Rick Reed no longer qualifies for the young and romantic male lead, but he's very happy and right at home being a part of the Capital Region's theater community.
"I used to be the leading man, but when I came back to acting after 25 years I was suddenly a character actor," said Reed, part of the ensemble cast in "Other Desert Cities," opening Friday at the Schenectady Civic Playhouse and running through March 25. "I've had to play older, more comic characters, but it's been a lot of fun. I've enjoyed doing the musicals recently, but I am happy to be in something a bit more serious like this play."
"Other Desert Cities" is John Rabin Baitz's 2012 Tony-nominated play about a family wrestling with its own history. Brooke, played by Ellen Cribbs, returns to her parents' home in Palm Springs and announces she is about to publish a memoir with a detailed account of a family tragedy. Reed plays her father, Lyman, and Pat Brady is her mother, Polly. Also in the cast are James Gavin as Brooke's brother, Trip, and Patti Noble as her sister, Silda. Jennifer Van Iderstyne is the director.
A Connecticut native, Reed moved to the Capital Region in 2009. In his early 20s, he worked in what he called "way off-Broadway" productions around New York City, but then settled on a career as a videographer and television producer while also getting married and raising a family. After an absence of nearly three decades, he returned to the theater by performing in a string of musicals with the Not-So-Common Players of Clifton Park, then played Lazar Wolf in "Fiddler on the Roof" at Schenectady Light Opera Company. Since then, he's played father figures in "Proposals" at Albany Civic Theater and "Caroline, or Change" at SLOC. He also earned the role of Buffalo Bill in "Annie Get Your Gun" at SLOC in 2016, and was part of the cast in the Albany Civic Theater production of "Peter and the Starcatcher" last fall.
This will be his debut with the Schenectady Civic Players.
"There are a lot of good people at SLOC and doing those musicals with them was a great experience," said Reed, who also ran a small theater for a couple of years when he lived just outside Fort Wayne, Indiana. "But this play ['Other Desert Cities'], oh man, I felt like this part was written for me. I felt like I had a few things in common with the character and he seems like a nice guy, but a nice guy with a bitter side to him. He goes through a gamut of emotions and that's why he's so much fun to play."
Like Reed, Cribbs is also making her Schenectady Civic Playhouse debut after recently moving to the Capital Region. She was also in the Albany Civic Theater production of "Dead Man's Cell Phone."
Brady is a Schenectady Civic Playhouse veteran, now in her 24th production, while Van Iderstine, also a regular performer at SCP, is directing her third production there.
Knathan MacKenzie-Roy, who has had leading roles at Schenectady Civic, Curtain Call Theatre and Colonial Little Theatre in Gloversille within the past year, will be playing John Proctor in the Circle Theatre Players production of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," opening Friday at the Sand Lake Center for the Arts.
Miller wrote "The Crucible" in 1950 during the House Un-American Activities Committee hearing chaired by U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Set in 1692 during the Salem witch trials, the play won a Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize.
Sue Frost and Valerie Kavanaugh are co-directing the production.
'The Boys in the Band'
Also opening Friday and running through March 25th is a production of "The Boys in the Band" by the Local Actors Guild of Saratoga.
Sierra Lynch is directing the show, which stars J.J. Buechner. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Saratoga Arts Center at 320 Broadway.
'Other Desert Cities'
WHERE: Schenectady Civic Players, Schenectady Civic Playhouse, 12 South Church St., Schenectady
WHEN: Opens Friday and runs through March 25; performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 2:30 p.m. Sundays
HOW MUCH: $20
MORE INFO: (518) 382-2081, www.civicplayers.org.
WHERE: Circle Theater Players, Sand Lake Center for the Arts, 2880 New York Route 43, Averill Park
WHEN: Opens 8 p.m. Friday and runs through March 25; performances are at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sundays
HOW MUCH: $18-$10
MORE INFO: (518) 674-2007, www.slca-ctp.org