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Paul Rohrer’s Students Put on Quite a Show

Paul Rohrer (left) with comedy legend Joe Piscopo, and Rohrer’s internet radio show producer Anthony Musco (right) after Piscopo’s appearance on Castle Rock Radio’s Roaring Success Radio Hour.

By Richard J. Schneider

Paul Rohrer ought to take his show on the road.

It is really a showcase, something he puts on twice a year with the actors he coaches. As I sat in the audience one recent evening, after a bit of schmoozing with Paul and other invited guests, I had no idea what to expect. My preconceived notion was a mix of strong and weak stage performances by actors with a broad range of talent.

What I got was a series of tight stage pieces that kept me rapt, quiet, and not thinking about the yummy burgers a few paces away on one of the refreshment tables. In about 45 minutes, I was treated to series of vignettes, each of which I found totally satisfying, like watching nine tight mini-plays at the theater.

All of the actors in the vignettes are working in the Denver market right now, but some will eventually leave for other markets as they pursue their careers. My brief notes reflect my reactions to each piece.

Every Day Pain, a soliloquy by Kalja Harris. Pondering, reliving her pain. I watched her hands. They acted right along with her.

Love Bound, with Chris Balitski and Steve Austin. Austin, wheelchair bound, afraid to love, pushes away his therapist, Balitski, who has fallen in love with him. Nice. Did he love her? You want them to be together.

Art Love, with Rachel Matter and Dan Davidson. Davidson first puts down his wife, Matter, for chasing her money-draining “pipedream” of art, only to pull a slick about face, mentally counting the money, when he finds out she just sold a boatload of art. Nice script! Great! Funny. He is such a BSer.

Lucky Punch, with Darlkus Ellis and Troy Alan. Good laughs. A nice cool message. Ellis, the hip trainer, jives the aging boxer, Alan, from being a self-doubter to surefire winner in his next fight.

Educating Wally, with Nate Traves and Liz Benson. Traves’ character meets his new boss, the younger student-like Benson, the hard way. Very good twist.

Screwed, with Constance Cawlfield and Evelyn Rockett. Two women friends exchange views on making love to the same man, the husband of one, but the outcome just was not what you expected. Another good twist! Strong.

Memories, with T. David Rutherford and Russ Huard. Two brothers, who fought wars as paid mercenaries, weigh the hate between them, which was really love and devotion. Great transition from anger to PTSD. Powerful – both!

Cookie Jar, with Jauqin Trujuillo and Erica Stavrianos. Trujillo’s rakish husband faces his lust for chance against his desire for family, something his wife, Stavrianos, wants more than anything. Which way does he go? Real nice set up. The gamble versus the sure thing.

I Do & You Will, with Stacy Pederson and Jeff Pederson. Kinky love takes the creepiest of turns as this husband and wife team shed new light on true love. Good sicko!

 

Writer Russ Huard

Special credit must go to actor and writer Russ Huard, who penned these terrific short scenes for the evening’s fare. “Each scene tonight is an original work written for this specific showcase, which means they are all performed for the first time by the actors who make up the Rohrering Success Actor’s Workshop,” Huard said in his “Writer’s Notes,” given to the attendees. “I write the words and the actors bring them to life.” While many of the pieces were based on “ideas that sprouted into scenes,” Huard said two were pulled from his own personal experiences, “The Cookie Jar,” based on the early years of his parents’ marriage (no gambling, but a passed up investment), and “Memories,” drawn from his recollections of his grandfather’s brother’s struggled with post-traumatic stress syndrome after World War One.

 

Teaching is in Rohrer’s Family Background

This brings us back to Paul Rohrer, who has acted in the Denver area in hundreds of commercials, industrials, films, and television programs. Many producers only know Rohrer as an actor, but he began coaching acting skills before he uttered any scripted words for stage and screen. “I came from a family of teachers and preachers,” Rohrer said during a recent interview at the Crowfoot Valley Coffee Shop in Castle Rock, where he has lived for years.  “The teaching came naturally.” He began teaching in 1976 and said it helped him with his acting. “We learn best what we teach,” he said.

Rohrer said he hit one of those points in college when he pondered his future: stay in school, hit the road, get a job, head for New York, maybe LA. Where he wound up was in Kansas, doing some volunteer service as a house parent at a juvenile center. He began with a theater in the park program for the kids. The park was across the street from the local sheriff’s office. During the climactic knife fight scene in “A Zoo Story,” deputies rushed the performance to break up the “fight” and arrest the culprits, a testament to Rohrer’s coaching skills.

 

From Coaching to Acting

He began acting in Kansas, in dinner theater, later spent some time in LA and did not care for it all that much. What brought Rohrer to Colorado was a friendship he had made in Kansas with a family that owned a few Dairy Queens. He became an assistant manager of a DQ in Boulder – not quite the classic soda jerk to film star story, but somewhat in parallel. This led him to the Arvada Center for the Arts where he taught acting, acted in children’s theater by day and adult theater by night, upwards of 11 performances a week at times.

His coaching work for actors expanded and moved from the Arvada Center, to the old Lighting Services Inc. facility, and now to Spotlight Media on south Broadway. During that time, Rohrer has coached scores and scores of actors, brought in actors, directors, and writers from LA and the Big Apple for special sessions, authored a book to help with his workshops – Listen, Feel, Respond: A Workbook and Guide to Acting on Camera, available on Amazon – and launched an internet radio show – The Roaring Success Radio Hour, a performing arts information program on Castle Rock Radio. And lately, Rohrer has begun recording audio books.

His semi-annual Showcase of Talent, designed to place his students in front of writers, directors, and producers, is worthy of a stage performance, tickets, cocktails in the lounge – the whole nine yards. You can find Rohrer at rsuccessradio.com.

 

Denver author, scriptwriter, and producer Richard J. Schneider also writes mystery novels set in Colorado, His latest, WATER: A Vic Bengston Investigation, can be found in dead-tree version at the Tattered Cover, other independent bookstores, and on Amazon. EBooks are everywhere.