• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Seeing the world differently as Edward Bloom

Becoming Edward Bloom on the Woodford Theatre stage gives Patrick Lee Lucas an opportunity to portray a real guy who doesn't see the world like everyone else does. Because of the complexities that come with portraying this character at various points in his lifetime, Lucas describes Bloom as "probably the most challenging role that I've had to take on." Sharing that role and all of its complexities with Daniel Dennert, who portrays a young Edward, makes this onstage experience an even bigger - creative - challenge for both. And because "Big Fish" focuses on the relationship between Edward and his son, Will, Lucas has been able to reflect on his relationship with his father to prepare for this role. "He never missed a performance just like he didn't miss a ballgame," says Lucas, whose brother, Jay Lucas, was the longtime girls' basketball coach at Woodford County High School. "So that part (of my relationship with my father) I'm channeling in ... this (performance) too." During a recent interview, Patrick Lee Lucas recalled a recent conversation he had with Dennert and telling the young actor, "You don't play Edward Bloom and don't change your view of the world because he challenges you to think about how to see" people and the world. "So there's a lot more to him as a character to dive into as an actor," says Lucas. He appreciates the songs of "Big Fish" because they are integrated into the story and move this fantastical musical forward. A self-described "pretty balanced" singer and actor, Lucas says having two uncles in barber shop quartets and a mom with a love for dance stoked his interest in performance as a young boy. But it was being cast as Wendy's brother, John, in a production of "Peter Pan" as a 10-year-old that gave him the acting bug. "If your first musical theatre experience is one where you get to fly around the stage," says Lucas, "...I don't think there's a choice but to continue down that pathway." So while this "teacher at heart" (he's an educator in the University of Kentucky's College of Design) never wanted to pursue acting as a career, Lucas always knew the stage - more specifically musical theatre - would remain a part of his life. Lucas, whose grandmother grew up on what is now known as Pin Oak Farm, and still has family here, says he appreciates being a part of Woodford Theatre because community theatre companies bring "folks together across all walks of life" to produce an onstage performance, which he further describes as "coming together to make the impossible happen." His previous roles at Woodford Theatre include what he describes as two "crazy dad roles" - Wilbur Turnblad in "Hairspray" and the Old Man in "A Christmas Story: The Musical," which was directed by Vanessa Becker-Weig. "It's been great to watch him (Lucas) embrace this role and play all of the different levels of Edward," says Becker-Weig, who also directs "Big Fish." A Lexington native, Lucas describes being hired at UK as an opportunity to come back home. So he appreciates having a role in "Big Fish" - a musical about a community not very different than a place in Central Kentucky called Woodford County.

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