Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search This Transcript

Today is April eleventh, 1989, my name is Teka Ward, I'm interviewing Seager Crume, L. Seager Crume, Siggy. Our topic is Actors Theatre of Louisville. We are at 1301 Hepburn Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky.

Teka Ward: As we begin, Siggy, you performed in the 1972-73 Season at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Tell me about it.

Seager Crume: No! I did. I performed in several productions that year. I was hired originally for "Pirates of Penzance," then they used me quite extensively in the lunchtime theatre program and the children's theatre program.

TW: I didn't know that.

SC: It's true.

TW: How did you get- Well, we should let- you know, we should say, this was the first season at-

SC: At Actors Theatre.

TW: The new Main Street location?


SC: That's right. At the Pamela Brown Auditorium and the Main Street location. Yeah, it was very exciting. Everything was new and was being worked out and everything at the last moment.

TW: How did you get involved in this in the first place?

SC: Well, I had semi theatrical background. My parents- My Father was an actor, he is an actor, my Mother was an entertainer, she's big on TV and radio, and had her own group, musical group, and she's- and so it sort of followed. Although I didn't pursue the interest in high school except just at the insistence of a few friends that I had I just sort of got into it in the last minute, and then I turned up in college not knowing what to major in and everybody- all my other friends were majoring in theatre so I said OK, I'll major in theatre too. So-


TW: And where was this?

SC: That was at Nazareth College, in Nazareth, Kentucky. And then I went from theatre to other things, but meanwhile I was visiting a friend of mine in Nashville and she was in a dinner theatre production and they talked me into auditioning, and I did and got the job. One thing lead to another and I just started working.

TW: Well, how did you get the job at Actors Theatre?

SC: There was an ad in the paper for a call and that they needed singers, and I decided, you know, give it a try. Why not?

TW: Yeah. So did it say the time they wanted you to show up and where, or- ?SC: Yeah, it was like a cattle call, you just brought your sheet music and there were- they didn't require that we read any- anything. But we did have to sing. 3:00They were primarily, I guess, hiring singers, extra people for the company that weren't in the first hired for the main characters.

TW: Where did you go? Where did you have to show up?

SC: We were in the- what is now the Jon Jory Theatre was a rehearsal hall. And it was a big place, it was all open, there were no partitions or dividers or anything, it was just a big large room and a lot of people showed up.

TW: Did it have like, "Come here on a Saturday, one to five"? Something like that?

SC: Um hum, something like that, as I recall. It was a time like "show up at nine o'clock and bring your sheet music."

TW: What did you take?

SC: Gosh, I think I sang something from the musical "Fanny." Ahhh- I think I 4:00sang "Fanny." The main title song.

TW: Well, what's it like? I mean do you hear each other singing? Or- like- ?SC: Um hum. It is very terrifying. Very terrifying. Um- I- To tell you the truth I don't remember if we took numbers, or- I don't think that's the way it was, I think what we just filled out something, turned it in and then they called us, as we came up. So it was sort of random.

TW: Was there someone there playing the piano?

SC: There was a pianist, and I cannot remember the person's name, but if comes up later I'll probably remember it. Vaughan McBride, as I remember, was conducting the audition, pretty much. And there were other people there but at that time I, of course, wasn't familiar with anybody. I was a complete stranger to-

TW: Was Jory there?

SC: I believe Jory was there, yes.

TW: Did you know any of the other people, there trying out?


SC: No. No, I just did this cold, it was like- I had not done any professional theatre in Louisville before, and I just decided to go for it.

TW: Were you here working?

SC: I was in between engagements, and I was just home looking for work, basically.

TW: So this was your home base?

SC: This was my home base, right. So I wasn't- This was like an interim period in my life, and it was just like I read the ad, and I said, you know, "let's go for it."

TW: How did you find out if you got it or not? You know, like when you left what did they say to you all?

SC: OK, they didn't say too much, as usual. It's- It was pretty typical in that way. Everybody did their little shtick and, "Thank you very much" and, "We'll be in touch."

TW: After you sang did you leave, or did you all hang around and listen to the 6:00other people?

SC: I hung around briefly and then I left. I didn't stay for the whole day.

TW: Do you all ever- Do they usually let you know in two weeks, I mean is there some kind of procedure, or- ?SC: You would- If you don't know in the following couple of days, then you pretty much don't have the part. But it's not a bad Idea to pursue that, if you don't hear from them then you can always call and find out. Most people, when they don't hear they don't-

TW: So what happened in your case?

SC: Well, they called me in the next day or so and said that they wanted me to do it and that was- We talked briefly money, and that was certainly not very much.

