Those who’ve gotten to know Chris Shea in recent years should have guessed from his e-mail address that he’d be leaving us one of these days. It’s “firstname.lastname@example.org”
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In our ongoing series of Sunday Chats, arts writer Meredith Moss gets up-close-and-personal with the creative individuals who are making an impact in the arts—dancers, singers, actors, directors, visual artists and more.
HOW TO GO:
What: Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” presented by Free Shakespeare! Produced by Chris Shea and Directed by Travis J. Cook.
When: 7 p.m. on designated evenings from July 18-August 11. Each performance lasts 90 minutes with no intermission.
Admission: Free. Donations accepted following the show.
Bring: A blanket, chair, and a picnic.
Schedule of locations:
July 18 & 25: Rosewood Arts Center, Kettering, 2655 Olson Dr, Kettering ( Near the intersection of Olson Dr. and Braddock St.)
July 19-21: ArtStreet Amphitheater, University of Dayton, 300 College Park ( intersection of Kiefaber and Lawnview)
July 26-28: Newcom Founders Park, 137 Brown St, Oregon District (corner of Green and Brown, Dayton.
Aug 1 & 8: Blommel Park, Corner of Jay and Oak, South Park, Dayton
Aug 2-4: Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark, 1301 E Siebenthaler Ave, Dayton
Aug 9-11: Antioch College Amphitheater, Corry St, approx. 1/4 mile south of the Glen Helen entrance, Yellow Springs
More information is available at https://www.facebook.com/spreadthewords.
What Others Say About Him:
“Chris is the most fearless performer I’ve ever known. I was his first acting teacher and even in those days his approach to any task was energized and enthusiastic. He will try anything and because of that quality he is a director’s dream.”
Scott Stoney, Founding Resident Artist – The Human Race Theatre Company
“Chris rarely meets a stranger, has masterfully assimilated to the local arts scene and sees potential in other people they didn’t know they had. For the last three seasons I’ve been in Free Shakespeare productions. I’d never acted before, but Chris said, “Jason, you’d be good at this” and with his guidance and patience, turns out he’s right.
Since I found out he was leaving I tell him: “Thanks for following your dream, man, what about the rest of us?” But there’s truth in my sarcasm; Dayton’s going to have a void to fill.”
Jason Antonick, Huffman Historic District
“It has been my pleasure to work with Chris through education and outreach with Cityfolk and as a participant in one of the many wonderful Free Shakespeare activities, Shakespeare for Life.
Chris has a remarkable energy: contagious, affirming and restorative. In other words, he shares his charisma, he affirms those he shares with and in the process offers a little healing for what ails you. For real. On stage, he is strong and engaging. His sensitivity, in role or out, is genuine. I will miss having him close in proximity, but will always know him close in my heart!”
Jean Howat Berry, Cityfolk
“Chris served as an adjunct at Stivers this year and really strengthened our department’s classical theatre skills. Initially he was like spinach to the 8th-12th graders, who were further pushed out of their comfort zones and continually challenged.
By the end of the year EVERY single student was amazed at their huge success with the classical material and Chris made a swift transition from spinach to chocolate cake! We will miss his unique style, humor and sheer passion for theatre.”
Angela Tomaselli, Stivers School for the Arts, Theatre Department.
“In the few years I have known Chris, he has so enriched and shaped my life that I cannot imagine how I could have filled my days with anything else of comparable quality. I initially became aware of him when I attended the first Free Shakespeare production, which he created and directed and in which he played the role of Hamlet. I was so impressed with this contribution to our community that I returned again and again to see subsequent performances.
Then when auditions were held for A Midsummer Night’s Dream the following year, I decided to try for a role and was overjoyed to become part of the cast. The experience was a major turning point for me. In contrast to much of the rest of the cast, who were university theater students and/or seasoned performers, this was the first time I had acted on a stage in fifty years.
I have also seen Chris both act and sing in other works and marveled at his versatility. But what is especially meaningful to me is what a good friend he has become. Whenever we are out together anywhere in the Dayton area, Chris is invariably acquainted with a majority of the people we encounter. Yet he always gives me his genuine attention and makes me feel totally a part of the group. And I have had the pleasure of seeing him treat others in the same very personal way. Chris has also been the catalyst for bringing into my life some of the most amazingly talented young men I have ever known. His leaving will bring to an end one of the richest and happiest chapter of my long life.”
Bill Styles, Kettering, age 80