Dave Rhoades

Call Back Theater Company was a natural outgrowth of my love of being on stage.

After having 11 different stage productions with Platte Valley Players and Prairie Playhouse and 2 motion pictures with Strong Foundation Films under my belt, I decided, “what the heck” might as well add another acting troupe to the Denver area.

I’ve always loved the stage. My first performances were as any child would tell you, first for my parents. From puppet shows to popping up behind brocade couches to sing and acting out my own stories, there is something about the applause. The feeling of doing something that people really like. Of course my parents had to like it, I was their son. But nevertheless.

There was a show on television in the early 60’s called Diver Dan which I watched vehemently after school, along with Lassie, Gilligan’s Island, Jonny Quest (on Saturday mornings) and Star Trek.

Also in the 60’s I had a backyard Ranger Tower. It was built of metal because you didn’t have backyard playsets made of wood. The Ranger Tower was square and had some sort of a canopy over it. You would climb up the ladder because it was large enough to stand up under the Ranger Tower and slide down a fireman’s pole that swung back and forth through a square opening in the metal floor. I’m sure that pole would be on recall in today’s society for fear of little Davie pinching his legs covered with short pants as he hit the side of the metal.

 

But that’s beside the point…

I’ve told you all of that, to tell you this: The floor had metal slats with gaps in between.  In my Diver Dan days (only I called myself Diver Dave of course) we would make puppet fish similar to those seen on Diver Dan. 

The puppet cast of Diver Dan consisted of a veritable school of fish marionettes with funny pun-like names, including the villainous Baron Barracuda, his dumb henchman Trigger Fish. Baron Barracuda wore a monocle in one eye and spoke in a Transylvanian accent. Trigger Fish, the Baron’s accomplice, always had an unlit cigarette jutting from the side of his mouth. (when was the last time that you saw a kids show sporting anyone with an unlit cigarette hanging from his mouth?) Scout Fish was an ethnic stereotype who carried a tomahawk and spoke in pidgin American-Indian dialect.  Gill-Espy was a bongo-playing beatnik. The plot lines generally consisted of Baron Barracuda and Trigger Fish hatching various schemes to take over the bottom of the sea, and being foiled by Diver Dan, Miss Minerva, and the other fish.

My puppet fish would hang through the metal slats and bounce around while I wore a cardboard ice cream tub on my head that was made to look like a deep sea diver helmet.

I suppose that was my first real exposure to theater.

Grace-Carla Baldwin, Warbucks-me, Annie-Lorelie Thorne
photo courtesy of Prairieplayhouse

Since then I’ve had the privilege of playing a variety of roles including: The Stage Manager in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. Daddy Warbucks in Annie. Grandpa Joe in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. And Jean Valjean in Les Mis.

They say “Acting is in the blood”. In my case it wasn’t passed down from my parents but I guess it was injected intravenously later in life. I love the grease paint, the back stage jitters, the onstage ad-libs and the standing ovation at the curtain call. I told my wife of 31 years, when playing Daddy Warbucks to sell out crowds in 10-12 performances;  “I can see how people do this every night on Broadway”. And yes, I did shave my head. In for a penny…

l to r: Dani Lay-Mrs. Bucket,Brian Bernard-Phineous Trout,Dan Lawless-Wonka, Me-Grandpa Joe,Dylan Pibbs-Charlie Bucket,Jason Shirley-Grandpa George. photo courtesy of Prairieplayhouse

 

 

 

 

Whether it’s playing a poverty soaked grandpa to golden ticketed grandson, a partially nutsy drama teacher in High School Musical, a billionare during The Great Depression or an 1815 escaped prisoner working out his gift of grace, it’s all good times and noodle salad to me.

So now here we are at the birth of Call Back Theater Company. A group of friends and family having a fun on stage. “A simple little layout where we can do our best with the work we know without having any illusions of glory…”-Bing Crosby Holiday Inn.

Me playing Valjean in Le Mis
photo courtesy of Prairieplayhouse

Hope you enjoy our productions.

Dave

 

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