TW: But on the telephone, you actually discussed that. Do you remember who called you?


SC: I believe it was Vaughn McBride.

TW: Did you happen to answer the phone?

SC: No, I believe I got a message when I got home.

TW: So you called and-

SC: Yes, I said, "This is Siggy." And they said, "Yes, and be here at" such-and-such-and- such, and showed up for the rehearsal.

TW: How did he, say, broach the money topic?

SC: Well, I think it was pretty matter-0f-fact. It was just like, "We pay" this-and-that, "We pay" such and such, for this-

TW: Do you remember what it was or anything?

SC: I received- I think it was something like fifty dollars a week for--which was not very much--for the "Pirates" and then each other thing I did I received a certain amount per week. And at one point I was making a hundred twenty-five 8:00or so per week. Which wasn't too bad for a twenty-two-year-old upstart actor.

TW: So, how did you feel when you called and they told you.

SC: I was- I was- Of course I felt like I had really accomplished something, because even in 1972, and although Actors hadn't really established itself like it has now, it was still quite the respected company and I knew with that credential that would take me a few places, just in that alone. And I was right, but it worked.

TW: OK, so you went to your first rehearsal.

SC: Um hum. And, of course, I was on cloud nine. It was all- Every moment was excited. I was so new to the business and everything, I suppose I was like stars in my eyes or something. Most everybody else was very ho-hum, matter-of-fact, let's get this over with, kind of thing, the other actors. I was just hanging on everything that happened, and just drinking it all in and loving every minute.

TW: So, like you showed up, and were you all back upstairs in the Victor Jory?

SC: I believe that's where we were. Yes, that's where we conducted most of our 9:00beginning rehearsals, that's where we did most of the blocking, and we would block it and run through, and then occasionally we'd be down on the stage to set the action-

TW: In the Pamela Brown.

SC: -in the Pamela Brown, yes.

TW: Now who would be there when you would be there, for instance.

SC: Um- Well, Frank Wicks and Vaughn McBride and aahhh- There was a musical director, Allen Raffel?

TW: Right. And then Frank Wicks was the director.

SC: Right. He was the director. And occasionally Jon Jory made an appearance, and occasionally Victor Jory made an appe- Once. Once or twice.


TW: That was exciting!

SC: Yes, it was very exciting. I remember one of the most exciting- One of the neatest moments that we had, one time we were auditioning and the ladies were auditioning upstairs in the rehearsal hall, and the gentlemen went downstairs to rehearse on the main stage so we could rehearse our separate parts and then we were rehearsing this one particular number that's just kind of triumphant and, you know, pomp and we were going to get back together to do the whole number together and we went up in the freight elevator and sort of- I don't know what happened but spontaneously we broke into song. And as we were coming up in this elevator we were singing this triumphant and we got up there and it just, the acoustics and everything just reverberated and it was just one of those little magic moments.

TW: Now what about costumes?

SC: Costumes. You mean-

TW: Did they fit you, or, you know, were- how did that work?

SC: That came much later.

TW: Oh, so that really does come-


SC: So that does come much later. We spend a lot of time rehearsing and blocking and just run-throughs, and that sort of thing.

TW: This play ran from December 14, 1972, through January 14, 1973. When would you say you first saw that ad in the paper?

SC: I would say October, late October.

TW: And then shortly after that-

SC: Shortly thereafter- I'm not sure- I can't remember how many weeks we rehearsed, but I would say two to three. It wasn't really a long rehearsal, which was wonderful because many things I'd done before were just rehearsed and rehearsed, you know, two hours here and two hours there. We got there at eight o'clock in the morning and rehearsed most of the day. And then when I wasn't rehearsing for Pirates then I would be in rehearsal for "Cole Porter Lunchtime Theatre" or the children's theatre. So pretty much I was there ten to twelve 12:00hours a day, every day. Five or six days a week.

TW: How did it come about, the Cole Porter?

SC: The Cole Porter came about right away. As a matter of fact he might have told me about that at the same time as Pirates. And we got into that right on too.

TW: You went in there interviewing- I mean auditioning for Pirates. And then maybe on the phone he said-

SC: Yes, "and we're doing lunchtime theatre." And so we had- I think we had a cast of four in that Cole Porter.

TW: Well, where would you rehearse for that?

SC: Well, that would be in any corner we could- Sometimes it would be in the rehearsal hall if it was free, or we would be downstairs in the bar, which is where the lunchtime theatre was held.


TW: Was it The Starving Artist then?

SC: Yes.

TW: Is that what it was called?

