Moore & Moore |

Moore & Moore

Stewart OksenhornAspen Times Staff Writer
Bob Moore, and daughter, Missy rehearse their parts at the Aspen District Theater February 18, 2004 as Henry and Maggie Saunders for the upcoming Theater in the Park production of "Lend Me a Tenor." The play will be at the Wheeler Opera House February 23-28, 2004. Aspen Times photo/Nick Saucier.

When I ask Bob and Missy, two actors who have done extensive stage work together, if they have any horror stories to share, they look at each other for a moment before shaking their heads no. No horror stories. After they see my look of disappointment, Bob reaches back into his memory and says, yes, there was the time his car hit an elk and he had to play Zus, a character from Archibald MacLeishs JB, in full neck brace.I explain that theyve misunderstood me. Have there been any horror stories between the two of them over the course of the eight plays theyve acted in together, plus the handful of plays in which Bob has directed Missy? There are, but nothing real juicy. Once, when Bob directed a version of the David Ives comedy series All in the Timing, he had to rebuke the cast, Missy included, for not learning their lines. A bad word was used. Another time, the roles were reversed: During last summers Aspen Theatre in the Park production of Twelfth Night, it was Bob who didnt know his lines, leaving Missy to wonder just what was going to come out of his mouth.Such is the power of theater. It can not only express emotion, comment on the times and make us laugh, it is capable of real magic: The stage can keep a father and daughter in constant close quarters and let them emerge eager to get back onstage together, again and again.Bob Moore and his daughter, Missy, have been appearing onstage together since Missy was 5, and performed in a version directed by Wendy Moore, wife and mother respectively to Bob and Missy of Bye Bye Birdie. But that production, at Summit High School, barely counts. So the Moores trace the official start of their shared career to a 1993 production of Wait Until Dark for Breckenridges Backstage Theatre. Since then, the father-daughter team has performed together in Used Car for Sale, Dancing at Lunasa, Summertree and more, appearing on stages in Fort Collins to Summit County to Aspen.The familial collaboration continues when the Moores are featured in the Aspen Theatre in the Park production of Ken Ludwigs Lend Me a Tenor. The production, an encore presentation of last summers hit comedy, plays at the Wheeler Opera House Tuesday through Saturday, Feb. 24-28. It marks the third time the two will appear together for Theatre in the Park, having done Twelfth Night and the childrens play Quack over the last two summers.The cast remains virtually the same as last summers production: David Ledingham as the overblown Italian opera star Tito Il Stupendo Merelli; Neil David Seibel as the meek wannabe tenor, Max; Charisse Layne as Merellis tormented wife, Maria; Bob Moore as the impresario at the Cleveland Opera, Mr. Saunders; and Peggy Mundinger as the local opera diva, Diana. Returning as director is former Theatre in the Park artistic director Alan Osburn.But Natalie Dulaney, who played Maggie, was unable to break from her studies at New York University, opening the door for Missy Moore to play a role she was born to: her fathers daughter. For Maggie is not only Maxs girlfriend, but the offspring of Mr. Saunders.Its almost surreal, said Bob of getting to play a father to his real-life daughter. We were just rehearsing a scene where shes onstage with another man. I knock on the door and interrupt, and the line is, Oh my God, its my father!Apart from being surreal, the Moores agree the situation has also been perfectly comfortable. Its an easy bridge to cross to be onstage with Missy, said Bob. Because shes a consummate professional. But we can also draw on the father-daughter relationship and put that onstage.Missy, in turn, has nothing but praise for her pops. Indeed, when she tells the story of her fathers lack of preparation for last summers Twelfth Night, she makes it an opportunity to marvel at dads talents.I was doing my scene, knowing that I had no idea what was going to come out of his mouth, said the 24-year-old Missy. This is the only guy I know who can ad-lib in verse and iambic pentameter and sound like he knows what hes talking about. It was a true Sanford Meisner moment for the two of us.Bob chalks the experience up to the close relationship: Its a neat thing when you can do that with an actor, when you look in their eyes and see total trust.Both Moores have long histories in the theater. Bob began acting at Loveland High School after a broken arm forced him out of sports. Looking to fill his time, he drifted to the theater. After four years in the Marines during the Vietnam era the big show, as he puts it Moore returned to Colorado with his heart set on acting. His former high school teacher was director at Goldens Heritage Square Opera House, so he had an in.At Heritage Square, Bob met Wendy, a waitress-turned-actor-turned-Bobs wife. The two settled in Summit County, where Wendy became the drama teacher at Summit High School and Bob ran a retail lumberyard while squeezing in as many theater gigs as he could. Six years ago they moved to Carbondale, where Bob works as a handyman/actor and Wendy is a director/high school principal, who contemplates retirement from the latter next year.And the couple raised two daughters. The oldest, 28-year-old Mandy, is a professional dancer and choreographer in Los Angeles. Missy has followed her parents thespian path. Since graduating from the University of Wyoming in 2002, she has gotten steady work, first in Chicago and in and around Denver, where she currently resides.I grew up in the theater world, said Missy, who is experiencing no symptoms of stage burnout. Instead of getting a baby-sitter, [my parents] would bring me to rehearsal. I knew I wanted to be an actor right after Wait Until Dark. I figured it was the only thing I knew how to do, so I might as well.For the Moores, the family that acts together stays together and is happy together. The two are noticeably comfortable and intimate with one another.Performing arts, the arts themselves, have been a part of our household since weve been a household, said Bob, his daughters elbow resting on his knee. Theyre a big part of our lives. Theyre a big part of how weve grown, and grown together.


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