The Scioto Society is extremely proud to announce that Clifford Nunley will once again star in the lead role during the 2016 production of “Tecumseh!”
Clifford is a graduate of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music (CCM) where he received his BFA in acting, and his SAFD certification in stage combat. For the last year he has called Chicago home, performing in everything from experimental Shakespeare in abandoned warehouses, to the Midwest premiers of new playwrights. Some of his Ohio credits include Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Brick), and a Streetcar named Desire (Stanley). He also performed as Davis in his favorite play, Red Light Winter.
Third year Artistic Director Jenny Male said of finding the right person for the role: “The heart of this story is always on the stage and in this place. It is the responsibility of us to tell this story with passion and truth for those who are not here to tell it for themselves. Finding the right person with that sense of responsibility is a difficult search. Last year, we looked all over the country and finally found Clifford in Chicago. He was great in his first year and we are both looking forward to making new discoveries about this character in the coming rehearsal process.”
Finding a Tecumseh has always been a challenge for the production team. The demands are great…the actor must ride a horse, safely fight and fire guns, row boats, swim and perform vocally in front of 1800 seats each night without a microphone. Some actors in the role have transcended those challenges to become synonymous with the name, including Mel Cobb, Jose Andrews and Jamison Price. Identifying the next milestone performer is important for the show.
“I’m still a bit in awe of the whole thing.” Said Nunley.
“I’ve been acting for 15 years and I’ve never worked in a theatre that didn’t have a roof, walls or more than 300 seats. This show just never stops moving. When rehearsals begin I’ll wake up at 7 and ride horses for three hours. Then we’ll do firearms training, hand to hand combat, canoe handling…it’s just a non-stop barrage to the senses and I love it.”
Production Stage Manager, Alex Freeman is in his third year in that role. “Cliff is right, I’ve never worked on a production that generates the kind of excitement that this does night after night. Walking around the crowd before the show or at intermission and seeing the smiles, sometimes tears because people are so touched by the story. Its impact is due to the high level of talent that we’re able to recruit here. Cliff is a great example. We have a lot of new actors this year, but Jenny and I look at this production as less of a challenge and more of an adventure. We can’t wait to see what everyone does during the rehearsal process and help guide them.”
Nunley had an interesting experience shortly after he accepted the role in 2015. “I was in a coffee shop in Cincinnati and the barista had on a Tecumseh T-Shirt. I mentioned to her that I had just accepted the lead role in the show for this summer to which she replied ‘don’t screw it up’. People all around Ohio have a great respect for this man and this show, deservedly so. In 24 hours, I went from eating at a 4 star restaurant with my family, to waking up at summer camp riding horses and firing rifles. I learned quickly that this show and this place consumes you. Never have I had a show become my life. I can’t wait to get back on the mountain!”
About TECUMSEH! First staged in 1973, TECUMSEH! (a 501-c3 non-profit) is one of the nation’s top outdoor dramas. Written by Pulitzer Prize Nominee, Allan W. Eckert, the 44th anniversary season plays June 10 through September 3, 2016 at The Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre, near Chillicothe, OH. Curtain time is 8:00 pm. For tickets and information, go to www.tecumsehdrama.com or call 1-866-775-0700.