Hello again Theatre People!
This may be my favorite week so far for TheatrePeople. I get the opportunity to introduce you to not just another fantastic high school and community theatre director, but my former high school theatre director—Vickie Parker!
Vickie is now retired but back in the 90's, I got my chance on the stage under her command. Vickie is incredibly creative, kind, sharp-witted and attentive to every beat that makes a show truly 'sparkle.' And more importantly, she was tirelessly committed to giving her students, me being one, an experience that lasts a lifetime. My only real regret is that I started high school drama my junior year. Now, looking back, and having had the magical, familial experience in Vickie's theatre program, perhaps the biggest compliment I can give her is that I wish I started the fall of my freshman year and spent as many minutes in what's now called 'Parker Auditorium' as possible.
None the less, I'm thrilled to introduce you to Vickie Parker, a theatrical heroine of Putnam County, Indiana—and I'm honored to say, my hometown director.
What’s a show that inspires you? (explain away!)
The first Broadway show I saw was A Chorus Line. I was already active in high school and community theatre but its theme of how important finding a home in the theatre is to some people moved me to tears. I had always known that for some high school students it was their saving grace, a place to fit in. The same held true for my directing in community theatre. I’m a firm believer we all have a little actor inside. Encouraging teens and adults to take the risk and then watching them light up for performance was my reward. Just like the musical, most don’t need to be a star. They just need a place on the stage, even if it’s the back row. I still often listen to the soundtrack. Oh yeah! Find those tap shoes, be the actor AND the athlete, be brave. And at age 72 my life is “What I Did For Love”.
What’s one of your happiest moments in theatre?
Being involved in the theatre means one experiences the complete range of emotions whether directing, working backstage or performing on stage. Devastation to exhilaration can occur within a matter of moments. But more often those of us in theatre are just plain happy. Before I retired I directed High School Musical involving 170 students. I cried happy tears every night when that mass of students filled the stage and auditorium all in the right place at the right time singing and dancing. The first time I directed Annie with another mass of actors—this time children— on the last night of the show they surrounded me singing “I’d Do Anything For You”. I will never forget it. I can still see those sweet little urchin faces. Or should I say my happiest moment was the last performance of On Golden Pond because I had managed to remember all my damn lines as Ethel.
What’s the biggest ‘fail’ or goof you’ve seen on stage? (do tell the story)
There are two goofs from community theatre that I can giggle about now but certainly not then. Once the show begins the director can’t do anything but watch. The set for My Fair Lady involved three very large triangles that were turned for each scene. They were Higgins library, Wimpole Street and The Tenement. In preparation for “Get Me To The Church On Time” in the Tenement the crew dressed in black came out quickly during the scene change music and turned the triangles. Lights up ON HIGGINS LIBRARY. Crew peeking out from backstage. Lights down. Crew back out. Triangles turn to the correct set. Good grief!
In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye waits patiently onstage for Golde’s entrance while the actress is backstage putting on her nightgown for a scene that is later in the show. Next I see her literally being shoved onstage in her nightgown to save Tevye’s long ad lib. Oh well. She likes to leave her nightgown on all day. Good grief! Can’t do a darn thing about it.
Why do you love theatre?
I love theatre for the process. I love theatre for the final product. I love both equally.
Theatre is for...
Sparkle is the magic that is created onstage. It can be sad, romantic, creepy, shocking, poignant, or hilarious. Sparkle is the emotion that creates goosebumps or gasps or standing ovations. There MUST be sparkle.
More Incredible Theatre People
Jessica Paz, Sound Designer of Hadestown on Broadway
Victor Hugo Trevino, Ballet Artistic Director
Gordon Greenberg, Broadway Writer and Director
More about Vickie
Vickie is a retired teacher from Greencastle Community Schools where she taught English, Speech Communication and Theatre Arts. She holds a Bachelors Degree from Indiana State University and a Masters Degree from DePauw University. During her 30 year career, she served as English Department Chair, School Improvement Chair, NCA Chairperson, PL221 Advisor and a TESA trainer. She was active in English curriculum development and vertical alignment. While at Greencastle, Vickie also helped develop and taught in a program for at-risk freshmen and sophomores. Vickie was awarded The Mental Health Teacher of the Year, Walmart Teacher of the Year and was a semi-finalist for the Indiana Teacher of the Year. She directed over 30 plays and musicals and upon retirement the Greencastle Auditorium was named Parker Auditorium in her honor.
Vickie has been an active board member, actor and director in the Putnam County Playhouse since 1967 when she played the role of Snow White in Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Most recently she played Martha in “The Games Afoot” and Ethel in “On Golden Pond.” Throughout the years Vickie has directed more than 20 musicals including Annie, Brigadoon, Camelot, 42nd Street, Fiddler on the Roof, Hello Dolly, The Music Man, Showboat, Little Shop of Horrors, The Sound of Music, Oklahoma, and Kiss Me Kate.
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