SC: I don't believe they called it anything. I think it was just the bar at Actors Theatre. And Gloria was there, from the very beginning. She was wonderful. And many of the staff were-

TW: Were the other three people with you? -in Cole Porter, the ones who were in Pirates?

SC: Um-hum. The other three that were with me were in what they called The Adventure Company, which was not the main stage company but at that time they didn't have the Jon Jory Theatre, but they did on Monday nights, they presented more experimental type works. They hired a cast for that, they called that The Adventure Company. That was not to be confused with the Apprentice Company. These people were paid Equity scale.


TW: Were you the Apprentice Company? Would you-

SC: No, I was not. I was like a jobber, I guess. They jobbed me in for Pirates and then they used me where they could.

TW: Would the Apprentice Company be like-

SC: They'd be like tech- technical people mostly. Now occasionally they would have a walk-on in the mainstage production, or in the Adventure Company production if there were- if it called for more people.

TW: Where would the Monday night Adventure Theatre-

SC: They were on the main stage, the Pamela Brown.

TW: Now tell me about doing the Cole Porter. What was that like?

SC: That was wonderful too. That was singing and dancing in very suave, sophisticated- We tried to capture the feeling of the times. We wore period- the 15:00ladies wore black gowns and we wore tuxedos and it was about a thirty-minute program and awe sang- We each had solos and then we had, we sang group singing. I was really the only singer in the group. Everybody else was more and actor than a singer. But it all- It was very much work

TW: How many days a week did you all do that?

SC: We did that five days a week.

TW: And then in addition to that you did the children's matinee. What did you do in that?

SC: We did Pinocchio. And in addition to performing that at Actors Theatre we went on tour with it throughout the state of Kentucky, in the Spring, after we finished the-

TW: Wow. What was that like?

SC: It was wonderful. For me it was wonderful, because of course I was still at 16:00the stage where every minute was heaven and we traveled on a bus and, you know, and- bus and truck, basically. But we had the full range of technical assistants so we really- we were- even though I was not an Equity performer at that time, I was regarded as, or treated the same as if I were an Equity-

TW: And by that what do you mean?

SC: That means you don't do anything but what you do on stage. There's no carrying props, there's no- which differs a lot from the other theatre I've done where you do pretty much everything and then some. And that was sort of- I used that as- After I'd worked at Actors Theatre it pretty much spoiled me for non-Equity type work, because there's really- they really tried to humanize the profession with the union. The union tries to make sure that everybody is treated with respect and many of the other jobs that I've had I've been told to 17:00my face that I was the same as cattle and I'd be treated that way and actors are, you know, this and that and the other thing, and always- never really treated with the same kind of respect. But- which is sad. It is really sad that people have that attitude.

TW: When you would go on the bus, would you all go to the high school? Or-

SC: Um hum. The high school, or sometimes it would be the- I remember performing in the Paramount Theatre in, like, Maysville, Kentucky, or something, and it would be a movie theatre predominately but they would have some sort of stage with no wings or back stage so you were like, you know, on your tip toes or you'd be in sight of the audience. But we performed in several big old theatres, old fabulous theatres. Things I didn't even know existed in Kentucky. You know, 18:00just big beautiful, wonderful theatres, just like the Lowes down here in Louisville, or the Rialto. And they're all over- or they were at that time all over the state. I hope maybe some of them have lasted.

TW: Was "Pinocchio" performed as a musical?

TW: Um hm. It was a musical. It was lots of singing, lots of action, it was a very up production. The man who played the major general in Penzance directed. It was really a fun show.

TW: Would he go with you when you all went on the road?

SC: No. He was there for all the rehearsals and got us gelled and then from then on it was-

TW: So nobody would go with you all except you all?

SC: Vaughan McBride, I believe. And there was someone else too, I just cannot recall his name. He did a lot of piano accompaniment and that sort of thing.

TW: When you all did- OK, so you had to have costumes for that. You had to have 19:00costumes for Pirates- What was that like? Having your alls- What do you do?

SC: Well, you have costume call and it's almost like an appointment sort of, and it's like OK, you're in costume at 3:00 this afternoon so that's what you do. You go- You're in costume and you just stand there and everybody puts clothes on you and says, "OK that's it."

TW: What room did you all do that in?

SC: There was a costume room at that time, and we just reported there and that's pretty much where that happened. And some of it happened in the dressing rooms--fitting and if any problems occurred.

TW: Do you remember Paul Owen?

SC: Yes, I do. He was a real sweetheart. And very talented. But he was very professional and very business, and it was like all bus-- As long as we were at work and rehearsal or whatever it was pretty much all business, no funny stuff. 20:00So I didn't really get to know him personally.

