ShareThis Page
News

Greensburg Civic Theatre welcomes new director

| Friday, Jan. 4, 2002

When the stage door opened for Chuck Penick of Monroeville, he halfheartedly entered and embarked on a career that took him from dancing and acting to the director's chair.

As director of the Greensburg Civic Theatre's production of "Never Too Late," Penick will have auditions at 7 p.m. Monday at the Greensburg Garden and Civic Center, Old Salem Road, Greensburg. Performances of the light comedy are scheduled for March 8, 9, and 10.

A director since 1987, "Never Too Late" will mark Penick's first time working at the Greensburg theater.

"I started in theater in the early 1980s," Penick says. "I graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in communications and journalism, and I couldn't find a job. Then I got a call from a friend in the theater who needed dancers for a show. I agreed reluctantly."

To his surprise, Penick liked every aspect of theater work. He began taking acting classes at the now-defunct Pittsburgh Theater School.

"I had beginner's luck and got cast in the first few shows I auditioned for," he says. "Then, I moved into directing at the Robert Morris Colonial Theater in Moon Township."

The role of director seemed right to Penick. Through the years, he has directed shows at many theaters, including the McKeesport Little Theater, the Gemini Theater in Point Breeze and the now-defunct Sherwood Forest Theater. He returned to school and received a masters in theater arts with a focus on directing from the University of Pittsburgh. It was, Penick says, the best decision he ever made.

"The job of directing is competitive, but not as competitive at acting. Nothing is as competitive as acting," he says. "As a director, I'll go to a theater that calls and asks me to direct. If they are doing something that appeals to me, then I'll accept the job."

The comedy "Never Too Late" holds that certain appeal for Penick. He portrayed the son-in-law, Charlie, several years ago for Tom Madden Productions in Pittsburgh.

"Charlie's a bit of a dim bulb," Penick says. "He's a great deal of fun."

"Never Too Late" opened on Broadway in the early 1960s. It is the story of a middle-age couple who discover the wife is pregnant. The event turns the family into a tizzy.

"The couple's daughter and son-in-law have been trying to get pregnant, but unsuccessfully," Penick says. "It is a comedy with some serious undercurrents, yet it's handled in a light way. That's why I like it. The play is not dated. It's still a situation that can happen today. It's still relevant."

When Penick learned the Greensburg Civic Theatre was doing "Never Too Late," he contacted them and told the board of directors he was interested in directing the show.

"Because I was in the play, I always said I wanted to direct it," he says.

Now that Penick has the opportunity, he's looking for just the right actors.

"Basically, I'm looking for actors who are good with comedy. I don't want people who will play it superficially," Penick says. "I want people who will bring some depth to the characters. If you just play it silly, then you're missing or overlooking a lot in the play."

Actors who are interested in auditioning for "Never Too Late" should come with a prepared monologue.

"I can tell more from their acting if they bring something they're comfortable with," Penick says. "It's the kind of play you can have a lot of fun working on.

"The show is very warm, very charming with some physical comedy, some slapstick that I really enjoy directing. And there's that serious side. That's about as much as you can expect from any script. I can't wait to begin."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me