A wonderful conversation between Advisory Company and founding member Jim Buske and FTC supporter Lynda Sharpe. Lynda was the award-winning Middleton High School drama teacher for over 40 years, and is a beloved friend of Forward.
Jim: Ok, get ready. Here come the questions. I watched "All The President's Men" last night to get in the mood.
You've been with FTC since the beginning. Would you tell us a little bit about your life (theater related or anything else you want to reveal) before you hooked up with FTC?
Lynda: Directing, teaching, traveling and trying to see every theater production in the area while cheering on my husband and daughter sums up life before FTC.
J: What first made you want to work with FTC?
L: Are you kidding me? EVERYTHING about FTC made me want to be a part of the wow. OR Let me count the ways: Jack Forbes Wilson--Jen Uphoff Gray--Colleen Burns--Celia Klehr-- Sarah Day--Jane Elder (you get the idea) I was giddy at the way the company would be run--and I wanted to support, share, celebrate this incredible idea. I couldn't wait to take students to what would be FTC--or myself, my loved ones and for that matter perfect strangers who asked what to do in Madison!
J: You have a started a wonderful tradition of bringing chocolate to pass out at FTC opening nights (Have you noticed how I always happen to wander by on opening night?
L: Of course! You are a man of good taste!
J: Where did that idea come from?
L: Early on I was given chocolates to celebrate a performance. Loving chocolates, I began giving them whenever I directed. Inspired by my punning sweetheart, I began opening night circle with cast and crew doing chocolate puns. A trip to Europe gave me the chocolate orange and many puns beginning with, "Orange you glad . . . ." When I retired from Middleton's drama program, students were asked what things would they definitely want to continue with the new director. The chocolate tradition was high on the list. Joining Forward, I tasted Fairy Godmother Celia Klehr's treats. STUPENDOUS! Not being able to EVER match her cooking prowess, I drew upon my chocolate skills and began creating opening night show related (when possible) chocolate treats. There were a few years I helped make welcoming treat bags adding chocolates there as well. Dark or milk?
J: What is your favorite FTC memory?
L: There are too many to count, Jim. The FTC play seasons that are challenging, inspirational, wondrously silly, provocative, life-changing, uplifting. The relationships with Staff--ACT--Directors and designers. The tales and treats while singing along with CK's musical collection while stuffing brochures. Seeing JUG in action at rehearsal. Hearing incredible directors and designers speak. The Forward vision. Sitting in the audience at a Forward show. Pre-show talks. After show discussions. Heard in the audience FB posts. Hugging everyone connected. Feeling a part of the Forward family. Having a name tag. Opening night gatherings. Feast Forward. Feast Forward 2015 MH and JB performing. Maybe this last is THE FAVORITE. And there are so many more favorite memories!!!! How long can this blog be?
J: Finally, what's the strangest theater memory you have?
L: A moment in the past. My experiences at Forward have been all plus. Long, long ago, in another WI city, a journalist perched in the wings to experience summer stock and the backstage story. My character was in a form fitting black velvet jumpsuit. A bit of bad luck and zipper malfunction left but two thin straps no longer hooked anywhere to keep me from total exposure. My leading man and I restaged things, the SM sent crew to front curtain and the dresser rushed to SL while the journalist captured it all. Did I tell you that I was 17 and a "guest artist" in a professional company?
J: That should do it. Hard hitting journalism at its best. Thanks for this opportunity, Lynda!