Posted: February 03, 2008
Prison Break Blog
Prison Break has been such a success, many people
I've met have been interested in what it's like to be an actor.
They are asking me how I got started, what I've done and what
it's like to works as an actor. I thought you might be
I have come to believe in something I call "Destiny." There are
many other names for it. In "Destiny" I mean there are certain
events that seem unrelated that have drawn me toward and to:
where/who/what I am today. I have learned that I should never
make plans because my plans rarely if ever work out and the
plans that Destiny chooses for me are much more interesting and
fulfilling than any that I can come up with. Serendipity's a
good name for it, too.
I never wanted to be an actor. It's not something I consciously
decided to be. I always envied people who knew what they wanted
to do when they where ten! Not my story. I was interested in
everything. I always loved to pretend, or as my parents called
it "lie." I grew up playing cops and robbers, cowboys and
Indians, "army" and all that stuff. My family wasn't well off so my
brother, sisters and I would play with what we could find or
make. We made a soapbox car out of an old Big Wheel, some
plywood, and 2x4s and called it the "X-15". We raced that thing
down a hill the size of Everest ? or so we thought ? complete
with a parachute as an air break, because our neighbors got
tired of our 2x4 drag break tearing up their turf. We'd put on
plays and even did a circus or two, complete with cream pies and
So we made or own fun. I still love to do that.
I always loved music and singing. When I was growing up my Dad
was an Episcopal priest (Episcopal priests can marry), and he
had a great singing voice. I loved to watch and listen to him in
the processional as he sung and walked into the church with the
clergy and the choir ? robes flowing and organ crowing.
We drove around in the 60s and 70s in a VW bus with no radio and
the only tunes we had where the ones he and our Mom taught us
and we would sing ourselves down the highway.
Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, our next-door neighbor was Dr.
Robert Haley and he too has an eclectic personality. He turned
me onto classical music, blue grass and opera as well as a
positive attitude, which all take practice as I've come to find
out. Dr. Haley also designed the 2x4 drag break for the X-15.
So, I was and am fascinated by many things. Our family moved to
Tulsa, Oklahoma, and I finished high school there. After
graduation I decided that I better work a year or two before I
tried college and began working first at a fence company (worst
job I ever had) putting the points on 1x4s all day long, four at
a time. Then, I worked at a bank in the stock room handing out
pens, paper and envelopes. Eventually, I ended up working at St.
John Medical Center in Tulsa as a surgical orderly (best job I
ever had) and began going to The University of Tulsa, studying
Pre-med. That didn't last long. I kept the hospital job and
became an "undeclared" major at T.U. and took lots of different
classes, including singing lessons. I was singing in the choir
at St. Antony's Church in Tulsa and thought some singing lessons
might help (Boy, did I need them!). After a year or so, my voice
teacher, Jane Carmichael, asked if I would like to audition for
the musical. I did and I got the part of Miles Glorious in A
Funny Thing Happened on the Way Home from the Forum. I shook
like a leaf in every performance. I loved it. I got to sing and
pretend I was a Roman soldier! It doesn't get much better than
that. I was very impressed by the
Director, Nancy Vunovich, and after the run was over,
I found myself taking acting classes and ended up graduating
with a BFA in Acting.
So serendipity hooked me up with inspired people like Jane
Carmichael and Nancy Vunovich who inspired me to become
interested in the theatre and especially musical theatre,
something I never imagined myself doing. Dr. David Cook at T.U.
was also an inspiration and a great help to me.
After graduating from college, I thought, "What am I going to do
now? I got an acting degree?" I don't think there is any more
unmarketable degree I could have gotten ? maybe a degree in
History or English Literature? I could have gone to law school I
guess, but I decided I would get a Masters in Fine Arts in
theater. That way, if I couldn't get an acting job, then at
least I could teach at a university. You can tell I was
interested in being rich!
Our Thanks To:
Interesting Webb song
(posted by Robert Beasley on May 30, 2007 at
I've come across a
couple of interesting Webb songs covered, one national
and the other of some local artists, that are also of
While browsing through the Jazz section of a local music
store here in Tulsa, I was surprised to find a CD
(import) of "The Real Great Escape" by guitarist Larry
Coryell, originally released in 1973.
Most Webb fans know that Coryell guested on Jimmy's "And
So: On" album.
Coryell does "All My Love's Laughter" and "P.F. Sloan"
on this C.D.
Both are credible performances, although Coryell's
vocals are certainly no match for his imaginative guitar
More recently, while on my way to the bank, I stopped at
an Estate sale and found a local recording that I never
knew existed, "Nancy and the
recorded by J. Paschal Twyman, the President of the
University of Tulsa from 1968 to 1989, and
Nancy Vunovich, who was
the chairwoman of the University of Tulsa's theater
department from 1970-1983 and 1986-1989.
The duo recorded Webb's "By The Time I Get to Phoenix."
Why is this local recording of any interest?
Because in October of 1989, The University of Tulsa
theater department did an adaptation of Ray Bradbury's
book "Dandelion Wine" with the musical score written by
I believe that Vunovich
directed the play and much to my surprise, Jimmy
appeared on opening night.
I couldn't find a release date on "Nancy
and the President", so I don't know if the album
was released before or after the staging of "Dandelion
The record doesn't have a label but was recorded at ITTI
studios here in Tulsa, and was engineered by Sonny Gray,
a well known local musician