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Member Spotlight: John Shrader
Friday, July 1, 2016 at 8:27am

 

John Shrader has long been a fan of the arts.  He enjoys music in all of its forms ROCK AND ROLL, Old Country and Classical, (though he feels some things now called music are causing him to hear his father say “that isn’t music”).  He likes live performances of music and theater because they are raw, fluid, even unpredictable and alive.  Live theater is practiced, but unpolished by editing.  So, he indulges in live theater.  He and his wife Susan have attended many performances of opera, symphony and plays.  Sneaky devil used “Madame Butterfly” as his first date to impress her.  “It worked better than “do you want to dance?””
 
Anyway, time ticks on and John and Susan are attending a local play, the director of which was a member of a networking group he attends.  John says to the director, “you know, I’ve thought about doing that.”  The director says, “try outs for the next play are this weekend.  Come on out Sunday or Monday.”  Long story short, John got his first role at 47years of age as “Ben” in Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys”.  489 lines and a bout with the flu (which gave him a week to study) later, the cast put on 9 shows. 
John enjoyed that so much, that he has put his name in the hat four more times.  Last year against his wife’s better judgement, he admits he is rhythm challenged, he tried out for a musical called “A Grand Night for Singing”, which was a collage of Rogers & Hammerstein tunes.  His vita now includes roles in “Moon Over Buffalo” by Ken Ludwig, “Rumours” and most recently he played Felix Unger in “The Odd Couple”, both written by Neil Simon. 
 
He found that hearing others laughter from the stage was worth the risk of embarrassment.  “You study like you wish you had in school.  Practice, study, practice, study, practice.  “Watching the actors develop their character is interesting.  You get a feel about the person you are portraying over time studying his role, and acting the emotions.  Then you impart your interpretation of the character with little nuances and over the top expression and the character comes to life.  When the lights go up, you walk on and do it.  It’s a lot of work yes, but it is fun.”  He says he likes roles in comedies best, “there’s nothing like hearing the audience laugh at what has just happened.  And when you have to delay your next line, because they haven’t stopped laughing yet, you know you’ve done something special.  Laughter really is good for you.  I like delivering that kind of medicine.  This is a hoot.” 
He hasn't had opportunity to perform in a drama.  Another comfort zone to break out of…
Lastly he encourages, “acting may or may not be your thing, but you have a thing or two.  Follow your fancy once in a while, though it may be scary, it may light a spark in you.  Better to have done than to have wished you had.”