TW: And do you remember whether this was his first time there, or?

SC: No I don't, I don't think so. It may have been his first season at Actors since it was a new facility and everything, but he was quite accomplished already.

TW: Do you remember any of the other cast- Didn't, I mean- They had a resident cast.

SC: Right.

TW: Do you remember any of that resident cast?

SC: Ahhh- Yes. Actually for Pirates itself many of the main characters were one, they were jobbed in for that particular performance. Now Patrick Tovat was a resident I believe. And there were a handful of others--Lee Ann Fahey. But many of the people, and all of the people in the Adventure Company of course were. But many of the resident cast didn't arrive, or did not do that production. That 21:00year there was a lot of extra casting done because I believe after they did this there was, I believe they did "Kentucky" this year too and that was not a usual thing too, it called for a lot of extra-

TW: Do you remember anything about- Were Jon and Lee Ann married yet?

SC: No, no, they weren't. Jon too was all business and you didn't really chum around at all with him. Lee Ann is just as she appears to be. She's bubbly and real sweet and I wondered if that was really her, at the time. And it- She could come off kind of saccharine but when you got to know her it wasn't saccharine, 22:00it was just really sweet.

TW: I want to ask you also what was opening night? Now, did you all have a preview, and then you had opening?

SC: Yes, Wednesday night preview-

TW: You remember it was Wednesday night.

SC: Yes, I remember it was Wednesday night-

TW: Or is it always on a Wednesday?

SC: Well, it probably is. It probably is. But the preview was exciting. It went very well. Anything you could imagine that it would be, it was just all of your expectations and everything, and finally there you were. I mean we had a dress rehearsal and all that, still, even before that, but this was the, you know, the night. It was like a now or never sort of thing, and it gelled and it worked and the audience was wonderful, and then opening night was the same way. It was just a beautiful show. It's hard for me to- well, it's hard for anyone to describe 23:00Gilbert and Sullivan. It's one of those things- It doesn't usually play well taken out of context. A lot of us have heard music that Gilbert and Sullivan wrote, and we've heard of the plays, but there's something really charming and wonderful about the whole, intact- And that was another thing was that we were very faithful to the original D'Oyly Carte production. It was done very very straight Gilbert and Sullivan vintage. I mean, it could have been taken from the 24:00times and that was pretty neat.

TW: When you all had your dress rehearsal did anyone come and watch?

SC: Yeah, a handful of family of staff and that sort of thing, but it wasn't an audience per se. So you didn't get the feedback.

TW: After you had the preview did you make any changes before the opening night performance?

SC: No. Pretty much the show stayed the same.

TW: And then, at this time, what did it- you had the preview and you were having your dress rehearsal- were you really doing the Cole Porter and the- I mean that was all going on simultaneously?

SC: All going on- Everything but the children's theatre thing. But I did start the Children's Theatre thing while I was still doing lunchtime theatre and "Pirates" as well. So for a while there I was doing three shows, all at once. Rehearsing for one and performing in two.

TW: How do you ??? that?


SC: Ummm. It's never been a trick for me, it's just something that I can do. It just- I have a real, almost photographic memory and that sort of thing, learning music or learning lines is just- I just practice and then it comes.

TW: Do you practice at home alone?

SC: Yes, you practice alone. You, If you have dialogue--which in Pirates I didn't have any dialogue, it was strictly singing--then you usually recruit a friend, or someone, a fellow actor, to run lines with you. And much of the time when I wasn't rehearsing I was running lines with the other guys, you know the Adventure Company. They had tremendous amounts of dialogue to learn.


TW: So you would be there-

SC: So I would be there- I would be, you know, I wanted to be there as much as I could be. As a matter of fact I don't believe I had a car in those days and I lived out in, way out US42, and-

TW: Where?

SC: In Hills and Dales subdivision.

TW: Is that beyond-

SC: Beyond Lime Kiln Lane, it's the next-

TW: Well, that's not way out. I lived on on Rose Island Road-

SC: Oh, that's way out. This wasn't that way out but there were no buses and cab fare was like a quarter of my week's salary, so-

TW: You had to take a cab?

SC: So a couple of times I took a cab, but most of the time I was able to hitch a ride with somebody, or one way or the other, to get home. But that part wasn't important. I didn't want to go home.

TW: Were you among the youngest?

SC: Yes, I was. I was twenty-two, and most everybody else was twenty-four and 27:00twenty-six and up, even in the Adventure Company I was the youngest.

TW: What is in your background in theatre prior to that?

