Day 7:00 AM
At the Banyan Theater this summer Don Walker stars in Art from 6/25-7/12 and directs My Old Lady with Donna Gerdes from 8/6-23 and Katherine Tanner reprises her extraordinary performance in The Amish Project from 7/16-8/2.
Don Walker knew he wanted to act from the moment he stepped on stage in the third grade. And although he studied theater in college and graduate school, life made it necessary for him to use his other skills to make a living. Serendipitously, Don’s straight job relocated to Sarasota and after a hiatus of 26 years he risked the audition process (with knees a-knocking). Of course talented as he is he was immediately scooped up by local theaters and is once again able to “feed his heart and soul.” Listen to this gentle, self-deprecating man talk about the art (no pun intended) of acting and the plays he is performing in and directing this summer.
Donna Gerdes was writing performing plays for family and friends by the time she was 5 or 6. Thinking she was going to be a doctor, Donna majored in Biology and Chemistry and minored in Drama in College. She won a singing competition whose prize was a month long Opera Workshop where she met a friend who said “move to NY with me, my voice teacher can get us jobs with a Gilbert and Sullivan company.” Terrified, but determined, Donna took a train to Penn Station. She and her friend did become Gilbert and Sullivan apprentices and “it just took off from there.” Donna got role after role in musicals in regional theaters around the country, until she met and married her husband and his 4 children. Believing that the children come first, Donna gave up the theater and had many prestigious jobs. But now free of those responsibilities she is back on the boards. Listen to this talented, resourceful, gentle woman talk about her passion for the theater, her deep sense of responsibility and her joy at once again being able to get on stage where she always knew she belonged.continue reading