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Retired educator takes on new role in '9 to 5 the Musical'
David Martin (foreground) is shown rehearsing his role of Franklin Hart Jr., the boss in the production of “9 to 5 the Musical” at the Black Box Theatre. In the back are (from left) cast member Lanetta Byrd, TheatreWorks artistic director Corbin Campbell and cast member Betty Joe Fulcher. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Sunday, June 24, 2012
By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer
David Martin, a former Henry County Schools superintendent, has a new role in the community — actor.
Martin, 59, has a starring role in TheatreWorks Community Players’ production of “9 to 5 the Musical” at the Black Box Theatre. Performances will be at 2 p.m. today and 7 p.m. June 27-30.
Martin plays Franklin Hart Jr., the boss whose character is portrayed as “a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot ... which are all the things that I am not,” Martin said. That, he added, meant he not only had to learn to act, but to be more mean as well.
From 1995 to 2001, Martin was the county school superintendent, a job that required him to be nurturing and helpful, not rude and hateful, so this is definitely a different role for him, he said.
But “I am having fun ... and I’ve had a lot of laughs doing this,” Martin said.
He also has had his debut at public singing and acting. He is the only cast member with no performing experience, he said, but he added that all of the performers have been supportive.
When Martin tried out for the part, he had to sing 16 bars of a ballad, 16 bars of an uptempo song and speak a monologue. Having never performed, Martin chose “Just a Bowl of Pinto Beans” as his ballad, which he learned in college while working at a camp for disabled youth. His uptempo song was “Get Me to the Church on Time” from “My Fair Lady,” and his monologue was titled “You Can’t Fix Stupid,” in which he talked about outrageous, funny moments that he witnessed during his 20 years as a school superintendent, he said.
Martin said he struggled through each part of the audition, but he got the part.
There are several parts of the show in which he is tied up or killed. One scene he really enjoys is when the women hook him to a garage door and he flies, he said.
Martin is passionate for the arts because he remembers being in band growing up in Culpeper County. His parents couldn’t afford for him to be in the school band, but his band director allowed him to rent an instrument for $1 a month so he could join the group, he said.
That experience “changed my life’s course,” and ever since, he has held the arts in high esteem, he said.
Martin wants to see the Martinsville community prosper and feels that the “energy here makes you want to do more,” he said.
After he left Henry County in 2001, he worked as school superintendent for Williamsburg-James City County, Fauquier County Schools and Lincoln County Schools in North Carolina. He retired three years ago and now has become an assistant professor and program coordinator for educational administration and policy studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. To do that, he has an office in Loudoun County and travels for the university while maintaining his home here.
Regardless of where he has worked since 2001, the Martinsville area is “the place we (he and his wife) wanted to come back to” once he retired, he said.
Of all the places that the couple has lived, Martinsville was the most unique because “the people here are very resilient, open, friendly and honest ... that’s where we wanted to come back to,” Martin added.
As the school superintendent, he felt like he was giving back and making a difference in the community, but after he retired, he was trying to figure out how he could still contribute.
That’s when he decided to become a member of the Piedmont Arts Association board again, he said, adding that he was a member while he was superintendent here.
As a result, Martin is in charge of fundraising, and he was coordinator of the Piedmont Arts’ Dancing for the Arts presentation in April, which raised more than $49,000. The money benefits PAA’s educational programs at the city schools, county schools and Carlisle School.
With Dancing for the Arts, he wanted to put the spotlight on PAA and what it has to offer in hopes of getting more people interested in visiting the gallery, he said.
Through Piedmont Arts, he found out about TheatreWorks.
While he was interim county schools superintendent last year, the PAA board members went to the Black Box Theatre for a preview of the shows that were scheduled for this year. That is when Martin found out about “9 to 5 the Musical,” he said.
However, at the time, “I never thought of doing anything like this (becoming an actor).”
Tickets for the musical cost $15. Call 632-3221 or visit www.twcp.net to purchase tickets. The Black Box Theatre is at 44 Franklin St., Martinsville.