Friday, August 1, 2014

The Wave: The Amazing Susan Corning

When I saw Susan play the lead in Steel Magnolias back in 2006 - her first show in 30 years - I was blown away by her talent. A few years later I found myself in an RTC acting class - my first time when I was over 60 - with Susan. I was absolutely intimidated at the very idea of being on the same stage with Susan. But she made me feel - and makes everyone - feel so comfortable. She does anything and everything at the RTC. I can't think of many people I admire more than Susan Corning. And it was she who asked me if I wanted to be in Gypsy - and cast me in the perfect part as Mr. Goldstone. Oh how I look forward to the cast party Sunday night - there better be some pigs in the blanket.

Who’s Who

Susan Corning Rockaway Theatre Company 
By Dan Guarino

Susan Corning  
Susan Corning Tell us about yourself.
 
I was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1955. My mother was a registered nurse and my father was an aerospace engineer. I was an only child.
I would say my love of the theatre was a gift from my parents. They were very involved with a growing community theatre company, doing a little bit of everything; from acting, painting, costuming and producing productions. I was brought to most rehearsals and shows, and watched over and over how a show was put up, run, and broken down.


In 1967, my father was transferred to Arlington Texas. I became involved with my high school drama department and taking dance lessons at the local studio.
From 1973 to 1977 I attended the University of Texas at Arlington and graduated with a BA in Communications and minored in theatre.
It was during these years, my passion for the theatre truly developed, acting in such plays as Mousetrap, You Can't Take It With You, Fashion, and Gypsy. Playing the part of Louise in Gypsy was such an amazing journey for me. I always knew that one day I would want to direct this wonderful musical.
And then life takes its course. I joined American Airlines as a flight attendant in 1978, and transferred to New York. I met my husband, got married, raised two children and have lived in Rockaway for 32 years. I just retired from American last year after 35 years of service.
What is your current title and role in the Rockaway Theatre Company?
I am the director, as well as an actor, costumier, and also serve on the Board of Directors.
Were you involved with community and civic affairs before joining RTC?
I was involved with helping start the Arlington Community Theatre in Texas in 1976, being one of the original Board Members. I also had the great experience of acting in two of my favorite plays, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Picnic.
What other committees, groups or activities are you involved with?
I am also very involved with the Rockaway Theatre's Children's Workshop. This is the most rewarding program for me personally, educating and directing these young people in our community to be excited about the theatre.
How long do you intend to be part of RTC?
For as long as I can!
I joined the Rockaway Theatre Company in 2006, when after a 25 year break from the theatre, I decided to try out for Steel Magnolias. I thought since I was a southern girl, this would be a perfect show for me. Thankfully, the directors felt the same way. I have continued acting in many of the RTC productions including, Inspecting Carol, Philadelphia Story, Annie, Music Man, Annie Get Your Gun, Blithe Spirit, Lend Me a Tenor, Our Town, The Odd Couple, Boeing Boeing, Moon Over Buffalo, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Oklahoma, Come Back To The Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean and Rockaway Cafe '08,'09,'10, '11&13. My directorial credits include Proof, Cactus Flower, You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Brighton Beach Memoirs, The Little Mermaid, and Gypsy. The RTC is family to me.
What is the most important issue facing Rockaway?
Of course it is Sandy-related, the survival aftermath has affected everyone!
What's the best thing about living in Rockaway?
Having grown up in Texas, I always knew that someday I was going to live on the beach.
After being transferred to New York in 1978, I met my future husband who was born and raised in Rockaway Beach. I have grown to love our beautiful beaches, the wonderful neighborhoods, my amazing neighbors, and of course the Rockaway Theatre Company, where I can explore my passion for the theatre and continue the goal to give Rockaway fantastic theatrical experiences.
Biggest complaint?
No complaints really. I consider myself a very lucky girl. I have a wonderful husband, two beautiful children, and a granddaughter that fills my sails every day.
What advice or suggestions do you have for people who are not currently involved but are interested in helping Rockaway?
Take a trip down to the Rockaways, and see how beautiful it is....
Then really take a look at all the devastation that still surrounds us. There is so much work to be done! Get involved. Contact The Wave and they will point you in the right direction.

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