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May 23, 2016

At Still Point Theatre Collective, we aim to work with top-notch professionals when producing our original plays. No one could argue that we have found such an artist in Actor Randy Steinmeyer, who recently took over the role of Fr. Doug Doussan in our play Living Water: The Story of St. Gabriel the Archangel Church.

Randy’s background reveals that he is a quintessential Chicago actor – and happy to have made a good living in his chosen field. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts from Blackburn College in Carlinville, IL in 1981, he later received his Professional Certificate from the prestigious Goodman School of Drama in 1983. Randy muses that he never left the neighborhood – as his current north side Chicago home is blocks away from the school.

Randy’s resume is full of impressive roles from stage, TV, and film – before 1990 he had earned membership in SAG, AFTRA, and Equity professional actors’ unions. Just a few highlights of his career include originating the role of Denny Lombardo in the world premiere of the play A Steady Rain, for which he won a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Actor in a Principal Role; TV appearances in Chicago PD, Chicago Code, and The Untouchables; and film roles in Game Day, The Babe, and Public Enemies. He cited the latter as one of his most treasured movie experiences, having learned a great deal from working with the likes of Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, and Director Michael Mann. Randy chuckled as he recalled Mann’s persistent direction for him: “Don’t do anything.” He would repeat his line, and Mann would repeat: “No. Don’t do anything.” It seems that Mann’s direction took the familiar counsel “less is more” and went one better. In addition to his work on stage and screen, Randy has traveled the world working as a spokesperson for various corporations – appearing at numerous conferences and conventions.

Randy’s connection to Still Point can be traced back to 1989 when he met Still Point Founder and Artistic Director Lisa Wagner-Carollo. Randy and Lisa both performed in Catholic activist group Call to Action’s productions Between the Times and Peaceworks. It had been a while since the two had spoken when Lisa approached him a couple of years ago about playing the role of Msgr. John O’Grady in a one person play that Still Point created for Catholic Charities USA. Randy had too many conflicts to take on that project, but when Lisa later asked him about playing Fr. Doug in Living Water, he was happy to have enough room in his schedule to take the role.

I asked Randy about the man he portrays in Living Water: Fr. Doug Doussan, the (now retired) pastor of St. Gabriel Church. The play tells the story of how the church rebuilt after the post- Katrina floods devastated New Orleans, and Fr. Doug is a pivotal character in the story. A charming Southern gentleman, this priest’s sincere dedication to his parishioners was always evident when he was being interviewed for the play. After listening to the tapes, Randy remarked that he noticed the surprisingly dry wit that one can almost miss under Fr. Doug’s smooth southern drawl. Randy also noticed the comfortable and at times comical rapport between Fr. Doug and his fellow Pastoral Leader Sr. Kathleen Pittman. He is enjoying exploring this relationship in performing the play with Lisa in the role of Sr. Kathleen. “We’re having fun,” he remarked, “I think it’s important to have fun when we perform, even when there is a lot of important and serious information to convey. If we’re having fun, the audience will enjoy themselves as well.” Randy also remarked that he often gets cast as blue-collar characters simply due to his physical type, so he’s enjoying the change of pace in playing a gentle-mannered priest.

In speaking of the play’s importance and relevance, he connected the stories told in Spike Lee’s When the Levies Broke to the sentiments conveyed by the character of Michael in Living Water. Michael has a speech that expresses shock, heartbreak, and anger at the lack of response from government officials and agencies during and after the disaster. Randy used the term “criminal negligence” to describe this lack of response, and it’s hard to disagree with that characterization. Randy travels a great deal, and noted that in visiting New Orleans several times since Katrina, he has seen that there are still stretches around the city and along the Gulf Coast that have never recovered. Living Water is telling an important American story that deserves to be told – and remembered. Randy’s exceptional talent and energy are a great boon to this production, and we are thrilled to have him on board.

Please monitor our social media and website calendar for upcoming performances of Living Water: The Story of St. Gabriel the Archangel Church, for a chance to see Randy perform the role of Fr. Doug Doussan. Information about booking a performance can be found by clicking the “Productions” tab.

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