Monday, November 16, 2009

005 - Off Off Broadway Joe

Off Off Broadway is where this week's Joe has performed.  Off Off Broadway [on the Upper West Side of Manhattan] is where this week's Joe lives.  This week's Joe, is actually a Joey - Joey Stocks.  

Joseph C. Stocks III, who has always been known as Joey, was born in Russellville, Arkansas on February 1, 1966.  He is a legal secretary by day and a "mostly out-of-work actor by night."   He is a member of Actors' Equity Association and has performed many roles including his favorite of Tom in "The Glass Menagerie" and his least favorite of Cole in "Keely and Du" in which he said "I was so horribly miscast, but thought I could make it work."

As for where theater began for Joey - "I studied Art and Dance at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, then transferred to my birthplace where I finished my B.A. in Theatre and was a guinea pig for their newly formed Master of Liberal Arts degree, which is as vague as it sounds."

Theater is his passion and living in New York City, Joey gets to see a lot of it.  He recommended two plays - " On Broadway, "The Royal Family" and Off-Broadway - "The Understudy"   Both shows are about theater people, so I guess I can relate."  Joey can certainly relate to theater - not only as an actor or audience member but also as a creator.

Joey is Executive Producer of Summoners Ensemble Theatre.  Rhonda Dodd is the Artistic Director.  Kevin Jones, Joey's partner of almost 14 years, and Dan Renkin serve as Artistic Associates.   The Board of Directors is comprised of Michael Mafrici, Anne Kennedy McGuire and Benjamin Nixon.  In 2010, Summoners Ensemble Theatre will produce their second series of staged readings and will also continue to develop three original plays.

When I asked Joey when we could expect to see the plays, he said "Hopefully we'll have the money to produce one of them in Spring/Summer 2010."  One of the plays is entitled "He Switched."  It is a parody based on the television show "Bewitched."   Having been born in Salem, Massachusetts and a fan of the television show, this Joe is looking forward to that production.  Summoners' other two plays are their new adaptation of "A Christmas Carol",
and "Getting It" which Joey described as "a gender-bending comedy where "getting it" is only half the journey."

While theater may be one of Joey's greatest passions, he is also inspired and influenced by Manhattan, the Museum of Modern Art [MoMA] and by family members including; his niece and nephew, his parents, his sister and his partner Kevin.  Joey spoke at length about one particular influence and his involvement in her organization.      

"My influences change from time to time, but I'm continually inspired by Patty Lindeman, Founder and Executive Director of Hunger-Free Arkansas   Patty Lindeman is a college friend of mine.  Not having come from a wealthy family, I worked several jobs to put myself through most of my undergraduate school.  Often, I found myself barely able to pay my tuition, school supplies, rent, utilities and gas to get to and from classes, leaving myself little or nothing with which to buy food.  Although I didn't ask for help, Patty and her husband at the time, were aware of my financial struggle.  Instead of offering me money or groceries, they would frequently invite me over for dinner, which filled my stomach while leaving my dignity intact.  In her home I was a guest, not a beggar."

He continues "A few years later, in response to the growing homeless population in Little Rock and the surrounding areas, Patty took her generosity and compassion by forming Hunger-Free Arkansas, now celebrating its 10th Anniversary.  HFA is an advocacy and service organization which provides counseling, clothing and hot meals for those in need.  Through HFA, Patty manages to do this incredible and vital work while still respecting the dignity of those she serves.  Now that she has many "guests" at her table, it is my privilege to help her serve any way I can."

Joey Stocks has a great heart and a great body.  At 43, he is better shape than most people half his age.  Though it was chilly on the day of our photoshoot, Joey was a good sport and posed shirtless for some of the photos.  I asked him about his workout routine and he told me: "I work out 6 times per week for about 45 to 50 minutes in the morning before work.  I'm not really a morning person, but I find that my attitude is better if I start my day by doing something good for myself...I use a combination of free weights and machines.  I also work with my own weight with chin-ups, push-ups and dips."

These days, Joey gets back to Arkansas only "once or twice a year - not often enough" as he puts it.  He lives a very full life Off Off Broadway where is "father" to two cats.
Summoners Ensemble Theatre is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.  Contributions to Summoners Ensemble Theatre are tax-deductable to the fullest extent allowable by law.

NEXT WEEK - "Curious Joel"

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