tom Dudzick’s play “Lake Effect,” Hillary Parker’s character does have her anxious moments, which makes her performance both challenging and enjoyable.
Currently up and running through Oct. 11 at the Holiday Inn Resort, the Lake George Dinner Theatre production of Dudzick’s 2001 work is the third in the “Over the Moon” trilogy he began in 1994.
“Lake Effect” is set in 1977 during Buffalo’s famous blizzard, and Parker plays a member of the Pazinski family, the sister/daughter named Annie. The clan is being gathered for an important family meeting but soon find themselves trapped in their own bar due to a snowstorm of historic proportions.
For Parker, the play was an opportunity to return to the Lake George area where she grew up. She got the acting bug at the Lake George Youtheatre, long before she graduated from Lake George High School.
She attended Syracuse University to study musical theater, and then got her master’s from the University of Connecticut. After some time in New York and Chicago, she and her boyfriend have settled in Philadelphia.
WHERE: Lake George Dinner Theatre, Holiday Inn Resort, 2223 Canada St., Lake George
WHEN: Through Oct. 11, matinees Monday through Wednesday, evening performances Wednesday through Saturday, check web site for show times
HOW MUCH: $44 for show only
MORE INFO: www.lakegeorgedinnertheatre.com, 668-5762, ext. 411
She has performed all over the Northeast, including locally with Saratoga Shakespeare and most recently as the stripper Mazeppa in the Capital Repertory Theatre production of “Gypsy” this spring. Along with her own performing, she is an acting coach and a yoga instructor.
Joining her in the cast for “Lake Effect,” directed by Terry Rabine, are Kate Konigisor as Ellen, Bryan McElroy as Eddie, Chris Triebel as Rudy and Zack Bissell as Georgie. Bissell is a Hudson Falls native who played Berger in the Home Made Theater production of “Hair” in 2011.
Q: Tell us about your character, Annie.
A: She goes through quite a lot in the play, and she’s really the only member of the family who’s open and willing to talk about issues. But she can get a little anxious, so it’s like she carries the weight of the world on her shoulders. Sometimes it’s a struggle for her to be heard, and she really loves everybody too much. Things get to her quickly and deeply, and I tend to be the cool, calm one in my family, so playing her is a challenge for me. But it’s also wonderful. It’s great fun to find those places in yourself that aren’t always exercised, and make them real.
Q: What do you like about the play?
A: It’s like peeking into a keyhole and watching a family. It’s a great comedy, but it’s also a very human story, very touching, that runs the gamut of emotions. I love shows that an audience can relate to, and this show, while it has its lighter moments, makes you feel something stronger and deeper, and it’s wonderful to connect like that with an audience.
Q: A gig with the Lake George Dinner Theatre lasts for more than three months. Do you enjoy staying that long with one production?
A: I do really enjoy it. So often you do something for only two or three weeks and you feel like you’re just catching your stride and you’re done. It’s nice to keep things going for a while, and feel like you have the change to grow the character even more. Even now we’re still exploring our characters and finding out new things about them.
Q: When did you discover that you loved acting?
A: We had a wonderful youth group in Lake George, run by Mickey Luce, and for us kids getting an opportunity to be in one of their shows was our Broadway. My older sister was involved, and I was probably around 10 when I started. I used to count the days until summer came every year, and it wasn’t just about acting. Mickey was wonderful, and he also taught us about creativity and confidence.
Q: What do you do when you’re not performing?
A: I coach other actors, I do yoga and I love to run. And, having come from Lake George, I love to hike. I’m a nature lover and for me to be around Lake George for a whole summer is like heaven. I know I’m back at home when I’m up Buck Mountain. It feels great to be up here in the Adirondacks.
Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or firstname.lastname@example.org.