Husband-and-wife duo Bob and Wendy Moore bring theater lineage to Summit County
Freud’s Last Session
When: Tuesday through Sunday, March 6 to 29 (times vary)
Where: 176 Lake Dillon Drive in Dillon
Cost: $30 to $33 for adults, $22 for students, $13 for children
To buy tickets or find out more about the show, see the Lake Dillon Theatre Company website at http://www.lakedillontheatre.org.
If you have the chance to grab lunch with Bob and Wendy Moore, feel free to sit back, relax and simply listen.
On a warm and sunny March afternoon, the husband and wife from Glenwood Springs sat down at Ruby Tuesday in Dillon for a laid-back meal. They’d just wrapped up with dress rehearsal for the latest Lake Dillon Theatre Company production, “Freud’s Last Session,” and within seconds of ordering, the two begin playing off each other like theatrical pinballs.
“I think Wendy and I are on the same page when it comes to accents,” says Bob, who stars as an elderly Sigmund Freud opposite a young C.S. Lewis, played by company executive director Joshua Blanchard. Wendy is director for the production, and as such, her mind is constantly swimming with little details not quite written into the script: the effect cancer had on an 83-year-old Freud, the effect converting from atheism to Christianity had on Lewis, the effect World War II had on both on the eve of Britain’s declaration of war and, of course, those finicky accents.
“Accents are important as far as making the audience believe that’s the ethnicity of the character, but if the accent gets in the way, if it takes away from the character, that’s when you run into issues,” Bob continues, then pauses. “You just want … I’m not sure how to describe it, but you don’t want to draw attention to the accent. You just want …”
“The hint of an accent,” Wendy says, more of a statement than an answer.
“Exactly, the hint of an accent,” Bob says and smiles at his wife. She chuckles lightly.
“God, we’ve been married a long time.”
THEATER IN THEIR BLOOD
For more than four decades, Bob and Wendy have been an inseparable force in the theater world, flitting from professional gigs in St. Louis to frequent community theater appearances across Colorado.
The two met at the Heritage Square Opera House outside of Denver. Bob, a Colorado native, had just finished a stint in the Marine Corps and was performing in productions when he almost accidentally ran into Wendy, a Wisconsin transplant who was “slinging pitchers of beer” as a waitress at the Square.
“I was slinging lots of pitchers of beer,” Wendy reiterates between bites of salad. “I could at one time could carry four all at once. Neither of us are really beer drinkers anymore.”
“I’ve preferred whiskey for a while,” Bob notes. But has Wendy lost a talent for slinging Coors Light?
“Yes, it’s a lost skill, but it’s not quite missed,” she says.
Shortly after finding each other at the opera house, the Moores spent a brief stint in St. Louis on the professional theater circuit, but when they decided it was time to start a family, they returned to Colorado. Wendy had been enamored of the state since visiting at 12 years old, and Bob was more than happy to return home.
“When I first saw Colorado, I thought, ‘This is so much prettier than Milwaukee, Wisconsin — as soon as I can get out of here I will,’” Wendy says.
After leaving their respective theater careers to raise a family, Wendy soon found a job as a combination theater and English teacher at Thornton High School north of Denver, while Bob, a self-described handyman, began dabbling in the construction industry.
But the theater bug was alive and well. When their two daughters were ready for school, the family moved from the Front Range to Dillon, where they lived and worked and performed for 20 years until more temperate climates in the Roaring Fork Valley called them away in 1998.
After 20 years in Dillon, Bob and Wendy credit the theater company and community at large for keeping their love of performance alive and well. It runs in the family: Youngest daughter Missy Moore now lives in Denver and recently finished a run as Myrtle Mae Simmons in the Arvada Center production of “Harvey,” while eldest daughter Mandy Moore (her Twitter account is @nopenother) is a Los Angeles choreographer who’s worked on “So You Think You Can Dance?,” “Dancing with the Stars” and, perhaps her most notable gig, the final dance number in “Silver Linings Playbook.”
“She got to dance with Bradley Cooper, and she will tell you he is just as good looking in person,” Wendy says in a wistful, far-off way, drawing Bob’s attention away from his lunch.
“She also has her own office,” Bob says with a chuckle, shortly before Wendy joins with a laugh of her own.
BEYOND THE STAGE
By this point, Bob and Wendy have been in nearly 100 productions together, although both admit they can’t quite remember the exact number. They tried to count one time, but quickly gave up — what’s the point, Bob figured, when the two simply enjoy the process of performing?
“He’s really good,” Wendy says. “When I have him in a show, I know I have an ace. If everything else falls apart, I know there is a way I can save it because I have him, and he’s good.”
Then Wendy quickly tells her husband that he doesn’t need to pay her a compliment simply because she paid him one. He mulls it over for a second.
“Working together has its ups and its downs, but you know what, we’re still married — 42 years now,” Bob says.
“Divorce is costly,” Wendy says, almost to herself.
“In more ways than one,” her husband replies, yet there’s no chuckle this time. He’s serious, and so is she. After decades of building a family around shared passion for performance, the two truly are on the same wavelength.
Well, at least on stage and at home. Wendy admits she doesn’t like cooking — “But I had kids, so I cooked for most of my life,” she says — but when it comes to Bob’s latest part-time gig as a school-bus driver, she can’t quite see eye to eye.
“I just love kids,” Bob explains.
“Not always,” Wendy says, almost overlapped with Bob’s next statement: “Well, most of the time I love them.”
Without pause, Wendy lapses into actress mode.
“What are you doing crawling over the seat?” she says to imaginary schoolchildren. “Why didn’t your parents dress you this morning?”
It draws another laugh from Bob. The laughter is a sort of shared language: He begins, she joins in, and the two sound like one in the same.
“I just like to stay busy,” Bob says. “I wouldn’t want the moss to grow on me.”
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