Lebowsky Center for Performing Arts
Volunteer of the Month – MARCH 2020
Audiences will recognize Frankie Nevin as a Lebowsky musical ensemble regular with a million-dollar smile, but this month’s Volunteer of the Month is much more than one of our favorite dancers. He has become a valuable multi-tasker, willing to put in long hours as each show approaches.
Since joining the cast of 9 to 5 in 2017, Frankie has appeared in every musical as well as last year’s Holiday at Lebowsky, and one play—Marvin’s Room. Frankie’s experience as a dance instructor at Karyn’s Dance Place in Holt also made him a great addition to Owosso’s Dancing with the Starz in 2017, where he served as the professional partner for two ladies, both of whom were declared winners: Judge’s Choice. (Chrisy Schemenauer) and People’s Choice (Annie Ludington).
A Holt resident, Frankie was involved in musical theater while attending Okemos High School. Some fellow cast members from OHS (Issa Rodriguez, Holden Santi, and DJ Shafer) had all made the drive to Owosso to be in Lebowsky shows, and Frankie knew he wanted to be a part of the magic. “I saw auditions on Facebook and I have always loved that soundtrack,” Frankie said. He counts 9 to 5 in his top three shows, along with Mamma Mia and Matilda.
He did manage to cut his foot open on a set piece during Mamma Mia, however. “It was a double-show day, and I cut my foot during Act 1. Nichole Brooks, who is a nurse, told me I needed to go to the ER for stitches. I did it between shows and made it back for the second show!” said Frankie.
Though musicals are his first love, he found himself onstage for the Lebowsky production of Marvin’s Room last year. “I offered to help Stephanie Banghart with the play, as I didn’t want her to feel she was doing it all alone,” Frankie said. “I thought I would just help with auditions or props, but she then asked me to read for a role. I ended up having so much fun with my part!”
In addition to sharing his talents onstage, Frankie has helped out with a variety of tasks to get ready for every show. “My schedule is fairly free, so it’s easier for me to help than other cast members who have children or daytime jobs. When I know there is stuff to do, I feel bad just sitting at home. I know others give everything they can give, and many of them have harder schedules than I do,” Frankie said. He works mostly nights, so he has the time and ability to help.
His offstage efforts earned him (along with his partner-in-all-things-theater, Taylor Engel) the Director’s Award for Cabaret. “The hardest task we took on was hanging the red curtains,” Frankie recalls. “It was part of Garrett’s vision, and he said we just had to ‘try it.’ At first it was fun, but it was a LOT of climbing up and down. We would go up to the catwalk and clip the drape, then go all the way down the balcony stairs, then all the way back up. I also didn’t realize I had this fear of heights. Taylor was trying to get me to reach over the bars to grasp something, but I could see the floor and I felt so close to falling! The floor was SO far away!”
Frankie and his fellow volunteers have pulled many all-nighters at the theater, painting or doing whatever needs to be done. Most recently, he spent a night dying canvas dance shoes and curtains for Cinderella. But Frankie always makes time for fun, attending the Lebowksy Speakeasy, the Halloween party, or any other event where he can be with his Lebowsky family. “I have done shows at other places where I had great experiences, but for me, Owosso has been the perfect fit. I was welcomed here with open arms and I’ve been given wonderful opportunities,” Frankie said. “The people in the shows here are the most talented people! I am amazed by them! It almost doesn’t feel real. It’s incredible to be a part of something so much bigger than yourself!”
Lebowsky Center for the Performing Arts thanks you, Frankie, for your talent and devotion to our mission!