Nearing a half-century in the arts, CHARLES LEEDER, is surely one of the wildest things to be seen in UVX. He was first reviewed in 5-Star as playing a Werewolf in a Halloween night of one-acts … and he did it without make-up.
OuterStage applauds lively arts veterans like Charles.
Tell us about yourself as an actor.
I have been in show business for forty-six years.
I started out playing mostly adult roles. I have extensive experience in Musicals having played everything from Fagin in Oliver and Doolittle in My Fair Lady as well as Luther Billis in South Pacific, the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz and everything in between. I also have extensive Shakespeare experience. Buckingham in Richard the 3rd, Duke of York in Richard the Second, Falstaff in Henry Four Parts One and Two, Gremio in Taming of the Shrew, Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet and many others. Throughout my career I have always sincerely believed in trying new things. I was one of three people in 1988 to write an audience participation murder mystery: A Catered Affair, which went on to become the longest running show in the History of New Hope Pennsylvania, and in which I appeared as one of the characters for twenty of the sixty weeks that it was in production. This in turn led to two years of writing for the television program Meadowlands Marquee, for PBS in which I appeared as the character: “Charlie, The Answer Man.” The television show make great use of the technical proficiency at the time. I have also believe sincerely in acting in New Works, this has been a commitment for my entire life. I originated the role of Danny in Wintertime for Bristol Riverside Theatre, and am currently signed on to originate the role of Rusty in Jonathan Wallace’s new play: Brooklyn of Light. I have additionally had careers in the Music Business playing guitar and composing for bands including Midnight Sun, White Rock and most recently Joy and the Toys. I was generally the administrator, or the musical arranger for these bands.
How was it to be part of a new “intermersive” experience. What’s different about it? Is this the wave of the future?
The natural evolution of technical expertise has already led to massive leaps forward in entertainment. The latest Susan Sontag biography and Al Gore’s powerpoint presentations regarding the environment have showed us these realities. I would hope that a show that takes place on the screen, on the stage and even in the lobby is the next step forward. Just as the audience participation murder mystery was a natural evolutionary step in theatrical discourse the Lux production will be the next evolutionary stage. These guys are definitely looking to advance into the market of video game enthusiast the potential of modern viewership that has been a recently uncharted territory. Will the imagination of this audience group, who are attending the Lux production in favor of remaining in the comforts of their own homes, be captured and duplicated as subsequent attendance in a Lux show? This remains a question to be answered. I personally could not be more overjoyed to find out!
How do you imagine UVX will change the face of independent theater… or will it?
I actually think it already has. It has a cohesive story line and well defined characters. Pieces may need to evolve, technical details may need to be resolved, but the rudimentary formulation of the work itself stands upon it’s own. I think subsequent productions will tell us a great deal more about where Lux will go and how it will evolve.
What’s next for you?
I am opening November 6 at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre in Brooklyn of Light. I fully intend to continue to make myself as available as possible for future opportunities with Lux should they arise. This is clearly the most exciting work of theatre, both on the stage and in the improvisational community, that I have done in quite some time. I am extremely enthusiastic about the future of this project!