Tracey Buckmaster Graham
Many stage actors got their start in theatre to overcome shyness. Others fell into performing because they are natural entertainers.
Tracey Buckmaster Graham falls into the latter category.
“I think I started singing as soon as I could talk,” she says. “I loved watching shows at a very young age and loved doing little shows in grade school.”
Her first community theatre production was the Center Stage production of Carousel in 1988. She was 12 years old and full of self confidence. She had been singing solos in her school’s church choir since elementary school, and she has cultivated a strong alto belt over the years, studying for a short time with Stephen Sheftz.
As much as she loves acting and singing, the daycare director and single mother of three hasn’t taken time out for her passion in several years. Her last production was Arena Dinner Theatre’s 2007 production of Nunsensations (she has played Sr. Robert Anne in several “Nunsense” incarnations around town). But this summer she has returned to the Civic Theatre stage after a six-year absence (she also played a nun in that production, The Sound of Music).
In her current show, Les Misérables, she makes a departure from her sisterly duties by playing a variety of roles as a featured ensemble player.
Although she loves everything about performing and entertaining, she takes the work seriously. “[The biggest challenge] is knowing whether I’m making the best choice in how I deliver my character,” she says. “I’m a pleaser, so I probably worry too much about what the audience will think about my performance.”
She also worried about spending enough time with her kids. “I wanted to do a summer show because I would still get to spend time with my kids while they weren’t in school,” she says. “My parents have helped a lot and they were the ones encouraging me to get involved in theatre again.”
The extra effort has been worth it. “Just being back on the stage has been great,” she says, “but working for [director] Greg Stieber and [music director] Eunice Wadewitz and with this amazing cast and crew has been one of the most rewarding theatre experiences I have ever had.”
Graham would love to pass the legacy on to her kids, but she isn’t sure they will follow in her footsteps.
“My kids love sports, which boggles my mind,” she laughs. “They enjoy watching theatre and sing along when I play show tunes. My older two [Katie, 12; and Isaiah, 11] have lovely voices, but it doesn’t interest them. There is still hope for my youngest [Levi, 8], but I’m not sure about his singing voice yet. I am hoping to get him into Fort Wayne Youtheatre to see if it is something that he might enjoy.”
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Josh Johnson — Comedy at Calhoun Street Soups, Salads & Spirits, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., $10, (260) 456-7005
Vince Gill — Country at Embassy Theatre, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., $39.50-$79.50, 424-5665
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Community Orchestra — Mussorsky's Pictures at an Exhibition at Auer Performance Hall, Rhinehart Music Center, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 7:30 p.m., $4-$7, 481-6555
Open Mic Night — Variety at Checkerz Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 7-10 p.m., no cover, 489-0286
Scratch N Sniff 2.0 w/1/4 Kit Kurt — Variety at Deer Park Irish Pub, Fort Wayne, 6:30-8 p.m., no cover, 432-8966
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Fort Wayne Karaoke — Karaoke at Latch String Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 483-5526
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/TJ — Variety at Office Tavern, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., no cover, 478-5827
Three Rivers Karaoke w/Rob — at Wrigley Field Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 485-1038
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41st SOCA Student Exhibition — Works from students currently enrolled at USF’s School of Creative Arts, daily thru April 30, Weatherhead Gallery, USF Rolland Art Center, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Fort Wayne Artist Guild Exhibitions — Works by Alice Siefert at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Jennifer Caudel at Allen County Retinal Surgeons, Anita Trick, Citizens Square (2nd and 3rd floors), Darlene Selzer Miller at The Einhaus Group for Women’s Health, Patricia Weiss at Heritage of Fort Wayne, Emily Jane Butler at Ophthalmology Consultants (Southwest), Linda Binek at Ophthalmology Consultants (North), Carolyn Stachera at Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne, John Kelty at ResCare Inc. Adult Day Service, Wiletta Blevins at Town House Retirement, Karen Bixler at Visiting Nurse Hospice and Barb Yoder and Karen Harvey at Will Jewelers, thru April 30, fortwayneartistguild.org.
Glass: A Medium in Art and Automobiles — Dale Chihuly blown glass and fiberglass auto, daily thru Sept. 8, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, Auburn, $7.50-$12.50, 925-1444
Outdoor Sculpture Invitational — Fifteen outdoor sculptures from regional artists, daily thru April 30, School of Creative Arts campus, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Rhoda Gerig: The Hope of Eagles — Photographic images of eagles, daily thru June 4, Clark Gallery, Honeywell Center, Wabash, 563-1102
Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition — Exhibition of works by IPFW graduation seniors, daily thru May 3 , Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery, Main Library, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, 481-6709
Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition — Senior thesis projects from Bachelor of Fine Arts candidates Brenda Drayer (sculpture), Derek Hibbs (printmaking), Ellen Mensch (painting), Nathaniel Morris (sculpture) and Kyle Snodgrass (sculpture), daily thru May 7, Visual Arts Gallery, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 481-6709