Area of Study: Liberal Arts BA, Theatre Arts
Current City: Los Angeles
Graduation Date: 1972
Current Occupation: Actor freelance most recently playing Brendan Roarke on Sons of Anarchy. I have also Directed Network Television shows. My acting resume for Television and Movies includes more than 50 titles. I have also done regional theatre.
Why did you choose WCU and/or the Department of Theatre and Dance?
I selected West Chester for a number of reasons. My Father was a career military man so I graduated from a high school in Puerto Rico where he was stationed at the time. Our stateside residency was Pennsylvania so I could go to West Chester as a state resident. In 1968 my first year I believe the tuition for one semester was an absurdly cheap $650 dollars. The Viet Nam war was in full bloom so if you didn't go to college you got drafted. So there were incentives to go and stay in school. My Grandparents lived in Upper Darby so I also had family near by.
What training or education did the Dept of Theatre and Dance provide for you that relates to your current occupation?
I was very happy with the size of the Theatre Dept. I think there were only about a dozen Theatre Majors in the dept. and we studied everything. I was a paid shop assistant so I learned a great deal about the technical side of theatre, which came in handy when I started my own theatre company after graduation. Because the dept. was small I got to be in almost all the productions for 4 years that's a lot of stage time. I don't think in the larger Conservatory programs you would be on stage nearly as much and I believe that's where you learn the most. I've used so much of what I learned throughout my career.
What is a typical day like for you?
My typical day has changed so much as I've gotten more well known and older. Now I devote the mornings to staying in shape I hike in the hills near my home for 3 miles every morning than I swim at The Rose Bowl Aquatic center after the hike. In the last episode of The Sons of Anarchy I was shot in the head and had to do that fall at least 20 times so staying fit at the age of 64 is very important. My auditions are usually scheduled for the afternoon and I typically get the audition material the day before so I spend a lot of time studying lines for the next day and brushing up material for that afternoon. I have an agent and a manager so I communicate with them throughout the day. If my audition schedule is light I work on audition material for possible future theatre auditions. I generally have 4 to 6 monologues I keep current and work on new material as I age out of the old monologues.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to enter your field?
While you're in school get to know the Theatre community in Philadelphia. There are so many good theatres in town. During your breaks from school volunteer in those theatres and work alongside professionals. Always be doing something to move forward. Learn to sing, play an instrument keep a journal. Get to know as many people as possible who are doing what you want to do and find out how they got there. Go to theatre often.
What is your favorite memory of being a student at WCU and/or in the Department of Theatre and Dance?
My favorite memory of WCU is how close we all were in the Theatre Dept. the community we had was as close to home as you could get in a school setting. Building sets, hanging lights, rehearsing all reinforced the reasons I wanted to be a Theatre Artist. It's a very untraditional and difficult life but I'm very happy I stuck it out I gave up a lot but what I got in return are memories no amount of money can buy.