Lynn Sharp Spears on Her Career and Playing Mother Abbess for the 3rd Time

Who am I?

Lynn Sharp Spears.
Lynn Sharp Spears.

I am a person who likes to create; whether it’s a role in a play, directing or designing for stage or screen, or making a piece of art. As a result I have worn many different hats so far in my life. My first vocal performance was at the age of 9. Since then I have performed off Broadway and in many of the major theaters in the Metro DC area. This past year I was thrilled to be one of the Helen Hayes nominees for Outstanding Ensemble in The Studio Theater’s The Habit Of Art.  I am a certified doll maker and gunsmith who made working reproductions of the Jefferson Dueling pistols. As an independent Production Designer and Casting Associate, I have worked on projects for The Learning Channel’s Great Books and Understanding series, as well as documentaries for The History Channel, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Howard Hughes Institute and the FBI. While serving as Artistic Director of Adventure Theatre, I commissioned four original plays by local playwrights. In addition I have directed seven World Premieres.

The National Zoo commissioned me to sculpt and paint the entrance to the Pollinarium. I was honored to create a life mask of choreographer Eugene Loring, and a selection of masks are on exhibit at Penn State University library. My artwork is in international art collections.

I also make custom jewelry using semi precious gemstones and metal clay, and have a number of clients for whom I create one-of–a-kind adornments.

Summer Theater Experience.
Summer Theater Experience.

I am also a teacher. I teach guitar, mask making, puppet making, and theater skills. In 2004, when I was running the Drama Department at Georgetown Prep, I started the Summer Theater Experience. This is a non-profit organization, now based at Artisphere in Rosslyn, VA, that concentrates on building skills. Our team of theater professionals work with aspiring actors aged 12-17 to improve their performance skills. Both one week and three week sessions culminate in a performance by the students.

Deborah Wicks La Puma.
Deborah Wicks La Puma.

Speaking of students, auditions for Summer Theater Experience will be on March 2, 2013 from 12-2 PM at Artisphere for those young actors wishing to attend my camp. I am also accepting applications from young designers, two of whom I will take on as apprentices this summer. Only a limited number of spaces are available, so early registration is recommended. I don’t choose a show until after auditions so that everyone has an opportunity to shine. I am very excited that the amazingly talented composer Debbie Wicks La Puma will be writing original music for my adaptation of the play we choose. The students who participate will be listed in the script when we publish it.

My Architect  husband  John and I camped on our land and built our house with the help of a few friends. I also had the privilege of being on the crew of the First All Woman Build for Habitat For Humanity in Tennessee, working with Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter.

 Playing The Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music (3 times):

Lynn Sharp Spears as Mother Abbess at Toby's Dinner Theatre of Columbia. Photo by Kirstine Christiansen.
Lynn Sharp Spears as Mother Abbess at Toby’s Dinner Theatre of Columbia. Photo by Kirstine Christiansen.

This is my third production of The Sound of Music. The first was as Set Designer for a theater company my husband and I helped get started back in the 1980s – The Damascus Theater Company.

The second time was at Toby’s Dinner Theatre of Columbia, and the third, running until January 27th, is a production is at Toby’s Dinner Theatre of Baltimore. In both of Toby’s productions I’ve performed the role of The Mother Abbess.

The obvious difference in the performing is that Columbia is in the round and Baltimore is a proscenium stage. I actually hadn’t been on a proscenium stage in a while when we started rehearsals back in Oct. 2012. I had to get used to the fact that there was no one behind or on the side of me-that was not acting!

My Mother Abbess this time is a little more approachable I think. She finds more humor in situations and in people.

It’s been wonderful this time to see several of my former and current students in the audience.

Lynn Sharp Spears’ website.


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