Putney native credits TV career to local nurturing of the arts | The Brattleboro Reformer

By Nancy A. Olson, correspondent of the reformer

PUTNEY: Some individuals discover the fervour of their lives from the start. That's true for Bob Gustafson, son of Paul and Karen Gustafson, who grew up in Putney and knew on the age of 5 that he liked appearing.

Now, after 18 years away, Bob Gustafson, an award-winning producer of actuality tv reveals in Los Angeles, has returned to the world and will be seen in the neighborhood theater manufacturing of the Amherst (Massachusetts) Leisure Providers Matilda the Musical by Roald Dahl. , "as Mr. Wormwood, Matilda's father.

Gustafson's spectacle world journey started within the early 1980s on the MAD (Music, Artwork and Drama) camp, run by the Brattleboro Music Heart.

"I caught the appearing error there once I was 5 years outdated and performed the fisherman's spouse within the folks story of & # 39; The fisherman and his spouse & # 39;" he mentioned. "I used to be sporting a gown and I spoke loudly."

Gustafson mentioned it was an awesome ham and that he liked appearing for his mother and father' pals. On the Putney Grammar College, he centered so much on the humanities.

"I used to be singing, Mary Cay Brass was the music trainer and she or he was appearing," she mentioned. "In sixth grade, I performed Geppetto within the manufacturing of the varsity of & # 39; Pinocchio & # 39 ;, and the next yr I used to be Huck Finn in & # 39; Massive River & # 39;. In eighth grade I used to be a part of the quartet of barbershop in & # 39; The Music Man & # 39 ;. "

His appearing profession continued in group theater and on the Vermont Academy.

"My father directed me in & # 39; A Thousand Clowns & # 39; once I was in ninth grade," Gustafson mentioned. "I used to be in works directed by Betty Greenhoe. At Vermont Academy I used to be on a program each semester, working with Falko Shilling. I used to be additionally the VA mascot, the & # 39; Wildcat & # 39;".

For 2 summers throughout highschool, and a further summer season earlier than going to school, Gustafson did an internship on the Saxtons River Playhouse, below the path of Shilling.

"The schedule was brutal," he mentioned. "We did 5 reveals in 10 weeks. Younger theater professionals from all over the place have been members of the corporate."

Gustafson constructed units and took part within the weekly kids's present and within the "Broadway a la carte" cabarets after the presentation.

"The summer season after my first yr of faculty, I turned a full member of the corporate, and I turned a type of artists I had been admiring," Gustafson continued. "That's the place I acquired my theater legs."

At Boston College, Gustafson specialised in movie and tv. Along with appearing because the mascot of BU, Rhett the Terrier, and in his final yr as Blades, the mascot of the Boston Bruins, he additionally sang in a cappella group and acted in a number of college productions.

"In faculty, I found that my degree of expertise within the theater was uncommon," he mentioned. "I assumed everybody had these alternatives. I didn't know he was unique to southern Vermont."

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Gustafson had aspirations for Broadway. He did a two-man comedy present together with his good friend Aaron Kaburick, who has adopted a profitable appearing profession. Reluctantly, Gustafson realized that his future within the leisure world was elsewhere.

"I modified the main focus," Gustafson mentioned. "I moved to Los Angeles and have become a actuality tv assistant. The one present I acted in was performed for enjoyable, whereas the opposite actors have been attempting to make their profession a efficiency. I took improvisation lessons at The Groundlings Theater. & College, and I did on the degree of the Writing Lab. I discovered the fundamentals of improvisation, fell in love with the artwork type and was a member of three completely different teams throughout my years in Los Angeles. "

To earn cash, Gustafson started working as a producer on actuality reveals.

"I wished motion," he mentioned. "I wished to work. My first job as a producer was for" American Idol Additional, "the official behind-the-scenes program. After two seasons, they requested me to affix the primary program."

His profession as a producer developed quickly. He labored on quite a few actuality reveals, together with "The Glass Home", "Hell & # 39; s Kitchen" and the DIY Community patio renovation sequence, "I Hate My Yard". He launched a New Media firm known as "Area Shank Media," which made award-winning on-line content material. He obtained Emmy nominations for "Construct Small, Dwell Wherever" and "Dwelling and Household," the day by day speak present for Hallmark Channel.

In 2005, he met his spouse, Melissa, who’s from Philadelphia.

"A good friend of mine had tickets to a boxing occasion that was for & # 39; The Contender & # 39 ;, a actuality boxing present produced by Sylvester Stallone, and he requested me if I wished to go," Gustafson mentioned. "Melissa had a good friend who invited her to the present and informed her that she would meet Stallone. Being from Philadelphia, she loves & # 39; Rocky & # 39 ;, so she was delighted. Our seats have been subsequent to one another. As a substitute from Stallone, she met me. Between the fourth and fifth fights, I invited her out. In 2010, we acquired married. "

His son was born in 2012 and his daughter in 2016.

"The second we began having kids, LA modified for us," Gustafson mentioned. "As soon as there have been kids, I didn't have time for impartial parallel tasks. Or if I assumed them, it was on the expense of being a father. We realized that we wished to decelerate and give attention to our household, so we moved again to the east coast final September. We wished our kids to spend extra time with their grandparents. "

Per week after transferring to Amherst, Gustafson sought to affix a group theater group and found that Amherst Leisure Providers Group Theater was auditioning for his manufacturing of Roald Dahl's "Matilda the Musical." He left and, in a number of days, he was provided the function of Mr. Wormwood.

"He’s a used automotive salesman, detached, somewhat naive and fully unsuitable," Gustafson mentioned. "It's a very good half. It's callous, however he does it in such a enjoyable and endearing method. And his character experiences a change."

Gustafson mentioned it was good to know his new group and be a part of the theatrical course of.

"I can lastly do theater once more for enjoyable," he mentioned. "It's like a dream come true".

The manufacturing in group theater of Amherst Leisure Providers of "Roald Dahl & # 39; s Matilda The Musical" runs from at present, till Sunday, January 19 and Thursday, January 23 till Sunday, January 26, on the Bowker Auditorium in Stockbridge Corridor, on campus. from the College of Massachusetts in Amherst. To purchase tickets on-line, go to alsct.org or name 413-259-3065.

Nancy A. Olson, a frequent contributor to The Reformer, will be reached at olsonnan47@gmail.com.

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