The Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville’s new artistic director is taking a hands-on approach to his new post.
“I want to be in the theater almost nightly so I can talk to our audiences,” said Dan Schultz, adding that he’s excited to be taking the reins of the Oceano theater company, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary. “There’s a great deal of goodwill toward the Melodrama in the community.”
Schultz, 37, took over as artistic director in June, replacing interim Artistic Director Eric Hoit. Before that, Nova Cunningham held the post from the spring of 2011 through November 2014.
Schultz, who grew up in Phoenix, studied theater at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo. After earning a master of fine arts degree in acting at Florida State University in Sarasota, Fla., he spent five years in New York City. While in New York, he started a theater company, taxdeductible theatre, and a short play festival, The Dare Project.
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Afterward, he taught theater at Stephens College, led that school’s Summer Theatre Institute and served as artistic director of Okoboji Summer Theatre in Iowa.
“I adore teaching … but I really missed being around the professional theater all the time,” said Schultz, who holds a master’s degree in strategic leadership from Stephens College. “When this (Melodrama) job came available, it seemed like a really good use of my skill set.”
“I love making people laugh,” he added. “It’s great to sit down and check your worries at the door and enjoy yourself.”
Schultz said his motto in regard to the Melodrama is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
“I’m really looking forward to strengthening what this place already does so well,” he said, namely fun, family- friendly entertainment for “ages 9 to 90.”
He’s planning a new season that will include a mix of familiar titles and lesser-known comedies and melodramas.
The Melodrama’s latest show, the horse racing performance “A Four-Legged Fortune,” opened July 16 and will run through Sept. 20.
For more information, call 489-2499 or visit www.americanmelodrama.com.