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Alzado: From soap opera to Broadway to off Bardway

Peter Alzado, artistic director of Oregon State Works has a resume a mile long &

from Broadway to television soaps &

so it seemed that responding to the &

Claim to Fame&

spot in the Artist&

s Sketch (see sidebar) would take some time. But the answer was easy for Alzado. His children.

&

They&

re what brought me to Ashland&

s mountains. I wanted them to have nature in their background,&

says Alzado who moved to Tyler Creek in 1985. His son, Ciel, is 20 now, and attends Portland State, and his daughter, Jazmine, is 15. &

My son is pretty creative. ... My daughter is musical and plays the piano. ... They are both beautiful souls.&

About the same time Alzado graduated cum laude in English and theatre from Queens College, he debuted on Broadway in Michael Weller&

s &

Moon Children,&

directed by Alan Schneider. His next Broadway performance was in Michael Bennett&

s (creator, choreographer/director of &

A Chorus Line&

) &

Ballroom.&

&

You have a lot of very talented people on Broadway, so you have that energy, and you have the energy of the audience,&

Alzado says. &

I remember the first time I stepped out on a Broadway stage. The energy was so palpable, it almost felt like it could move you. It becomes part of you.&

&

You can find that kind of skill level and that kind of talent and professionalism just about anywhere, and certainly here in Ashland, but it&

s just that there&

s more in New York,&

Alzado continues. &

I&

d follow actors around, watching them study, rehearse ... trying to figure out the process an actor goes through to become a great actor.&

He performed with many of the major off Broadway theatres as well, and his television credits include featured roles on &

As the World Turns,&

&

One Life to Live,&

&

The Guiding Light&

and &

Ryan&

s Hope.&

&

Soaps are a tremendous amount a work ...&

he says, while admitting there is a certain glamour to it all because you&

re seen on national television. &

When they put me in jail, I would get boxes sent to my agent with candy, cigarettes, poems and pictures,&

he recalls, describing his days as bad boy Roy Barker, who held a hospital hostage on &

As the World Turns.&

&

Soap operas are where you can make real money; off Broadway is where you make no money,&

he quips, adding that like many actors, he took teaching jobs. Alzado taught at Long Island University, the American Music and Dramatic Academy and the University of Rochester, but says acting and directing are his &

main love.&

&

It&

s the humanity, the empathetic response, the insight into how to interpret ... that makes the greatest actors,&

he said. &

That&

s why you see actors that we lose ourselves in &

because of that marvelous humanity.&

Asked about his most satisfying work in the theatre arts, he says it is &

being in a workshop with actors and then bringing it to the stage.&

After moving to Ashland, he acted occasionally but focused on building a house for his family and supporting them by selling cars at Lithia Motors and Butler Ford for 10 years (&

A lot of creative people seem to make good sales people. It&

s that emotional intelligence.&

) He then earned his master of fine arts degree in directing from the University of Montana.

While in Montana with his children, he received an invitation to run the Actor&

s Theatre in Talent. During his five-year tenure as producing artistic director, Actors&

Theatre experienced an artistic and financial renaissance.

Then in October 2002, his long-time dream of building a theater in Ashland began to unfold when Oregon Stage Works was formed, primarily producing the works of developing and master American playwrights. Among his and OSW&

s many accomplishments, Alzado&

s production of Mia McCullough&

s &

Cyber Serenade&

was nominated for a Steinberg Award from the American Critics Association for the best new play produced outside NYC.

With the assistance of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and others, OSW received a permanent home about two years later in the A Street Market Place, largely designed by Richard Hay of the Festival.

&

I am particularly happy with the extraordinary progress of OSW,&

he says. &

I&

d like the theatre to be a home for the artists to apply their skills and for the development of talent so eventually a company could form and there could be compensation for them.&

Another dream of Alzado&

s, to open a youth acting academy, was also realized, at OSW last year when Theatre for Youth opened under the direction of Kate Sullivan. He is looking forward to teaching there this year.