Spotlight on ... Ray Baltzer!

Ray Baltzer, a talented actor and true gentleman, is the recipient of today’s “Spotlight!”

Ray first became involved with QAAW five years ago. “I first got involved with Quick As A Wink in 2011 when Toven MacLean, who had seen me perform in Fezziwig, asked me if I would like to play the part of Mr. Lawrence in Little Women. I was very happy to do that and had a wonderful experience with that show, which has led to many more. The following year, I played Robert, the butler in Jane Eyre, and the next year I was Abner Dillon in 42nd Street, a wonderful show which was very well received. In 2014, it was The Secret Garden, in which I played the old Yorkshire gardener, Ben Witherspoon, and then last year I played King Max in CinderellaThis year, it was Annie, and I was asked to play three different roles: Lieutenant Ward, the NYC Cop in the first act, then Fred McCracken, the ventriloquist, in the entre act, and finally President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Act 2.”

Most recently, Ray took the stage as Grimsby in our production of The Little Mermaid earlier this month. “I loved Grimsby!” he says. “He is very different from me; I love sailing and being at sea, whereas he gets seasick and hates boats and being on the water.  He’s a bit of an old snob, but a kindly one.  I also loved his dry humour, whereas there’s usually nothing dry or subtle about my humour!”

However, when it comes to his favorite roles, one part from earlier this year shines through as Ray’s favorite. “F.D.R. [from Annie] was my favorite role and most enjoyable part,” Ray says. “I spent a lot of time researching the man to get his accent, mannerisms, and look as close as I could, and I felt really good when a very elderly gentleman told me after the show one night that he had actually seen F.D.R. at a political rally in the U.S. back in the 30’s and that I looked and sounded just like him. It always pays to put some time into researching any role!”

With so many productions under his belt, it is obvious that Ray is a huge fan of the arts. “I have done over forty shows since my retirement in 1997 and have enjoyed every one of them,” he says. "There are many things I love about theatre. As a retired school principal, I love still being involved with young people and watching them grow and develop with theatre, kids like Elsa Hodder, who was just four years old when I first met her at Fezziwig; I have watched her grow and mature into a wonderful actor and fine young lady, and I could name a dozen more very easily.  I also love the friendships I have made in theatre.  As we all know, it becomes like a big extended family which grows the more years one is involved and it crosses borders between different theatre companies. And finally, I love seeing a show come alive from that first tentative rehearsal, which, through many hours of hard work becomes a wonderful show that the public can enjoy, and in which everyone involved in the production can take great pride. “

You won’t have to wait long to see Ray take the Quick As A Wink stage again; he will be performing the role of The Mysterious Man this fall in our production of Into the Woods! “I love the complexity and fancifulness of Into the Woods,” Ray says. “It means lots of challenges for all the actors and directors, costume people, stage managers, and so on.  I know from our first rehearsal that we have a very strong cast who will all face the challenges together as a team and we will end up with a wonderful show. That’s exciting!”

Ray is so active within the local theatre community that Into the Woods is not even the only show he is currently preparing for! “I am also currently in rehearsals for a play written by Allen Hume, a well-known Valley educator, actor and writer-slash-director,” he says. “It is called Creeley Mountain Law, and is best described as a crime mystery with lots of twists and turns.  My old buddy Sherry Bishop, with whom I have acted for many years and who is in the cast of Into the Woods, is also in Creeley. It is being staged by a relatively new company called The Lighthouse Theatre Company and will be opening at the Al Whittle Theatre in late November.  Beyond that, who knows [what’s next?]”

With so much on the go, it’s a wonder that Ray has time for anything else; however, he has a great number of interests outside of the arts! “I have too many hobbies,” Ray says. “I play golf all summer, curl in the winter, fish in the spring, and used to hunt a lot in the fall.  I am an antique gun collector, but not one of those crazy ones we hear about in the States!  I love to read and travel, and with two kids and four grandchildren in Ottawa and Amsterdam, we have lots of reasons to travel!”

Thank you for all your contributions to Quick As A Wink, Ray! You always add so much to our shows, and we are very excited to be working with you again during Into the Woods!

Stay tuned for more “Spotlights” on the great members of our Quick As A Wink community! New “Spotlights” are posted every Tuesday and Saturday.

Do you know someone you believe deserves to be featured in our “Spotlight on …” segment? Shoot us a message! We are always accepting nominations!