The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Dorothy McReynolds
TCTs Chair of Publicity 

Interview with Alex Zonn, president of Tehachapi Community Theater

TCT Spotlight

 

Alex Zonn

My interview with Alex Zonn, president of Tehachapi Community Theater (TCT), took place while Zonn was directing "A Doll's House" by Henrik Ibsen, which opened Friday, May 5, at the BeeKay Theatre.

When I first met Alex last year, we were preparing for TCT's annual Playwrights Festival. I wasn't ready to hear Zonn's voice. His distinctive pitch goes from a resounding depth reaching the furthest person in the back row of a theater to a tone that comforts the tiniest child a foot away.

How did TCT inherit this stage and screen legend? Let me invite you to share in a tiny slice of Zonn's journey. A path leading to roles in "Bay Watch," "Dr. Quinn - Medicine Woman," "Mad TV" and "General Hospital"; to his first movie, "Fist" with Sylvester Stallone (1978), to "Night of the Running Man" (1995), "Boris" (2002) and "Rancid" (2004).

Although from a theatrical family back to his great grandmother and grandfather, DNA didn't bring Zonn to the stage. Perhaps theater was alive within, but it wasn't birthed until he was 22 when he took a fancy to radio. His instructor at Moorpark College suggested he audition for "Pfeiffer's People."

"With that multiple role" said Zonn, "I knew I was home. That's when the magic began."

That single moment of enchantment sparked Zonn's drive for higher goals, and after graduating from the University of Minnesota, he worked with an Iowa touring company, taking the lead in their main show, "The Good Doctor," along with three other shows.

Zonn then moved to L.A. in the late 1970s to seek out TV and movies. "I had work," said Zonn, "but it wasn't what I hoped for; it seemed that everyone else knew how to do life. I remember wishing there was a 'how to manual'. I still think that sometimes."

Zonn said he did well through the 1990s.

"My wife and I ran an actors workshop, and we worked with casting directors. That's when many of the television and movie roles were generated."

When his wife died in 2000, Zonn said he sought other paths.

"Through a friend, I began exploring Tehachapi. When I discovered TCT, I auditioned and I was home again. It was while I was playing "Sweeney Todd" in 2008, that I moved to Tehachapi. By this time, I had met and married my lovely wife, Kris Zonn - a new love story began."

Zonn holds up a photo of his in-home recording studio with state-of-the-art recording equipment.

"I've recently been doing audio books; just completed my 24th," said Zonn. "I like doing good stories where people can enjoy escaping."

Asked if he had a favorite one, Zonn replied, "I can't limit it to one, but if something I do can bring good into someone's world, that would be my idea of the best part of life."

Alex Zonn in "The Good Doctor"

Watching Zonn direct, makes one wonder how he combines intensity for the work with an easy open approach to the players. He encourages actors to bring their own perspective, and once that authentic character emerges, Zonn locks it in.

Children love him, seasoned actors respect him and novice actors find they can trust him.

Asked what he would like people to know about "A Doll's House," Zonn replied, "Basically, even though the play did become an indictment against marital norms in the late 19th century, if you can get past that theme, it becomes a portrayal of humanity, where we need to find out who we are, and then strive to become that person."

A play worth seeing, don't you think?

So, Alex Zonn? On stage - bold, full-force, brilliant. Off stage - a benevolent human being, who seems to enjoy shining the light on others.

For a sample of Zonn's work, visit audioboom.com/alexzonn and IMDB.com (Alex Zonn).

 
 

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