Theatrical Experience Inspires New Career Working With the Deaf

Always A Bridesmaid Director Jeffrey Bigger
Always A Bridesmaid Director Jeffrey Bigger

After a three year break from Centerstage North, Jeffrey Bigger is back in the director’s chair, taking on the play, Always A Bridesmaid by Jones, Hope and Wooten. The longtime actor/director started working with CSN in 1997 in a production of Barefoot in the Park by Neil Simon. In the course of 13 years, Jeffrey has performed in over 30 productions, and directed 10 shows for the 40 year old community theatre. But in 2007, Jeffrey was cast in the play Children Of A Lesser God by Mark Medoff. Little did he know, but a new career was about to unfold for him. In the play, Jeffrey portrayed a man who works at a School for the Deaf and meets a young woman (played by Barbara Rudy) who touches his heart. The two had to learn American Sign Language, and luckily, director Sarah Mitchell had cast Deaf actress, Michelle Klinger in a small role. Michelle and her husband, Dave, were instrumental in teaching the cast how to sign.

The experience had a great effect on him, and through Michelle and Dave, Jeffrey was introduced to the Deaf community and culture, which inspired him to consider a career as a sign language interpreter. He continued to work in the corporate world and to perform and direct for Centerstage North for the next few years, but then in 2011, he made the decision to go back to school full-time to become an ASL interpreter. He quit his day job and took a job at night working at Aurelios Pizza in East Cobb. He also had to put his love for theatre on hold as he pursued his new career.

Now, three years later, Jeffrey has started working as an interpreter in the educational arena, including signing for theatrical productions. “I am excited to bring my love for interpreting and my love for theatre together and I want with all my heart to make theatre accessible to everybody.”  

Admittedly, his career change came a little later in life than most, but he says, “Just because you are over 40, doesn’t mean you can’t have a new dream. ”

Jeffrey is excited to resume his work with Centerstage North, and chose, once again, to direct a show with an all-woman cast. He is known as a wonderful “woman’s director” and has taken on such shows as Steel Magnolias, Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, and The Dixie Swim Club, which was written by the same authors (Jones, Hope and Wooten) as his current project, Always A Bridesmaid. In this comedic romp, four friends have sworn to keep the promise they made on the night of their Senior Prom: to be in each other’s weddings…no matter what. More than thirty years later, these Southern friends-for-life are still making “the long walk” for each other, determined to honor that vow. Hop on this marriage-go-round for a laugh-out-loud journey with these beleaguered bridesmaids as they navigate the choppy waters of love and matrimony. Libby Ruth, Deedra, Monette and Charlie are committed to the notion that careers, waistlines and even marriages may disappear, but real friendships last a lifetime.

The show runs May 9-17 at The Art Place Mountain View, 3330 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta 30066. Tickets are $15 in advance and $17 at the door. For more information and to purchase tickets visit our website at: www. centerstagenorth. com or call (770) 331-0079.

Article by Karen Woodford Worrall

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