SC: Just some high school and college. I did "Henry VIII" and "Royal Gambit" in college, which was quite an undertaking in an all girls school. (laughter) And I had been in "Barefoot in the Park," and I'd been in "Blithe Spirit," Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit," which is quite a sophisticated play to be presented by juniors in high school, but I think we did it. I played Charles Condomine, the lead character. And talk about memorizing dialogue, I mean he's on stage for the entire show and then, because everybody knew about my memory, pretty much, I was home for the week. I wasn't even living in Bardstown anymore. I had already left and transferred to another high school and I was home for the weekend in Bardstown and they were doing "Arsenic and Old Lace" and one of the people broke their arm right before the show and they called me up and said, "Would you come 28:00and stand in for this guy?" And it took a little twisting of my arm, but I said ok, sure. And I did it. And I went and as they were putting clothes on me I was learning- I only had a few lines but it was couple of pages and I was learning my dialogue as they were dressing me and we were going on stage. And so, anyway, that was that. But I had- I think I had done a couple of little professional things. I'd been in the opera "Carmen" in the University of Miami with Regine Cresbin, and we had done another big thing, "Elijah" with Miami Beach symphony.

TW: How'd you end up down there?

SC: I was in school down there. In between all this other stuff I went to about 29:00five different colleges in and among my working and everything.

TW: You learned a lot that way didn't you?

SC: Yes, I learned- I wouldn't trade it for a degree right now, at all. It was wonderful. I did- I pursued what I wanted to pursue when I wanted pursue it, and maybe that wasn't the most career-minded thing in the world to do, but I was just interested in learning and broadening myself. I figured the career would come later.

TW: After you- Oh, yeah, did you all read the review- You know, is that a big deal?

SC: Yes, it's a big deal, and it was not a good review. It was, unfortunately, as in many cases, it was a very unfair review. Umm- Ed Dickson, who had one of the most beautiful tenor voices, did not have a good night opening night. We all are human beings. And he may have wavered on a note or two, throughout the whole 30:00production. And that was what they did the article about. It was like, just almost an assassination of Ed Dickson, the whole article. And the rest- They couldn't say much about the rest of the show, it was-

(Tape 1, Side 1 ends. Stops mid-sentence)

(Tape 1, Side 2 beins)

TW: This is Side 2 of Tape 1. Alright, so you all discussed the review?

SC: We discussed the review. We talked about murder. I do believe Ed called up--I do believe it was William Mootz--and said some things he wanted to get off his chest, I'm not quite sure if I remember what they were, but it wasn't pleasant. (Laughter)

TW: What do you think about the impact of reviews? You must have an opinion.

SC: Well, it's really really rather horrible. I don't know what I- I don't- For 31:00one thing, you know, not to even talk about Actors Theatre or being in theatre, I find critics very- I don't know, I don't really know if I know what their purpose is. I find that when I read a review of something it colors my judgement so much that most of the time I don't even want to see it or, you know, anything- and I think that's really detrimental. I don't think that's positive, and I'm just not quite sure I know what is positive about it. So- But as far as critics and theatre go, I think that a lot- It's so hard to put everything you've got in something for weeks at a time and develop something from nothing, and create it and put it out and then have somebody say- discount the whole thing because someone had toilet paper on his shoe, or, you know. There's more 32:00to it than that, and I think that even a production that's less than perfect you can, I think, it can better everybody that sees it. And I don't see why critics are necessary. (laughs)

TW: They wield a lot of power.

SC: Yes, they do. They do. A lot of economic power, as well as other types. And it's really sad. Um- I think, you know, I may be off base but I think they're possibly one of the big problems with the American theatre. And I think that critics are regarded differently in Europe, especially in London where the West End Theatre--that is where all theatre is coming from now, and I think that's partially why, because there's not that economic, frightening thing, where if one critic says "this is bad" then you close the next night. That doesn't happen in Europe. You may get five good reviews and five bad reviews and the play can run for years. Whereas here you can get one bad review and close the next night. 33:00On Broadway, so- It's kinda sad.

TW: When you were there, did you ever see Sandy Speer?

SC: Yes, just doing his bit.

TW: What was he doing in those days?

SC: He was in the business office. So, occasionally he- He would be at the functions and everything, and occasionally he would speak to the audience or something like that, about subscriptions or something. But he played a fairly passive role at that time.

TW: What about Trish Pugh? Did you ever see her?

SC: Hu huh. She was tremendously energetic and vivacious and- I spent a lot of time with Trish. She cared a lot about people. She cared a lot about all of the people who worked with Actors Theatre. She was just there and she was always up. 34:00She was a wonderful person.

TW: What about David Talbot? Did he come- Was he the official photographer in those days?

