• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Managing director gets back onstage in ‘Translations’

TONY DEL GROSSO describes his character as “nothing like me,” but says, “He’s a ton of fun to play,” because Doalty gives him “a chance to try something new.” (Photo by Bob Vlach)

Tony Del Grosso says he didn’t pursue the role of Doalty in Woodford Theatre’s “Translations” until artistic director Trish Clark urged him to audition. Director Joe Ferrell liked what he saw and Del Grosso was back onstage, where audiences can see him starting Friday night. “I did miss (acting) quite a bit,” says Del Grosso, who has not been onstage since playing a small role (and working as stage manager) in Woodford Theatre’s “Arsenic & Old Lace” in September 2015. Because of his love for acting and all aspects of theater, he says it didn’t take much coaxing for him to audition for this play written by Brian Friel. “It’s very intellectual. It’s very poetic. It’s a … play that really captures the imagination. The language is so rich,” says Del Grosso, hired as managing director of Woodford Theatre just before auditions for this season began. A graduate of Transylvania University, Del Grosso says he never had an opportunity to collaborate with Ferrell or the other actors in “Translations” until they started rehearsals. The 25-year-old says he was “very nervous” about acting alongside a cast of well-known Central Kentucky actors, including Walter Tunis (as Hugh), Joe Gatton (as Jimmy) and Rachel Rogers (as Máire). What Del Grosso discovered, working alongside the seasoned actors, was “a very open environment.” “They really embraced me into the cast, which is great. And it’s been really special working with them because I’m able to work with and listen to and learn from these actors that have been doing it for so long,” he says. Most importantly, they’ve helped him “connect emotionally” with their characters, relax and just to have fun onstage, he says. Del Grosso, who played the title character in Transylvania University’s production of “Pippen” in 2013, appreciates Ferrell as a director because he allows an actor to connect with a play’s other characters and their onstage space so a performance “becomes more natural.” Del Grosso describes his character as “nothing like me,” but says, “He’s a ton of fun to play,” because Doalty gives him “a chance to try something new.” Even while he was employed full-time by the Governor’s Scholars Program Foundation for two years, Del Grosso remained very involved with Woodford Theatre. He now manages its finances and fills a variety of other roles – backstage and onstage – to feed his hunger for community theater. “I really do love being creative, building something with other people – collaborating and sharing what you’ve created with other people,” says Del Grosso. “…Being a part of this community to create a production is special.” He encourages anyone not familiar with “Translations” to come see this “beautifully written play.” Performances of “Translations” over the next three weekends continue through Sunday, April 9 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $13 for students. Visit woodfordtheatre.com or call 873-0648 to purchase tickets.

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