A Bryan Man Lives Life On Stage

By: Sylvia Villarreal Email
By: Sylvia Villarreal Email

He's been on some of the biggest stages in America.

These days, he mostly stays out of the bright lights. This man originally grew up in Bryan, and is now sending actors to Los Angeles and New York from his little stage off of Texas Avenue.

For this installment, we took center stage with Randy Wilson.

"Directing is a craft. Theater is basically a craft. It's my passion. No matter what's going on around me in my life or in the theater, once I get up to start directing, it's a whole different world," says Randy.

From Bryan to Broadway and back to Bryan, Randy Wilson has brought his love of the stage back home."

We sat in on a rehearsal while Wilson was teaching at the Theater Company in Bryan.

"Watch me watch me watch me, y'all are going to meet up right here," explains Randy, directing actors to their places on stage.

Randy Wilson is trying to put the ideas in his head on the stage.

"I try to stand back as a director. I don't lose my cool too often as a director, and some people say that's not true. But depending on the show, I'll be really involved with it," says Randy.

But before Randy was blocking shows in Bryan, he was on the big stage in New York and Broadway. "I got cast in Jesus Christ Superstar. And did that for three to five years on Broadway and all over the country. I played almost every role in Superstar except Judas. I loved playing Ponchus Pilot in Superstar," remembers Randy.

Along with acting in the famous 70s musical hit Jesus Christ Superstar, Randy also made appearances in Cats and the New York Shakespeare Festival, among other roles.

But it was his passion to write and direct that eventually brought Randy back to Bryan.

Randy walked us through the theater and back stage areas during our visit. "This use to be a movie triplex. I'm sure you went to a movie here. We took it and made it a dressing room," says Randy.

Where he and his cast put on top notch shows in the back of what used to be known as Manor East Mall.

"This last movie theater was where I did see Beauty and the Beast many years ago, I store our props here. We have costumer storage in here. Some people watching the show may see some of the gowns they gave us."

And though he may be theatrically trained, Randy welcomes anyone who wants to participate.

"It's not a clique. Nothing is pre-cast. We really try to keep the doors open. Anybody can come watch the auditions. That's a place when people can come, and they may not be actors or singers or dancers, but they want to be involved with the theater. Sets, costumes, lights, we have people lined up to run our soundboards for our shows. So people get a lot of good experience," says Randy.

Though he doesn't get quite the crowds as compared to Broadway, he still knows he'll also have someone in the audience.

We asked Randy why are the fine arts important to this community

"The arts are so important to this area," explains Randy. "I think it's in the water. There's just a great need for it. How many dance schools are there now? I don't know. And theater companies. There's MA Sterling's troupe, and Stage Center is doing well, and Navasota has a wonderful theater, and I think Brenham has two. And it's remarkable the people that come and see the shows really become intelligent theater goers. And they say we went to New York and saw this or I didn't like this production and here's why and why and why. And that's all great because that's what theater's all about, is starting conversation about art."

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