One of the fun things about community theatre is the wide range of people that come and get involved in it. People are constantly coming in and out of the theatre world. Theatre presents an easy opportunity for people to develop a small amount of talent into a much larger one. One recent entrant into the Columbia, Missouri community theatre scene who once thought “Hey, I can do that” is Leslie Stock.
Who are you?
I’m Leslie Stock, I’m originally from northwest Illinois but I now live just south of Wooldridge, Missouri, with my husband, Mark, and our 4 children. I am co-director of operations of our company, otherwise known as a stay at home mother.
What originally got you involved in theatre?
My parents saw that I had a flair for the theater when I would do Mae West impersonations for their friends when they would come over and singing show tunes around the house. I attended a summer children’s theatre in Illinois for multiple summers. My parents were integral in nurturing my love of the theater. We attended productions at the various local community theaters.
What got you involved in theater in Columbia? What has been the best thing about it?
My husband and I attended Camelot last summer at Maplewood Barn Theater. While perusing the show program I saw an ad for auditions at Columbia Entertainment Company for their upcoming production of Jesus Christ Superstar. It had been some time since I had been able to be a part of a theater production and Jesus Christ Superstar is one of my favorites. Mark and I did some talking and I decided to audition.
I am so glad that I did. Through auditioning and being a part of the Jesus Christ Superstar cast I have met wonderful people who share the same love for theater and music as I do. The chance to come together with so many different people, who I probably would not meet otherwise, and bring to stage productions from wonderful playwrights & composers is quite a heady feeling.
What is it about Columbia’s theater scene that makes it unique?
I think what makes the Columbia theater scene unique is the wide variety of community theater production companies. There are some large companies and then some smaller groups. Each one is unique in the type of productions they produce. You can find traditional stages to black box theaters. I recently saw a production of “Superior Doughnuts” put on by Independent Actors Theatre (IAT) at The Muse Cafe & Gallery, using the cafe as the stage. In addition to the community theaters in the area there are the collegiate and high school theaters that do wonderful, amazing productions.
What is your current project?
My current project is “The Odd Couple” (female version) by Neil Simon at Maplewood Barn Community Theater. I am playing the role of “Vera” one of Olive and Florence’s friends. Olive and Florence are the female odd couple. Vera marches to the beat of a different drummer. Sweet, caring but not always the sharpest knife in the drawer. She is married to Harry, who runs a kosher deli in New York. Vera has been a delightful role to develop and bring to the stage.
Describe the time and effort you’ve put in this role?
Our first rehearsal was two months ago in early April. We’ve been rehearsing 5 days a week most weeks. In the beginning we would rehearse for two hours in the evening. As we get closer to our opening night, June 10, our rehearsals do run longer. This does mean many evenings away from home but is necessary to bring a show to the stage. In addition to the hours of rehearsals myself and the other cast members have spent a great deal of time memorizing our lines and developing our characters at home.
Why should people see The Odd Couple?
This is a wonderful play by Neil Simon. Smart and funny. The cast and crew have worked hard to bring this play to the stage and they will be entertained. Oscar and Felix have nothing on Olive and Florence. Join us and see how this dysfunctional relationship struggles to function. Meet their off the wall friends: stylish Sylvie, Mickey the cop, sweet but slightly off Vera (played by me!) and Renee who is always on the look out for a cute, single doctor. Watch as Olive introduces Florence to her upstairs neighbor from Spain – the Consuela brothers.
Maplewood Barn Theater is a unique setting. First it is set outside with the sky as our ceiling and the audience brings their own seating. In addition to that the audience is encouraged to bring a picnic, snacks or something to drink to enjoy while watching the play. People will have a great time and I encourage them to come out to Maplewood Barn Theater!
The “Odd Couple” runs June 10-12, 17-19, 24-26. The box office opens at 7pm, show starts at 8pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and children.