I’ve always been a ham. Ask anyone. Seriously. My first look into performing and into theatre was in junior high at Killingsworth Junior High School in Hawaiian Gardens, CA (it’s NOT as nice as it sounds…they see me ROLLIN’…). My teacher at the time was Miss Deborah Murphy, who made drama class fun and even asked me to come to Cypress College and audition for a role in one of their shows, George Washington Slept Here, when I was 12. I got the role of her nephew, Raymond, and even got a good review in the local paper (Allen Norvick gives a sly turn as Raymond, hey, it’s not BAD). I loved Miss Murphy for that and for giving me that chance.
That being said, Greg Atkins made me feel that passion for it. He was my first high school drama teacher. He wasn’t the English teacher who took a few acting classes in college so they threw the drama curriculum at him. They hired him from the outside JUST to teach drama. I don’t want to speak too much for Boopy Doo, but I know he had a huge impact on her, too. He not only showed us that we could truly be great, he showed us that there’s no excuse not to be. He one time threw a chair because we were all acting like little assholes. Not at anyone, just against the stage. I’ll never forget that. I don’t think it was fear, but he got my attention. And my respect. He didn’t fuck around. If you didn’t want to be in his class, he told you to get out. If you did, he expected you to give him something back. He cast me in two shows and had a conversation with me that I wish I had paid more attention to after the last performance. “You’re a good kid, Allen. Don’t change who you are, except to become better.” I’m paraphrasing, but that was the gist. At the time, my mom had just left and my dad was a wreck (that’s when he was focused on dating so much we rarely saw him) and I hated school and he was pretty much the only adult in my life who made any sense to me. I recently found his website and found out he won a Tony. I’m proud to have been able to work with him, even as a freshman in high school. Thank you, Mr. Atkins.