Many people involved in the theatre have experienced similar experiences as they were drawn into all the aspects of acting and directing. I’ve known Chris Serface since he joined the Rotary Club of Tacoma #8.
Chris shared an early involvement, “The first experience that I remember of being on stage in a theatrical way was in third grade. We put on a musical version of the fairytale ‘Many Moons.’ To this day I can still sing the opening refrain and dance a Maypole dance.”
Don: I was in the Cub Scouts and entertained fellow students and Rotarians at Stanley Elementary. In the third grade we did a take off of “The Pirates of Penzance” and like Chris I still know my lines.
Chris says, “The theatrical bug really bit me in between 7th and 8th grades. My mother enrolled me in three summer classes through the school district: Music, Basketball, and Shakespeare. I loved all three, but the teacher who taught the Shakespeare class, Mrs. Charles, opened up a whole new world to me. It was my first time having a substantial set of lines and I found that I was having a tremendous amount of fun. (In case you’re wondering, I was Oberon in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”). I was fortunate enough that Mrs. Charles transferred to my middle school the next year and I was able to have her as my main teacher. She made sure that we all had plenty of theatre in our lives. When I finally got to high school, I auditioned for the fall play, was cast, and was in every single production through high school except for Steel Magnolias (obviously) so I stage managed it instead.
Don: In my Junior year at Clover Park, I signed up for speech classes, as well as acting and advanced acting classes plus each afternoon after my school classes were done, I drove to Clover Park Vocational School were I learned video production and was a frequent radio guest. The driving forces behind me were my band teacher and my speech and drama teacher.
“Chris says, “My dream was always to be a high school band director and theatre teacher. While I was in college I became sidetracked a bit and entered the business world. It wasn’t until 2000 when I moved back to Washington and became involved with theatre again, that I realized I could take my business skills and apply them to the Performing Arts. From that point on, I’ve been able to make a living in the theatre.”
I would have really enjoyed watching Chris play Frog in “A Year with Frog and Toad.” Peg and I took grandkids to see a production of “Frog and Toad” at the Seattle Children’s Theatre. If you’ve never seen “A Year with Frog and Toad,” you’ve missed an excellent musical that is funny, whimsical and filled with cookies, crumbs, and good music.
Chris also played Coach Van Buren in the musical “Damn Yankees” opposite the Devil himself and “the” femme fatale Lola. Again, I would love to see old videos of “Frog and Toad” and “Damn Yankees” with Chris Serface in the featured or starring roles. I bet a number of actors, directors, and subscribers would come to see those videos as well. If you added in some clips from a few of the comedies and possibly some of the award winning dramas, they might make a good fund raiser.
One of the things I love about our three main theatres in Pierce County: Tacoma Little Theatre, Lakewood Playhouse, and Tacoma Musical Playhouse, is how they work together. They support each other and often we will see cross-overs like “A Little Night Music” at Tacoma Little Theatre with the director, the musical director, the choreographer and a number of the actors from Lakewood Playhouse.
Chris shares this, “For me it is all about the project and what the magic is created around it. I can equally enjoy being in a show, just as much as I can producing it. I think it is important to be a well-rounded theatrician, and I try and make sure that I find those opportunities that will make me grow in some new way.” I think Chris is helping his crew and volunteers as well.
I am really looking forward to “The Wizard of Oz,” which begins its TLT run on December 10th with 16 performances. I’ve never seen a live production of this play before . . . and I don’t recall seeing Chris act, either. I’m sure they’ve already been rehearsing. Chris shares this about the director and the rest of the crew, “Working with Andrew Coopman, our director for OZ is amazing. They are dynamic in their direction and making me see the role in a whole new light. This is the third time I’ll have played the Cowardly Lion (1992, 2009, and now 2021). I love bringing a little bit more life experience to the role and Andrew has given some excellent character development ideas. I think everyone who comes will enjoy seeing the Oz that they know and love, with some new fun added in.”
I can hardly wait for an early Christmas present from TLT . . . and you know, what . . . I think the Odz will be in our favor.