SC: Um hm, he sure was. And he took- We took quite an extensive amount of pictures of Pirates. We had a photographic session, at least one or two. And I wish I still had the slides.

TW: Because you had-

SC: Because I had some. I had about a dozen slides, and they were wonderful.

TW: Now, what about Kurt Wilhelm? Was he around?

SC: He was set design?- or- ? Yes, he was around and I knew him. I believe he was married at the time.

TW: What about- Now with Actors Associates. Do you remember that?

SC: Um hmm. They fed us. They were wonderful. On Saturday of course we did two 35:00performances, almost back to back. I think there was an hour, or half an hour, between the performances. And they- The Equity ruling is that, in cases like that the theatre must provide dinner. And so, the Actors Associates, that was their, one of their primary functions. And they always provided something wonderful. It was always something really wonderful and high quality cuisine.

TW: So this would be on a Saturday. Was it only women who were in Actors Associates in those days?

SC: Hmm- I believe. I didn't notice any men at that time.

TW: Do you remember any of the people in particular?

SC: I don't remember anybody by name.

TW: Did you all get paid on a certain day? You knew-

SC: Um hm.

TW: You said that after you were at Actors Theatre you knew it would make a difference in your life. How did it make a difference?

SC: Well, I went on from Actors Theatre to- I deci- At that point I was pretty 36:00much going to pursue the Theatrical route, and I had been given enough positive reinforcement. Which is- I felt tremendously lucky to have gotten so much positive reinforcement instead of a lot of rejection. Most people start out with a lot of rejection and then they persevere and then it gets better. Me: I started out with no rejection, and when the rejection started coming I didn't deal with it well at all. As a matter of fact that was probably what turned me away from the profession in the long run. It's just a psychological thing. I just- Um- It's just every hard to deal with, even when you know the reasons, it's- I worked a whole season with the Nashville Children's Theatre, which was 37:00another very highly regarded- It was probably the number one children's theatre in the United States when I was there. And I was carried an entire season, then we toured for a summer with- all over the state of Tennessee and in Washington, D.C. and then we came back and I was hired to do promotion for the Fall. And then I wasn't picked up because I was too much an individual- They said I was too much of a type that- to be in the company because I couldn't- I was recognizable as myself and I couldn't be a broad range of characters. And I can understand that, but it wasn't still easy to deal with because I was becoming very secure. That was another thing. Most jobs you get in theatre are from six 38:00weeks to, at the very longest, six months and maybe sometimes a year, if you get a Broadway tour. And I needed more security in my life. I have to know where my base is and where I'm going to be going. Just-

TW: Have you gone to Actors Theatre on and off over the years?

SC: Um hum. Over the years. Many of my friends that were formerly in theatre- I think Jeanann Dorman, who was with Public Relations for years, we were at Nashville Children's Theatre together as act- she was an actress then, and then she switched over to administrative, and we both, we talk and we both wonder about how it would have been if we'd stayed in the theatre and everything, but-

TW: When you think about theatre, and you think about Actors Theatre, what's the 39:00first thing you think about? What about Actors Theatre makes it stand out, or have its own identity among other theatres?

SC: I think quality is one of the things that comes first to my mind. Quality of production, quality of content and professionalism. It's just impeccable as far as I'm concerned, and I don't think any actor in the United States would not be extremely proud and fortunate to have Actors Theatre on their resume.

TW: Have you been to any of the Humana Festival of New American Plays?

SC: Yes I have. Not this year, I haven't been, but in past years I attend one or two. I'm not- Oh, I know what I was going to say about Jenann, we neither one of 40:00us are theatre goers any- Many people that I know that have been in theatre are not particularly theatre goers any more. There's something about when you lose the magic it's not as much fun to see it as it was when you didn't know every last thing. It's very hard not to be aware the little glitches in the lighting, glitches in what- you know, this should have been bluer or that should have been brighter or there should have been a spotlight on this person or this person's lines were delivered in the wrong blocking, or- It's just hard to get over that. And occasionally, in certain productions, I don't see any of that stuff and I'm just able to become part of the audience. But most of the time it's not that way.

TW: When you look back at nineteen-seventy-two is there anything you'd like to add? You know, memories?

