Patrick DuLaney’s TOP FIVE

Today’s TOP FIVE is from Patrick DuLaney, a professional actor who calls Iowa City home. One of the most fun parts of the TOP FIVE series is saying, “Oh yeah, I saw that one!” I get to say that twice while reading this list. How about you?


So here are my top five.

5) Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare. Riverside Theatre, June 2018.


So, first, you should know my list is in reverse chronological order, not order of importance. I’d spend days trying to figure that one out.

So, Much Ado stands out in my mind for a number of reasons. First, I got to play a role I never thought I’d be able to do! I am, um, somewhat character-y in my, um, dimensions, and the chance to play a rake (even a clownish one) was an unexpected treat. I also got to work with my oldest, dearest friend on this show as well, the delightful costumer Jill Van Brussel. It takes some skill to make this body look good, but I felt GREAT in those costumes!

The biggest reason this production stands out in my mind, however, is the audience. Outgoing Artistic Director Sean Christopher Lewis took a huge chance in making tickets for the outdoor Shakespeare free, and every night was a crossed-fingers moment to see if anyone would show up. Our first weekend was the hottest of the summer. But the people came. The biggest crowds I’d seen in a long time at Riverside. Then the weather cooled and the second weekend came. And so did the people. So many people. Pre-flood crowds. Our closing night was standing room only. For Shakespeare. Outside. It was a wonderful, faith-affirming moment for all of us, and a real coup for Sean, who has slowly, quietly built Riverside back up to something special. I won’t soon forget it.

4) Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen and Kate Hamill. C & P Productions, July 2017.


So, in 2015, my partner Chris Okiishi and I (C & P productions, ugh; help us find a better name) had an idea to start doing plays we love in unexpected, immersive environments. This resulted in Company, which we were both very proud of. Two summers later, we got good at our experiment, and produced Kate Hamill’s delightful Sense and Sensibility, performed at Jan Finlayson’s gorgeous store The Luxe Zone. This was a perfect storm of casting, environment and timing. I had the best actors in the area. I had (yet again) the incomparable Jill Van Brussel creating the most sexy, fun, smart costumes. I had donated rehearsal space from the AMAZING Leslie Nolte, and the unmatchable experience of working with Chris to create a really beautiful, funny, touching piece of theatre. I’m incredibly proud of this one.

3) The Adding Machine, Elmer Rice, Joshua Schmidt, and Jason Loewith. The Hypocrites, March 2016.


This is my one non-local entry. I had, for many years, tried to break into the impregnable fortress that is the Chicago theatre scene. It’s a tough nut to crack, people. I owe it to David Cromer, who just won the Tony this year for best director of a musical (did I just name drop? YES I DID). In fall of 2014 I had the good fortune of appearing in Cromer’s celebrated version of Our Town at the Kansas City Rep. He had a relationship with the hypocrites, and was kind enough to recommend me to the director of The Adding Machine. Suddenly, after years of trying, I was the lead in a cool as hell musical at one of Chicago’s leading storefront theaters. Perfect show, perfect cast, perfect director, perfect experience. I got an agent out of it, and it got me launched on my Chicago career. I am very lucky to have been a part of this!

2) The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Charles Dickens and Rupert Holmes. City Circle Acting Company, June 2014.


I had a tough time picking my favorite director’s experience in the area. I’ve had quite a few wonderful ones, I’m grateful to say. In the end, Drood won out on the strength of its exceptional cast. I’m fiercely devoted to educational theatre, and I’m so proud to watch my “kids” grow beyond me and find their own way. I have to say there were a few doubts about a teen cast’s ability to pull off such a complex, stylized piece (including me, I’ll freely admit). Watching that cast conquer the material, led by the unfairly talented Elijah Jones, was both inspirational and an object lesson in what a cast can do when you simply expect them to do it well: they do!

1) The Two Gentlemen of Verona, William Shakespeare. Riverside Theatre, June 2011.


Finally, a silly one. Anyone who’s worked for The Shakespeare Festival knows full well how easily nature can upstage you on any given night. We’ve had bats, bugs, birds, toads, and a menagerie of creepy-crawlies. For me though, the crown prince belongs to the one animal we wanted to be there.

Meet Big Red. Big Red was chosen to play Crab, Launce’s (my) dog, for Two Gents in the summer of 2011. Big Red was a pit bull mix: slobbery, lovable, and approximately 6000 years old. Big Red really wasn’t into being the show; he would frequently get out of his wagon and wander offstage in the middle of the scene. The best, though, was the night he was given a rawhide chew to keep him occupied during the scene. He hit center stage, swallowed the chew, immediately threw it up – then swallowed it again. Audiences that night have no idea I was onstage at all. People still come up to me on the street and ask me about that night. Big Red, wherever you are, I love you so.


PatrickheadshotActing Bio: Riverside Theatre: Ears on a Beatle, A View from the Bridge, Lucky Me, Title of Show. Riverside Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, many others. Old Creamery: Buyer and Cellar, Art, Vanya, Sonya, Masha and Spike. National Tours: Gypsy, A Christmas Carol. Regional: The Adding Machine, Floyd Collins, many productions of Forever Plaid. Founder, The Alaska Shakespeare Festival. MFA in Acting, The University of Missouri, Kansas City.

Directing Bio: Area Directing: The Cake, Riverside Theatre (upcoming). Peter and the Starcatcher, William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead, Mystery Edwin Drood, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, City Circle Acting Company. Endgame, Kirkwood Community College. Hurts So Good, Cornell College. Regional: The Baltimore Waltz, Orson’s Shadow, Nunsense, The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-moon Marigolds, Forever Plaid.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s