Kevin Hollenbeck: Bio
Starting with a metamorphosis into an asian prince (no mean feat for a redhead) in a dinner theatre production of The King And I at the age of 13, Kevin Hollenbeck has been on and around stages most of his life. After a number of years performing musical dinner theatre (Oliver, My Fair Lady, Grease) in high school, it was Kevin's first performance in college -- as one of Michael Tolaydo's murderers in Richard III -- which would truly galvanize his interest in theatre. The production was his first experience with both Shakespearean performance and Stage Combat.
The Crucible found Kevin filling 70-year-old shoes as Francis Nurse, and Wormwood the very next month brought another geriatric role (with slightly less makeup) as Malachi, a bartender who could give Hannibal Lechter lessons in how to control and manipulate by sheer force of will. By now he'd also found a place in the St. Mary's Chamber Singers & Choir, as one of a handful of first tenors.
In between rehearsals for performances and recitals Kevin was also honing his craft as a director, and most of his friends managed to get drafted for an audition (or sometimes just getting handed a role) for his first fledgling one-act plays.
Following a spring of puppetry with the Bread & Puppet Theatre and propmaking for The Song Of The Lusitanian Bogey, The University of Maryland's Shakespeare On Wheels troupe brought Kevin back to Shakespeare with a vengeance.
This time it was not only as a full-time performer with a touring company, but also in a much more bizarre context; The Tempest as outer space rock opera. The production offered Kevin his first solo singing role in over 40 performances roaming across the entire Mid-Atlantic.
After a summer of free Shakespeare performances under the stars, Kevin delved into playwriting for the first time. While serving as light board operator for The Colored Museum, he wrote his first play, Sadness Without A Trace, produced in the spring of 1992 as his Honors Thesis. The play, an emotional rollercoaster about a young girl's death being reversed -- against the rules -- by a headstrong and rule-breaking guardian angel, drew on some of the strongest resources of the local theatre community and was a rousing success.
There was just enough time to serve as video board operator for The Threepenny Opera before rejoining Shakespeare On Wheels for another season on the road, this time as assistant costumer and running crew for Othello. The stakes were higher this time; Kevin was the only on-site driver with his own vehicle (due to the laundry needs of the troupe) and had to become very good at mid-performance crisis management, frequently making emergency patches for ripped clothing in between scenes.
Kevin's fifth year at college, spent wrapping up his English degree, found him quickly directing yet another play. David Marteaux's Planting The Seeds, a mixture of creation myth and farce, was performed in repertory with Edward Albee's Finding The Sun and was received warmly by the small number who saw it.
The following spring found Kevin taking the director's chair off campus, to the local one-room church located next door, to direct a modest version of Murder In The Cathedral. The pastor was amused at the notion of turning the church into a performance space, and it really lent a sense of gravity and purpose to the production.
The last production of his collegiate career was Macbeth, directed by Michael Tolaydo. In this production Kevin was able to uniquely blend acting and tech: after performing the role of Duncan, a character who dies in the first act, he changed out of costume and then joined the crew as a follow-spot operator for the rest of the play before getting back into costume at the last scene for curtain call.
Graduate school at the University of Tulsa found Kevin focusing on English and placing Theatre squarely on the back burner, as demonstrated by some of the papers he produced during that period:
Well, perhaps theatre continued to be a dominant force. His Master's thesis was developed as a research project drawing upon the resources of both the Huntington Library in Los Angeles, CA and the Folger Library in Washington, DC. In the meantime, he was called back onstage to perform in the University's production of Much Ado About Nothing. After completing the pre-examination requirements for the Ph.D program, Kevin took a hiatus from academia to work on the technical side of his career as a web designer and assistant systems administrator and was soon back on stage again, this time in community theatre.
Brought on board with the Rude Mechanicals, a Shakespearean theatre troupe based in Laurel, MD, Kevin quickly moved from tragedy to comedy to history and back again as an actor, combatant, choreographer, and sound designer (as well as web designer). He was featured as Macduff in Macbeth, Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing (his second roles in both plays), Claudius in Hamlet, and York in Henry VI. He then turned to directing the troupe in a production of Twelfth Night which brought the troupe acclaim in the Washington Post.
In between Shakespearean productions, Kevin also became a semi-regular contributor to No Shame, a performance experience at Live Arts in Charlottesville, Va. He was also seen performing in the Live Arts summer Gala and providing technical support to their winter Red Masque. His most recent professional theatre experience was as the stage manager for Studio Theatre Secondstage's production of Kit Marlowe.
Current projects in the works include Splinters, a full-length screenplay, a number of stop-motion and Flash animation projects, and a DVD of his recent production of Twelfth Night.
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