Meet the Team of Chess – John Anderson is the Assistant Stage Manager!

john andersonWhat is your role on the production?  I am the Assistant Stage Manager for Chess. That means, during the performances, I’ll be doing work behind the curtains, Wizard of Oz style (but with much less authority, Cowardly Lion style). You might even see me briefly come on stage, when the lights go down, helping the cast change the set for the next scene.

What is your background in theatre? At Walterdale? I was previously the Assistant Stage Manager on Walterdale’s production of Jenny’s Story. That was a great experience, and I had a lot of fun with the cast and crew. So far, Chess is shaping up to be just as fun.

What brought you out for this show? What drew you to it? If I could, I’d volunteer to participate in every Walterdale show, but, unfortunately, the majority of the season takes place at the same time as basketball season. Like Jenny’s Story, Chess is on stage in the summertime—the off-season for all us hardwood ballers—so volunteering for the summer shows is my chance to re-connect with the theatre community that I have to miss for most of the year.

Why do you think audiences should come see this show? What do you think they will take away from it? For one, the cast. I mean, I’ve been watching these guys almost every night, and I can tell you, you’re going to feel some real feels at this show. Also, I think the audience will really enjoy the song-and-dance element of this show. The music has a lot of heart to it, and our talented cast will be doing these songs justice. You’ll be humming some of these songs at intermission, and at work the next day. The script is nothing to sneeze at either. I’ve found in the past that the story for some musicals tends to just be cliché fluff that fills the air between songs, but not with Chess. I read the script the other week, and was surprised by how subtle and thoughtful its story could be, particularly the ending, which will satisfy your Entertain-Me-Now!! wants, as well as provoke some real discussion, as your group gets a post-play drink. At the end of the day, it’s an unusually thoughtful plot for a musical that’s full of great songs, performed by an ensemble that’s willing and able to give you their all. That’s real entertainment, right there. What more could you want?

Chess is a Board Game… What’s your favorite Board Game? Why? Got any funny game-playing stories? I don’t think Jenga really counts as a board game, so I’ll have to give the highly coveted Favorite-Board-Game award to Chess. My dad taught me the game, when I was six, and I used to play it often at lunchtime in my elementary daycare. Once, in an impressive campaign of skill and strategy, I took home third place in my age group at a city tournament (Reluctant real life admission: there were only four kids in my age group at the tournament, and I think the fourth kid went home sick halfway through… Whatever, though).

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