SC: Well, it was one of the most wonderful times in my life. I will always 41:00remember it. When it came to an end for me, and the- Pinocchio was the last thing I did, and when the tour ended and there were no more, "Gee, we've got this show, and are you interested?" it was tremendously a big letdown. Because- And that's ultimately, I'm sure, why I didn't continue in the theatre because once you have done it the right way all the way down the line, it's very hard to go back. And I did- I did other things after that--dinner theatre--and I was always comparing it to Actors Theatre, you know, in my mind if not verbally, and nothing ever measured up. So, it's just- But- It's wonderful. I use my experiences from that part of my life every day and I think about them every day. I may not think, "Oh, Actors Theatre" or something, but something about it- 42:00I felt like I was part of really something, you know, wonderful. I could have been in a hit movie and it wouldn't have been any more wonderful to me. So it was a wonderful experience.

TW: Siggy, thank you.

SC: You're welcome.

TW: Siggy and I were just looking over the Actors Theatre of Louisville production history, and we're looking at the seventy-two seventy-three season, and we're looking at the list of children's theatre, with "Pinocchio" being the first one they performed. And then the Lunchtime Theatre. There's Cole Porter, and then

SC: "Stage Door Canteen," and then "A Mummers Christmas" which was the premier of that production written by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt of "The Fantastics" fame, and it was a wonderful- a short, of course, adapted for lunchtime theatre. 43:00But it was a wonderful, warm little Christmas play. And it was very well received. But that's just an example of some of the really firsts that Actors Theatre dealt with. They don't just rehash old plays like many-

TW: Now what about "Tricks"? You were- Did you ever talk about it?

SC: Oh, "Tricks" yes. "Tricks" was going on this whole time too, in New York. And, as a matter of fact we, many of us, flew up there for the opening night. And I was there.

TW: Did they pay for you all to fly up there?

SC: No, we scraped together our little hard earned- I think I stayed at the Waldorf Astoria. No, we all went up there I believe for just one night, if I'm not wrong, cause of course none of us were rich, but many of us just flew up 44:00there for opening night and it was just quite exciting. Course that was all part of the whole thing, it was almost here you were, part of this big magic machine and we're on Broadway and we're in Louisville, and the lunchtime, and it's just like this thing is going to be, you know, world famous. Which it is. But-

TW: Now Jean Innes, there's a picture of Victor Jory and Jean Innes there opening night. Do you remember her too.SC: Um-hum, yes- oh, what's his name? um- Renee Oberjen??? Who starred in "Tricks" on Broadway.

TW: But what happened with it?

SC: With "Tricks"? OK, so this is what happened. It was, of course, a tremendous success here and it was a tremendous success in DC the following season. Then what happened was what happens, I'm sure, many times. They took something that was wonderful and tried to make it a Broadway success. And they- By the time 45:00they got finished with it it was hardly recognizable as the original thing because, you know, we had to glitz this up for Broadway, and we had to add this for Broadway, and actually I'm sure Jon Jory was just a mad man over the whole thing because he wanted this so bad, this success, that I think they just tried too hard and did too much. And it ended up- It was still a wonderful little show, it just went- it didn't have that dear, wonderful, you know, deep quality that it had before it was just frothy and funny and-

TW: Did you all sense it that night?

SC: I think so, to a great extent. I think pretty much we sensed it. I think 46:00everybody enjoyed the show, but everybody was looking at it for the differences in it.

TW: And you could see-

SC: Yes, oh yes.

TW: Different even from Washington.

SC: Oh yes.

TW: Was Washington different from Louisville?

SC: Yes, and they changed it many times in- You know they did it in Detroit before they- That was their first thing before they opened on Broadway. And it was even different there, and they kept changing it and changing it and changing it again, and changing it again, and let's make it better and let's make it better. And I think they just changed it to the point they didn't know what they had started with, or something. But I think that happens with a lot of things.

TW: So, you were saying that Jon Jory was talking about theatre and you would sometimes hear him talking, or he would come talk to you all, or-

SC: Well, I took a class at--a graduate course at UofL called Theatre Institute and it was taught by Jon Jory and Ken Jenkins, and they lectured and we did 47:00theatre games and it was a tremendous, that was a tremendous experience too. I actually--I hate to say it after all these years--but I think I actually worshiped Jon Jory in the beginning. I mean he was just tremendous, like ideas were pent up and trying to burst out of different parts of his body, he was just tremendously exciting and electric and when he was involved with the Theatre Institute class at the UofL this wasn't a little throwaway thing that he was doing, he was there, he was there a hundred percent, and it was just as if he were producing one of his plays at Actors Theatre. He was that involved. He just is tremendously involved with anything he does, or at least that's the way it was.

TW: Did you take this class when you were in the "Pirates of Penzance"?


SC: No this was before. This was my first encounter, I guess, with Jon Jory, as far as Actors Theatre. That was previous couple of years, maybe two years prior, two or three.

TW: Did you ever go to the theatre at the railroad station?

