Patrick Cassidy has joined 5-Star Theatricals – the creative team at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza – as the artistic director! Cassidy is the son of Oscar winner Shirley Jones and Tony winner Jack Cassidy, and has amassed impressive credits as an actor, director, producer and acting teacher.
Cassidy's favorite acting medium is unquestionably theatre. Theatre is perfect for actors in that the thespian is truly in charge of the performance. “You do the show from beginning to end. It's your baby,” he says. “And for me, there's the immediate response with the audience.”
The show The Music Man has a special place in Patrick's heart. He was actually conceived while his mother was playing Marian Paroo in the movie version. His favorite role is definitely Harold Hill. In high school Patrick dreamed of playing in the NFL but was sidelined when he broke his collarbone his senior year. While healing, he decided to try out for – guess what? – The Music Man, which was being done as the spring musical! He got cast and was immediately bit by the theatre bug. “That was my entrance into doing this for a career,” he says. “When I finally reached the right age to play Harold Hill I felt like it had all come full circle.”
Patrick's favorite movie role is as Howard in the film Longtime Companion. It was the first feature film of the 1990s that dealt with the AIDS epidemic and it's emotional toll. This movie featured an incredible set of actors including Mary-Louise Parker, Campbell Scott, Dermot Mulroney, John Dossett and Bruce Davison – who actually got an Academy Award nomination for the film. “We knew we were doing something groundbreaking,” Patrick says. “It's rare that you get to do a part where it's wonderful to work on and you do something that actually changes the way movies are done. So I'm very proud of that.”
Patrick's career has evolved into working as a director and as an acting teacher. He fell in love with teaching simply because he wanted to give back. He grew into teaching and directing at universities.
Meanwhile in the professional world he was working in Las Vegas at the Wynn Hotel as resident director for Showstoppers – a show that was all about big Broadway musical numbers. He was also the acting coach for the aquatic production show Le Rêve. He then produced and starred in a show for his mom called “Have You Met Miss Jones?” He then did a three week tour of “Shirley Jones Remembers the Music Man” a hybrid of the actual show with Shirley narrating her experience working on the movie. “As an actor it's about you,” he says. “But when you become a teacher or a director it's about them, as a director it's about the whole cast and all the elements that go into doing the show. And as a teacher it's about the student and giving your knowledge and your expertise to somebody else and watching them flourish.”
5-Star Theatricals does three shows a season. The final show in production this season is Beauty and the Beast, which runs through July 29. The new season will begin in the fall and includes Shrek, Matilda the Musical and West Side Story. These Broadway-esque shows feature live orchestras, equity actors and all of the set and costume designs come from either Broadway or national tours.
Patrick performed again with his mom in a holiday Christmas show for 5-Star, which was then called Cabrillo Music Theatre at the Kavli Theatre in Thousand Oaks. He also performed in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as the Pharaoh last fall. Soon after, he got involved with the creative team as a member of the theatre's advisory board. He was then approached to become the artistic director. He knew it was a wonderful opportunity as well as a way to reach out to the community. As Patrick continues to go forward as an artistic director, he'll be a big part of the productions and eventually will put a whole season of shows together. “Our motto is Broadway in Your Backyard,” he says. “This is a new journey that I will evolve into as I go along. It's an incredible opportunity and I am so thankful for it.”
For more information on 5-Star Theatricals log onto 5startheatricals.com