Matt Reddick says he no longer performs just for the sake of performing. The play and the role must resonate with him.
"I've just become a bit more picky about what I do," said Reddick, who is playing the lead character in the Curtain Call Theatre production of "The Legend of Georgia McBride," opening Friday and running through Nov. 18. "It's got to be something I'm totally invested in. I don't want to do anything unless I really believe in it."
In "The Legend of Georgia McBride," a play by Matthew Lopez, Reddick plays a struggling Elvis impersonator who becomes much more successful as a lip-syncing drag queen. Lopez's work was first produced at the Denver Center for the Arts in January of 2014, and later moved to the MCC Theatre in New York City. The New York Times called it a "stitch-in-your-side funny new comedy."
"This show has a lot of heart, and it's both touching and hilarious," said Reddick, who is making his Curtain Call Theatre debut. "There's a lot of material for actors to really sink their teeth into."
Reddick grew up in Gansevoort, went to South Glens Falls High School and then the University of Hartford. He performed with the Lake George Youth Theatre and with Home Made Theater in Saratoga Springs, and moved back to the Saratoga area four years ago after spending some time in New York City.
"After college I went to New York and did some shows there and in Chicago," said Reddick. "I also worked with the Hartford Stage and on Cape Cod. I got a job as a waiter and other small acting jobs here and there, and little projects would pop up. But it got so I was doing a lot of shows that I just didn't care about and some infomercials. I was losing the reason why I originally got into theater."
Reddick says his first experience at Curtain Call has been wonderful. Curtain Call founder and artistic director Carol Max is directing the show, while also in the cast are Jack Fallon, Rocky Bonsal, Emmett Ferris and Brooke Hutchins. It is just the second show in Curtain Call's new home at 1 Jeanne Jugan Lane in Latham
"The playwright is very generous with the material he gives us, and the cast is really talented," Reddick said. "I knew that Curtain Call had a great reputation, and I knew there was plenty of buzz about the new space. The new venue is intimate and that works very well with this show. That all caught my attention, and then I met Carol and the cast, and I thought, 'well, this is a no brainer, I gotta do this.'"
While he has plenty of experience onstage, Reddick has never played a character like the one in this play.
"This show is rich with nuance, and I think it's about a guy who is figuring out what it means to be a man in the South," he said. "It's a conservative town, and he's dressing up as a woman. I've never done anything like this. I never played the opposite sex. I've never done a drag show before."
Reddick also learned how to play guitar for the role.
"I got the role back in July, but I wouldn't have taken it if all the pieces didn't fit," said Reddick. "I learned how to play the guitar just for this show, and I also sing. There are a lot of layers to this role, but I feel pretty comfortable now with all of them. I'm very happy I got the role and that I'm a part of this show."
BUNCE SUBMITS 'NEXT ACT!' WINNER
Russell Sage drama professor and former New York State Theatre Institute troupe member David Bunce is one of five big winners in the "Next Act! New Play Summit 6" being held this weekend at Proctors and Capital Repertory Theatre.
Bunce's new play, "Red Maple," was one of five selected from a total of 500 submitted by playwrights around the country, and will be performed as a staged reading at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Capital Rep.
"It's wonderful, and it's great to be chosen, but my hope is that this is just the beginning of a longer process," said Bunce, who lives in Colonie. "I'll get a chance to hear it out loud, which hasn't happened yet, and I'd love to have the opportunity to do a three- or four-day workshop with actors to help me really develop the play. Eventually, I'd love to have Cap Rep or somebody do it as a production."
In addition to the four readings from Friday to Monday, a Dramatist Guild Synopsis Workshop will be held from noon-2:30 p.m. Saturday at Capital Rep. Also, New Voices, which introduces short works written by younger playwrights, will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. at the GE Theatre at Proctors.
The synopsis workshop will be led by Aoise Stratford, the Central New York representative for the Dramatist Guild. The clinic is free and open to the public. Day passes for the staged readings are $10 for adults and $5 for students with a valid ID. For information, visit www.capitalrep.org or call (518) 445-7469.
Here are the five winning selections:
"Red Maple: A Love Story for Empty Nesters" — Written by Bunce, a casual dinner party goes south when Robert uses the occasion to announce that since his recent near-fatal car accident, his life has taken a shocking turn. An unexpected guest makes things even more dangerous. 7:30 p.m. Monday at Capital Rep.
"Show Pony" — Written by Judith Leora, the play shines a hard light on the modern workplace, addressing issues of gender, race and job security as a Fortune 500 company subsumes a small female-owned advertising agency. Leora is managing director of New York Madness and a founding member of 15th Floor Playwrights. 7:30 p.m. Friday at Capital Rep.
"Your Best One" — Written by Meridith Friedman, a serious health threat reunites a couple eight years after their breakup. A Los Angeles television writer, Friedman has a master's in Writing for Stage and Screen from Northwestern University, and has had other work produced around the country by regional theaters. 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Capital Rep.
"The Marble House" — Written by Diane Baia Hale, the play is a fascinating historical rift based on a true story about author Nathaniel Hawthorne's fascination with Louise Lander, a young American sculptor and fellow Salem native living in Rome. Hale is based in Chicago specializing in historically-based works. 5 p.m. Sunday at GE Theatre at Proctors.
TROY FOUNDRY TROUPE MAKES DEBUT
The Troy Foundry Theatre will holds its inaugural production, "New World Order: Six Short Plays by Harold Pinter," tonight at 8 at the James L. Meader Little Theater on the campus of Russell Sage College.
"New World Order" is being directed by David Girard, who formed the company along with Russell Sage graduate Emily Curro and Scotia's Alex Tarantelli.
Veteran Capital Region actor John Romeo leads the cast, which includes Curro, Tarantelli, Ethan Botwick and Shayne David Cameris.
Girard's troupe will put on three productions this weekend, then move to the Hangar on the Hudson at 675 River St. in Troy the following weekend for two more performances. For information, visit www.troyfoundrytheatre.com.
'The Legend of Georgia McBride'
WHERE: Curtain Call Theatre, 1 Jeanne Jugan Lane, Latham
WHEN: Opens Friday and runs through Nov. 18; performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday; there will be a special matinee performance on Oct. 28 at 3 p.m.
HOW MUCH: $25
MORE INFO: (518) 877-7529, www.curtaincalltheatre.com