B Street interns take off their training wheels
Did you notice? All four of the performers in the B Street Theatre’s current comedy Jack Goes Boating (which closes September 7) are former interns with that company who’ve turned professional. Speaks well of the training, no?
Specifically, we’re talking about: Tara Sissom, an intern cast member in last December’s Make Someone Happy; Peter Story, an intern about eight years ago, who’s returned in multiple B Street shows, as well as two at the Sacramento Theater Company; Dana Brooke, an intern nine years ago, who’s returned again and again; and John Lamb (who’s been with B Street for a decade, but served as an “apprentice” before the current intern program was launched).
We asked Brooke how she got involved in the intern program. In 1999, she was thinking of attending graduate school, but she heard about the program in Sacramento. “It sounded like a lot of hard work, and hopefully some professional roles—though that wasn’t a guaranteed given,” she said. “The idea was to get a lot of experience and learn about running a regional theater. And at that point in my career, I was eager to know a lot about all aspects of the theater. So I thought, let me run myself ragged for a while. And it turned out better than I could have hoped.”
Brook was in several shows during her intern year and turned professional when her internship was up. She now lives in New York and typically returns to Sacramento for a B Street show once or twice a year, often in a summer comedy, sometimes an original Christmas show.
Another route to professional status runs through grad school. Katie Rubin came up through the Master of Fine Arts program at UC Davis. There, she worked on creating a vehicle that would display her talents—a one-woman, semi-autobiographical show called Insides Out!, about a young woman working to tame her impulses and addictions. “I’ve got a strong rebel archetype,” Rubin admitted. “I’m just a wild chick, so I related to those wild women [in the show].”
Peggy Shannon, artistic director at the Sacramento Theatre Company (and also a professor in the theater department at UC Davis), saw Insides Out! and engaged Rubin for a run at STC, which began right after she’d completed her MFA. The show proved popular and enjoyed a second run at Sacramento’s intimate Geery Theater.
That exposure, in turn, led to Rubin getting roles at the B Street Theatre and Foothill Theatre Company.
“My goal was to get my Equity card and open up some things, and that’s what the show did,” Rubin said. She’s now working on a second solo piece, titled Indecision Collision.
Of course, several veterans on the local theater scene have come up through the academic route over the years. Stephanie Gularte, artistic director at Capital Stage; and the late Myrtle Stephens, long associated with Celebration Arts, are among the local artists who studied at Sacramento State, while Carolyn Howarth, artistic director at Foothill Theatre Company; and Peter Mohrmann, managing director at Capital Stage, were students at UC Davis back in the day.