Monday, July 2, 2012

My BTE Story

by Amy Calhoun

It has been twelve years since I experienced my first Buffalo Theatre Ensemble production - Angels In America by Tony Kushner. I was less than two years out of college and I was interviewing for my current job here at the MAC. 

As a former theater student, I was excited to see this astounding play for the first time and with a company I could potentially be working alongside. I purchased my tickets to parts one and two and awaited the days until I would attend the performances.

For those of you that remember the old seats of Theatre 2, you'll recall the butt-numbing discomfort, but I didn't care - I was seeing great theater! It was my first introduction to Connie Canaday Howard and Robert Jordan Bailey, and as I sat in the darkened theater, I was entranced by the story unfolding in front of me. The performances were brilliant and even if I didn't get the job, I knew BTE was going to be my theater of choice.

Amelia Barrett in Rabbit Hole
Lucky for me, I did get the job and have been working with the members of this ensemble for more than a decade. I cried buckets of tears over Amelia Barrett's performance in Rabbit Hole. Jumped out of my skin watching Kurt Naebig and Robert Jordan Bailey beautifully execute the thriller Woman in Black. And, swooned over William "Sandy" Smillie performance in Stones in his Pockets. From the design elements to the performances, every participant of a BTE production has a way of impacting me when I see a production.

Robert Jordan Bailey in 
Woman in Black.
Since moving to this area fourteen years ago, I have seen more BTE productions than any other professional theater in all of Chicagoland so I guess that does make me a bit biased. But even though I read the scripts in advance, it never fails that I am amazed by something unique and real that BTE productions bring to the stage.

The Drawer Boy
The best part is I’m only one in the hundreds of people who enjoy Buffalo Theatre Ensemble production after production. This audience and I share a common bond – an appreciation and joy for theater that is giving stories life. I invite you to join me and the rest of the audience as BTE brings The Drawer Boy to the stage this summer and then continues into their 26th season with The Lady with All the Answers, The Underpants and Trumbo – Red, White and Blacklisted. I can’t wait to have you be part of the story too.

Amy Calhoun is the Marketing Specialist for the McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage, Buffalo Theatre Ensemble and New Philharmonic.