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McCall goes to action

By NICK NARIGON

The Old Creamery Theatre Company announced Oct. 14 that Sean McCall has been named artistic director.

McCall has been with The Old Creamery for the last 17 years and has been interim artistic director since June of 2009. Prior to that, he was associate artistic director.

“I am very excited,” McCall said. “I hope to do shows that entertain and enlighten and people begin to flock to us.  As a group, we want to spread the word that we do good theatre.”

McCall, 43, is originally from Kansas City and has lived in Marengo since 2003. He married his wife, Jackie McCall, the development director for the Old Creamery Theatre, in 2008.

He has been involved in the theatre his entire life, taking class at a children’s theatre in Kansas City as a youth. He began acting regularly at the theatre and decided to take it on as a career. McCall went on to study at the Webster Conservatory in St. Louis and earned his B.A. in musical theatre.

After he earned his degree, McCall returned to Kansas City but found limited opportunities as an actor.

“I had steady work at the children’s theatre, but I wanted to do other things,” he said.

An acquaintance told him about the Old Creamery Theatre, and in 1992, McCall auditioned in for a summer gig. He auditioned in Garrison, where the theatre was located before permanently moving to Amana. McCall won a role in “Lend Me a Tenor,” that summer and worked for the Old Creamery for 14 weeks.

At the end of his run, he was asked to come back to perform in “A Christmas Carol,” and then he was asked back in the spring for the children’s tour.

By the summer of 1993, McCall had a full-time position at the Old Creamery Theatre. While he was an actor, he performed several other duties for the theatre.

In 1999, McCall took a brief hiatus from the Old Creamery to try his hand in New York City. While standing in lines for auditions in New York, he said he met many other actors and artists, and many of them had heard of the Old Creamery Theatre. McCall said before he knew it, actors in New York City were giving him their resume to try and land a job in Amana.

“I got to meet a lot of people while standing in line and virtually all of them had heard of the Old Creamery Theatre. There just aren’t that many regional theatres in the U.S.,” McCall said. “I was not that enamored with New York City. I am a Midwestern boy. I realized I was pretty lucky to have a steady job at the Old Creamery Theatre with people I liked and an appreciative audience.”

He returned to Amana in the spring of 1999 and took up the position of associate artistic director. He acts regularly in plays at the Old Creamery and also directs and choreographs some productions. McCall has also acted as the Old Creamery’s union liaison and acted as an advisor for play selections, licensing, etc.

McCall said his experience at the Old Creamery Theatre as well as his knowledge of the various genres of theatre make him suitable for his new position. He said large musical productions are his favorite plays, but he also enjoys children’s theatre, comedies, dramas and the pieces that mix a bit of everything.

“After 17 years I understand what the audience wants and what we as artists can do,” McCall said. “The Old Creamery Theatre is going to do what I expect the Old Creamery Theatre to do.”

The audience will not see a drastic change in the play selection at the theatre, he said. There will be family friendly productions as well as the bedroom farces, which McCall said are the best sellers.

The Old Creamery Theatre’s 2010 schedule will be announced soon, though McCall said there are a couple of mystery selections that will not be announced until January. There will be six productions on the main stage and three productions on the studio stage. McCall said one of his first challenges is to find a new permanent location for the studio productions since the depot theatre was flooded in 2008.

In addition, the Old Creamery Theatre is working with the Ox Yoke Inn to put on a dinner theatre show.

McCall said he expects the Old Creamery Theatre to thrive and continue its success, mainly because of the staff.

“We have a fantastic staff on the office and the artistic side. Everybody really works hard to make our product the best and make sure everyone know we have a great theatre,” he said. “My primary challenge as the artistic is to put on plays people want to see and do them well.”

 

UPDATED October 21, 2009 11:53 AM

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