ORLANDO – Nearly 20 years ago, Steven Lane noted, he decided he was going to earn his living as a professional actor. The next question was where to go to make his dreams come true.
Hollywood and Broadway tempt many an aspiring actor, but Lane decided he wanted to press forward in his own back yard, Central Florida.
“I decided that I wanted to stay put in my hometown of Central Florida,” he noted. “But how to earn a living? Enter the theme parks.”
Lane, who performs by entertaining the crowds at Walt Disney World, said he also wanted to find ways to grow as an artist.
“Enter Mad Cow,” he noted. “Mad Cow Theatre has provided what very few theaters do at present: deep, rich, challenging plays that require a commitment, intelligence and skill seldom found in today’s commercial theatre. What PBS’s ‘Great Performances’ is to television, Mad Cow is to Central Florida’s entertainment offerings.”
Now Lane, who has performed at the theater at 54 W. Church St. in downtown Orlando, has a new mission. He has sent out a letter to the entire community, urging them to repay the years of strong and memorable productions at Mad Cow, by opening their wallets to support not only this theater, but also the entire concept of living in a city with a thriving community theater scene.
“As Mad Cow heads into its eighteenth season of producing quality theatre, Mad Cow needs your support to continue to produce great theatre,” Lane wrote.
Community theater is, after all, an expensive operation, he noted.
“In addition to every day costs like rent and utilities, the ten shows scheduled this season need sets built and painted, lighting and costumes designed and built, and actors like me to bring these stories to life,” he wrote.
And in a sense, he added, it takes an entire city to help keep beloved community theaters in operation.
“There is nothing like live theatre — people present in the room with you. People speaking lines passed down from Shaw, Ibsen, Friel, Stoppard, Albee. People projecting every emotion and every thought imaginable. And at Mad Cow, every seat is close to the action. You can see the tears, the perspiration; catch the quick glance, hear the intensifying breathing. It concentrates the experience,” he wrote. “I hope that Mad Cow stays a part of all of our lives in Central Florida.”
Anyone can donate to Mad Cow online or by calling the box office at 407-297-8788.
Lane’s appeal to support the theater comes at a time when Mad Cow is gearing up to launch Season 18, which opens on Oct. 3 with their production of “The Who’s Tommy” in the Harriett Theatre. The musical by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff won the 1993 Tony Award, and it will play through Nov. 2.
That’s being followed on Nov. 14 with “I & You” in the Zehngebot-Stonerock. This is a new play by Lauren Gunderson about two high school students working on a project together.
The year is rounded out on Dec. 5 with Mad Cow’s production of “James Joyce’s The Dead” in the Harriett Theatre, the play based on the short story of Joyce, with a book by Richard Nelson and music by Shaun Davey.
Other special events at this theater next year will include the Mad Cow’s Science Play Festival from Feb. 27 to March 1, and the 13th Annual Orlando Cabaret Festival from April 23 to May 10, 2015.
Season subscriptions are available.
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