Duke Lafoon..aka George Bailey!

Posted by: wbtpress on Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 2:40:00 pm

George Bailey is a stand up guy..and Duke is the perfect actor to portray him! Learn more....

 I'm from Richmond, Virginia. (I was very surprised to learn on the first day of rehearsal that Juli Robbins who plays Mary Hatch is also from Richmond. After comparing notes we realized that although we had never met we know all the same people. All small world for sure) I'm the youngest of five kids. It was a really great way to grow up. Lot of love, lot of fights (4 boys and one girl... don't worry she was safe. very well protected by my father), and two incredibly supportive parents. There is absolutely nothing I would change.

I spent my childhood in a fantasy world. Either I had a towel safety pinned around my neck pretending to be Batman or I was climbing a tree with one of my dad’s screwdrivers in my belt pretending I was Tarzan. I don't know how unusual this is but I simply never grew out of it. I think my first role was as a Christmas elf in a school play. At 14 I worked at my first professional theatre and that’s all she wrote. As for mentors,  I have been very lucky. A couple that stick out are my friends, Tom Width, who directed me many times in Richmond and Randy Strawderman, who I first met as a teacher and later directed me as well. They both believed in me which was invaluable. And Mom and Dad taught me over and over that you will have more success in life doing what you love rather than what is expected. 

Favorite Shows? This is a tough one. So many...Sweeney Todd was a biggie, Into the Woods, Floyd Collins....and the plays! Oh boy, I really could go all day. As for dream roles,  I think every actor wants the chance to create something new....To be involved in the storytelling from the very beginning. I've had a few opportunities to do this and there is nothing more exciting. I'm just hoping for more.

 I love this movie. Always have. Always have loved James Stuart. It’s really a pretty perfect film. I knew nothing of the musical until I auditioned for it at Theatre Virginia. I was blown away when I landed the part. A dream role to be sure!   It was really great working with Richard Stafford. He has a clear vision and knew just what he wanted. It has been a few years since I last did this and I think I come into it a little wiser. I think I understand a little better what’s at stake for George Bailey. And I was very happy to discover that much of this show hadn't left me. That certainly made my job a little easier. 

 My wife Janet and I don't yet have kids but we do have 14 nieces and Nephews. All in VA.  All different ages. Some of the youngest haven't seen me on stage and the older ones might be a little bored with it. But lately they have had fun with an American Express commercial I currently have running. Uncle Duke’s on TV! Now that's something. You know you've made it! 

 I love to read most anything. I love movies. Janet and I are currently going thru the AFI top hundred movies to see anything we missed. I like to play tennis when I can. Not the easiest thing to schedule in Manhattan. And because I'm away from home more than I like, I try to spend as much time as I can with Janet.   What's on my I pod?  I'm kind of a talk radio junkie. Radio Lab on NPR is my current favorite. I have few of their pod casts on there.  Many of the songs are ones I need to learn for auditions, etc. And music that makes me smile and relax. There's a ton really.

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