James Koponen -- My Disclaimer
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
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Mon, Jun 25th 2012
No friggin way!

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Performing Arts

All the world's a stage...and I've forgotten my lines.

Theatre Companies

Pleasanton Playhouse (now TVRT) - My primary place of performing since getting into theatre. I've done over 24 shows there. My favorite roles there have been the Billy Bigelow in Carousel and Will Parker in Oklahoma! and Fyedka in Fiddler on the Roof.

DLOC - They treat me well up there. Though it's a trek to get to rehearsals, it's hard to beat performing in the Regional Center for the Arts. If you ever need to lose a few pounds, try rehearsing in the "Firehouse" during the summer. It's so aptly named. I've done 110 in the Shade, Carousel, and The Wizard of OZ there.

Las Positas College - Here's where it all began many years ago. I took about every acting class they had to offer (some several times). After that, I did a number of shows with them. Every now and again, I wander out to the college to audition once more. It's always different with many new faces.

Crosswind's Church - I performed in dozens and dozens of sketches there. The drama director has changed a few times, and many of the actors. It was always a true blessing when we got a script with more than one week to memorize it. Yes sir. A blessing indeed. On occasion, I would direct the skits--much less memorizing that way, but you still have to show up at 7am, Sunday morning.

United Asbury Church - Just one show, many moons ago with a small stage and a small team to act upon it. I had a good time. A lot of heart went into that production of Ah, Wilderness.

CTA - Only one show with them--Peter Pan a while back. I played an Indian dancer. Simple enough part.

Stage One - Crazy for You -- that's the only show I've done with them, but it was certainly one of my top three favorites.

Neighborhood Theatre Group - Beauty and the Beast -- yeah, that was a blast. Terrific way to spend a summer and made some great friends out there. Since then, I've done King David, Prince of Egypt, Children of Eden and Narnia.


Dinner Theatre

Mystery by Design (1998 - 2002)

Fatal Fiesta - My first gig with them (and it paid). I was Manuel Labor, the guitar-playing mariachi. Fun show. After a three-month run, I really enjoyed the short break afterwards.

Maltese Crow Murder - I was Billy Club - the kid with the attitude in this 1940's style dinner theatre show. Fun part and I even got to die. Ah, no lines to worry about after you're dead. Truly, the best parts are the terminal ones.

Win, Place, or Murder! - Okay, this one was tough. Here, I had to portray two characters. And the first one was quite heavyset. I wore a body suit for that one. And I don't think I fooled anyone except of couple of kids who still happened to point out my fake mustache.

Silver Screen - Charlie Toledo was my character's name. This 30's Hollywoodish mystery was an interesting one. I had a few songs to sing as well. We had a few gigs with this show - including the infamous K101 Christmas Party fiasco.

Curse of Alcatraz - Bullwhip, leather coat, boots, old syle hat, and an ancient urn. Those items lended themselves to my favorite character - Indiana James. Actually, the character is Mort Abord - famed 1930's archaeologist. (And it's actually not my favorite one.)

GibsonHouse (2001 - present)

Funeral for a Gangster - A simple little part: Joey Marzetti. The small parts are the fun ones. Few lines to worry about, yet the pay is the same. This was a great show and performed only a mile from my house. Hard not to like this one. I played a dumb gangster who never seems to fully understand his surroundings. No jokes, please.

Weddings Are Murder - Ack! This part was much larger than any of my past roles. And I had props to worry about as well. In this show, I played Robert Wright, also known as Mr. Wright. However, he's the best man since the bride ended up marrying Mr. Wrong, otherwise known as Ambrose. It's a funny show, but too many lines make preparations a nightmare. (Slight change: I play Ambrose now. Got tired of playing Robert Wright.)

Murder by Election - I play Newt Trawl. The sript only gets done around election time. It's a fun role with some great chances to overact.

Murder by Bingo - Great script and now my favorite role. It's Stuart, the whiny bellboy.

Murder on the High Seas - I portray the nervous Frenchman, John Disse. It's a decent part and easy to do.

Murder on the Sea of Love - Joey Carmine, that's who I play. He's a slimy guy on his honeymoon.

Shadow of a Murder - Let me see...I play Jack Grissom. He's a 40's detective.

Murder in Morocco - I started with Noah Braines, but didn't really enjoy playing the character so I switched to Seymohr Behines. It's a lot more fun.


Dance

Las Positas College - That's the place where I learned to tap dance after I failed to get into a few shows. I went from one dance production to another out there. The director was a nice lady and treated me well since I was a guy. She always was kind to any guys willing to join the dance production. Well, except for Brett. She didn't care for his smart mouthing.

Valley Dance Theatre - Can't even remember how many shows I've done with them. Now, they even let me emcee the productions - yeah, bad jokes and all. They're just too nice to say "Shut up and introduce the next piece!"

Pam Gibson Dance Studio - Each year, we'd put together a huge production number. And each year, we'd take 3rd, 4th, or 5th place. Hard to compete with others when they were doing serious tributes to dead dance leaders and terminal illnesses, and we were doing excerpts from West Side Story. It was there that I first coined my "It's not like somebody died or anything" phrase (yeah, someone had died--cruel joke but the laughs and shock were priceless). The studio is now closed - but NOT because of my line. At least I don't think so.


Music

Las Positas College - Here's where I took the Chamber Choir classes, the Jazz choir classes, the Music classes, a piano class and so forth. I had a great time learning music there. It was well worth the time. Jim Heiner made the classes fun and informative. On occasion, I'd even memorize the words for the concerts. Yeah, what can I say? I'm a trooper!

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