|Jeffrey Nelson is stogie-smoking "Pops" -- shown (L to R) with Dave Reinke (Lou), |
Joel Mapes (Stanley), and Michael Rose (Wally).
Jeffrey Nelson may be a newcomer to community theater, but he already has the acting chops to play “Pops” Bailey, an old hand behind the scenes at The 1940s Radio Hour. Jeffrey describes Pops as “complicated, complex, and complacent. He is extremely agitated by the other characters because he feels that they don’t exemplify what it takes to do good radio. He only has respect for one person -- Ann Collier -- whom he is enamored with. Pops is homeless, but only shares this information with Ann, and the others appear to be oblivious to his circumstances.”
Despite his character’s hard luck life, Jeffrey enjoys playing Pops because he is “genuine and what you see is what you get; there’s no gray area with him. He is old enough to put others in their place. I like that he gets to yell at everybody but they don’t get offended. I like that at the end of the show, someone in the cast showed him kindness and love and he received it rather than allow his bitterness to reject it.” Jeffrey sees Pops as a “tortured soul who is trapped in a situation that many people will identify with – unfulfilled dreams. I believe Pops would have been a real radio star if things in his life turned out differently. I want to go for my dreams and not look back when I’m Pops age with regrets.”
While 1940s is his first role on stage, Jeffrey has enthusiastically jumped into theater with both feet: “Community theater is all new to me. I am enjoying getting to know how it works and what it takes to put on a production. It has been an amazing journey getting to know the other cast members and learning how amazingly talented they are. I admit I was very guarded and quiet during rehearsals at first but I have come to respect them as artists and fellow lovers of quality theater. I really want to step into directing more than be on the stage because then you can bring your own vision to life rather than the vision of someone else.” Jeffrey has over twenty years of experience directing and producing shows with students during his stint as a teacher and administrator with Detroit Public Schools. He will soon follow up his Barn debut with a company role in Curtains at Stagecrafters early next year.
The 1940s Radio Hour opens November 30th and runs through December 22nd. Reserved seats for this musical comedy sponsored by Weinstein Jewelers are available now at www.farmingtonplayers.org or at the box office (248) 553-2955.