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INTERVIEW: Playwright And Actor Wade Dooley Talks About "Wednesdays With Wade," His Virtual Bay Street Workshop

T.J. Clemente

Wade Dooley and Tovah Feldshuh in The Prompter. (Courtesy Photo)

Interviewing actor and playwright Wade Dooley has the electricity of a live theater performance. He just has a certain something that gets your attention. He is positively thrilled about his new online Bay Street class titled, Wednesdays With Wade.

Dooley is known amongst East End theater-goers as the creator and star of the Bay Street produced play, The Prompter. The production won both Dooley and Tovah Feldshuh, who co-starred, rave reviews from critics. Now, with the weekly workshop, Dooley is empowering participants to craft their real life stories into a narrative form that can resonate with the world!

I spoke with Dooley about the genesis of Wednesdays with Wade. He said he was aware of the many educational programs Bay Street Theater has had over the years. So with the pandemic, he reached out to help. Dooley said, "My program is a way for Bay Street to be connected to the community and provide creative services to their patrons. A lot of the people in my class are people who saw The Prompters - either in the readings we did the year prior or in the full production."

The actor and playwright is grateful to be able to connect with students through Wednesdays with Wade. He relayed, "It has really been a wonderful thing. This virus has hit my industry, being an actor, really hard and it doesn't look like anything is going to happen live until the new year. So this program has really been a highlight for me every week because I get to connect with 17 people who have some connection with Bay Street and we get to meet for an hour and be creative!"

The class is not just a once a week, hour-long "Zoom" experience. Dooley explained, "I also make time with individual students so we can discuss their projects, their progress one on one. I have been reading a lot because they all send me things to read, and give an opinion on. I even have people in the class who never have written anything before - and then I have people who are journalists."

Dooley went on to explain that originally the class was to focus on how "you can take stories from your life and adapt them into a narrative form. Some people in the class are writing memoirs for their children and grandchildren and other people are writing plays and some people are writing essays. It's various mediums and that's what keeps it fun."

Dooley resides in Jackson Heights, Queens. His favorite writing credits include Broadway Bares: Rock Hard, On Demand, and Strip U with co-writer Hunter Bell, Stars in the Alley with host Tituss Burgess, The Diary of a Dancer (2010 DC Fringe Fest). Dooley is also an alumnus of Running Deer Theatre Lab, Goodspeed's Johnny Mercer Writers Colony, and Finger Lake's Musical Theatre Festival's The PiTCH.

As an actor, some of his credits include theatre: NEWSical The Musical (Off-Broadway), The Awesome 80s Prom (Off-Broadway), La Cage Aux Folles (Goodspeed), The Roar of the Greasepaint the Smell of the Crowd (Goodspeed), Jersey Boys (Tour), The Trip to Bountiful, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular; film: The Last Five Years. He is a graduate of Bradley University.

For more information about Bay Street programming, visit www.baystreet.org.

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