SC: Oh, yes. I didn't go to the one on Fourth Street, but I knew it was there, and I- It was kind of bazar because it was this little walk-up place with a banner outside and I always wanted to go in but never did. I really young, fifteen or sixteen or something. But I did attend plays at the railroad station.

TW: What do you remember about that?

SC: I remember it was just wonderful. It was- I was very into avant garde anything at that point in my life, you know, and you saw very little of that on television or in the movies or in any way that we had access to here in 49:00Louisville, and you know, every play that they did wasn't bazar and avant garde but they did take a lot of chances and do a lot of really, I guess what would be considered experimental type theatre, which was wonderful. And it was always wonderful and when I went I just- Every time I went it was like an experience, it wasn't just going to a play, you know, it built on something else.

TW: How'd you find out about this class? Were you just- Was this a time in your life you when you were going to school?

SC: I was in school at Eastern University as a matter of fact, at the time. And read about the class, I suppose, and that was it. I had to be in that class. So I commuted from Richmond, Kentucky. And I wasn't even a graduate student.


TW: Then how'd you get in a graduate class?

SC: They just accepted- You know I just told them I wanted to take it, not for credit, just, you know.

TW: Was it like a seminar?

SC: Um hum.

TW: One day a week. Twice?

SC: Twice a week I believe.

TW: And you-

SC: It was an evening class, from seven to ten, seven to nine-thirty, or something like that. And I had a pathetic old Falcon and didn't have any ball-joints or anything in it and I just- I risked the trip, and my friend Wanda took the class with me and we- She was going to school at UK so we commuted from Lexington and Richmond to Louisville twice a week just to go to that class.

TW: So you knew who Jon Jory was, and you knew who Ken Jenkins was?


SC: I didn't know who he was but then I did after that.

TW: Where was the class held at UofL?

SC: It was held in the building where the cafeteria is- I don't know-

TW: The Student Center.

SC: Yes, the Student Center, it was held upstairs in the Student Center in a very large kind of auditorium-ish like thing.

TW: How many kids were in the class?

SC: There were quite a few, quite a few. I would say thirty.

TW: What do you remember about it?

SC: I remember Jon Jory just lectured quite a bit. He talked about his feelings about the theatre and then we did some theatrical games or psychological- Well, you know we'd do- They were like exercises. And he would set up the exercise and you would have a partner and you would be involved in whatever it was. I mean, some of the things was like mirror imaging, and you would stare into your partner's eyes and then you would start movements, and a lot of them were very involved things that I can't exactly remember. But it was play acting, but it 52:00was done as a very structured manner. I'm sure that they weren't his inventions but-

TW: Would Ken be in the room at the same time? Would they alternate, one would be there and one-

SC: We would all just- Ah both- That's a good question. I don't really remember. I think they alternated, or they were occasionally there at the same time. I don't believe they were both there all always at the same time.

TW: And were most of the people in the class would-be actors?

SC: Um hum. There were many people- I remember one in particular woman, almost ended up marrying my Father, she was a Greek actress. Her name was Rula, not Rula Lensca, but her name was Rula. And she was a Greek actress and she had married some American boy and she was living over here in Jeffersonville. And this was her link to the real world, or whatever. And she has gone back to 53:00Greece since and become quite a successful TV and motion picture actress.

TW: Would Ken be the one who might lead the theatrical exercises, or were Jory do that just as much?

SC: Just as much. I had just the utmost respect for both of them. It was just a tremendously exciting thing. All of it. I just remembered when I knew the class was going to be held there wasn't anything that was going to keep me from being in it.

TW: So did he teach- Did he talk about playwriting at all in those days?

SC: No, not really. It was mostly the big picture. You know it was the overall thing, it was the theatre in relation to the world and then in particular the different mechanics of being an actor, you know, and that sort of thing. It wasn't done so much as a theatrical appreciation class, it was more of a 54:00workshop for actors. In sort of a beginning sense, but still it was very much one-on-one with somebody that you really admired.

TW: Siggy, tell me the importance to you, in your life, of performing at Actors Theatre .SC: Well, it's part of me. I feel that being involved with something, and in this case Actors Theatre, that was so great and so well done it adds to my everyday life in my attitude and my self-confidence and the way I portray myself in my own little world, and that's what I mean when I say that it's part of me every day. Not that I think of Actors Theatre every day but it is part of 55:00me, of who I am now, I didn't just graduate from high school and go to beauty school, you know, and it's part of my character and it's having been part of something I felt had no--you know, that was just downright wonderful and great.

TW: This is the end of Side 2 Tape 1, my interview with L. Seeger Crume. (Tape 1, side 2 ends)