ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) — If you’ve gone to see a play or musical at Geva Theatre Center, there’s a good chance you either saw Mark Cuddy on stage or the product of his directing.
In his 24 years as artistic director there, he’s starred in and directed dozens of productions.
He’s also helped to guide the center’s multi-million dollar renovation and other major projects.
Next month, he’ll star in a musical has he prepares to mark the 25-year milestone at Geva.
Before all this happens, Cuddy sat down with Adam to talk about his time here in Rochester.
Adam: Before we talk about the past let’s talk about the present. The current production, La Cage aux Folles, hows that going for you?
Cuddy: We’ve had a ball. We have incredibly talented people and then me… but it’s some of the best singers and dancers and actors our of New York City and it’s spectacular scenery and costumes, and wigs, there are 50 wigs… it’s a joy, doing a musical is a joy. And this one has a lot of heart and that’s why I’ve loved the story for decades.
Adam: How do you keep a theater in a mid-sized city flourishing and putting on shows like La Cage aux Folles?
Cuddy: We have one of the largest subscription bases in the country. We have a tremendous amount of loyalty from our community and I think we’re transparent. There’s ups and downs, there’s shows that don’t go as well as other shows, but we’re honest about that and try not to run away from conversation. We’re in it together and It think people get a sense that we’re in it together.
Adam: 25 years here more, than 50s shows here. Do you measure the years based on the shows?
Cuddy: No, I could not tell you what our season was three years ago, or two years ago. Frankly I mark time with my family, my children. I can remember that. I remember what they’re doing. They both got out of school, they’re both grown now, but we raised our two boys here and that was, that was one of the reasons I stayed such a long time, here because we love Rochester and we love bringing up our kids here, but it also allowed me understand Rochester and the community … I think I got a good sense of what it’s like to be here and I think that helps with the season planning.
Adam: My last question. You were saying earlier that you find yourself taking stock after a quarter of a century…
Cuddy: There was at least one show a year that I think altered our audiences minds, or hearts or souls in a way that they just they wouldn’t have had that experience unless they had come to Geva Theatre Center.