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Grease is the word

EU grad has lead in Stockton Civic musical

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POSTED September 8, 2012 1:16 a.m.

Ian Trueb always looked at television and movies a little bit differently.

Even as a young child he could discern that an actor playing a character in one show was different than the same actor playing somebody totally different in another – something that initially confused him but ended up as a building block for his career.

Now he’s getting a chance to play one of the coolest, cockiest and toughest characters ever to hit to performance stage – Grease’s Danny Zuko.

After months of rehearsing, the Stockton Civic Theater is now officially presenting their fall run of one of the most beloved theatrical productions of all time.

While he loves the role, Trueb is quick to point out that it isn’t the bubble gum, tongue-in-cheek style production that people have come to expect from the movie but a testament to the issues of the time – a gritty, realistic look that’s based off of the original Broadway production that really examines issues like gangs and teen pregnancy.

“I’ve always liked the play and the movie and it’s a really fun character,” said the East Union alum. “I played the same role during my senior year of high school so I’m somewhat familiar with it.

“I’m usually a pretty shy and reserved individually and Danny is a cocky and confident ladies’ man so it’s a chance to step outside of that box a little bit, which is good.”

But unlike traditional performers, Trueb has an extended background in film, production and the performing arts – earning his degree from the Los Angeles Film School in 2009 and founding Backyard Studios shortly thereafter.

Since then, as the CEO, he has taken on business partners and grown the small company to land a variety of commercials for local companies that earned awards – putting Los Angeles production quality on local advertisements that he felt were somewhat lacking at the time.

“I had a lot of friends that were in Los Angeles at the time that were working professionals and I saw an opportunity right here in the Central Valley,” Trueb said. “The goal was to bring that Hollywood essence here and provide an affordable rate and give people the chance to show what it is they have to offer through a profession lens.”

It was that business experience that allowed him to sit on the opposite end of the table during auditions. It is something that he’s absolutely sure helped him when he would go for parts and when he decided that the lead in the Stockton Civic Theater’s production is something he wanted to tackle.

Knowing what it is that the director wants in a given character and what it is they’re looking for, he said, helped him hone his skills down into what he believed the lead part would represent – something that obviously impressed those that were calling the shots.

“Having been on the opposite end of that table makes it a lot easier for me to understand what it is that they’re looking for in terms of what an actor can bring to a character and how well they interact with the cast and the crew,” he said. “

“It’s a question of can we get along? Can we put on a good show? The professionalism of the actors and he crew is a major focus.

“It gives me a bigger sense of discipline for the craft and what it represents.”

And waiting was never part of the equation after he first went in to show his skills and his knowledge of both the character and the production itself.

He got his first callback the night he initially auditioned, and got offered the part the following day.

Danny Zuko was officially his new character.

“It’s just a fun show and you can really see that through all of the other actors that are performing. They’re having fun in the process,” he said. “On our preview night from what I could see through the stage lights, the audience had wide eyes and big smiles – enjoying the fast paced and funny raw style of the show.

“It’s really a production that reverts back to its original roots – about the issues that the kids had to face and coming into your own. I think it’s something that people are going to like.”

The Stockton Civic Theater is located at 2312 Rosemarie Lane in Stockton. The show will run through Sept. 30 from Thursday through Sunday. Curtain on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday is a 2:30 p.m. matinee. Tickets are $25 for adults, $21 for adults and $15 for kids and students with a valid ID. For addition information contact the Stockton Civic Theater Box Office at (209) 473-2424 or visit www.

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