From the Press

Community theater a legacy for the Moore men

By Caitlyn Bahrenburg

The Coast Star

 Spring Lake – According to thespian Doug Moore, actors are born, not made.  And in the Moore lineage, three actors were born in succession.  Following in the footsteps of his late father, Edwin Moore, Doug Moore, 62, of Brick, is about to perform in his 77th show at the Spring Lake Community Theatre, and his 10th show performing alongside his son, Ian Moore, 31.

“It’s always great to have your child sort of want to be you,” Doug Moore said with a smile. Three generations of Moore men have performed at the theater. That Doug Moore followed in his father’s footsteps is sheer serendipity. When Doug Moore, a Point Pleasant native, began taking his son to the Community Theatre for dance classes in 1990, he was unaware that his father had performed in that very building.

“I honestly didn’t know that much about his theater history while I was growing up ad later we didn’t talk that much about it,” he recalled. Several years and shows later, Doug Moore discovered article clippings documenting his father’s theatrical past.

Born in 1909, Edwin Moore’s theater days began with the arts programs that were encouraged during the Great Depression.  After serving in World War II, Edwin Moore settled in Point Pleasant and began acting locally.  Soon his amateur nterest brought him to the stage of the Spring Lake Community Theatre. Little did he know that decades later, his own son and grandson would also take the stage.

Doug Moore began acting in kindergarten and continued through to his high school years when he was actively involved in the Manasquan High School drama club. During his sophomore year, he decided to pursue theater professionally, and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree from the Boston Conservatory of Music where he specialized in musical theater and acting.  Doug Moore’s professional theater career began in dinner theaters in Boston and eventually led him to Chamber Theatre Productions, which toured the country.  He later worked with the Performing Arts Repertory Theatre and TheatreWorks, but soon found work hard to come by.

“Working in professional theater is brutal,” Doug Moore said.  “You can’t get work, when you do it’s not always what you want but you take what you can get. You always worry about the next job,” he added. Despite receiving a positive review from his director while working with Classic Stage Company he was not asked back for the next season, and Doug Moore began to reconsider his career path.

“You think to yourself, ‘I did that well and I can’t continue to work there, this does not bode well for continued employment.’ So I made a decision to do something different and just sort of picked law school,” he said.

Thus, his hiatus from acting began. Doug Moore graduated from Rutgers-Newark Law School in 1983 and went on to work for Block Drugs in Jersey City for 12 years. Though he was no longer on stage, law fulfilled his lust for theatrics.

“Acting skills are very important in the law when you’re dealing with clients, with other lawyers, with the judge. I don’t do court that often anymore but when I do it’s always a performance to me, Doug Moore said.

Yet he could not mute the call of the theater. Doug Moore would often drive Ian Moore, who was 4-years-old at the time, to dance classes at the Community Theatre. Not long after, Doug Moore joined an adult tap class.

“My first performance was in a dance recital,” he recalled. Now, 26 years later, Doug Moore has performed in 76 shows with the Community Theatre, toting Ian Moore with him along the way.

“Even if I wasn’t in a show and [Ian] wasn’t, he would come with me. He turned into sort of a theater mouse,” Doug Moore said. Doug Moore has graced the stage as the Ghost of Christmas Present in a production of “Scrooge,” transformed into Henry Higgins in “My Fair Lady” three times and had the opportunity to play Sherlock Holmes, among a laundry list of other characters.

Though he is no stranger to a serious role, it is the humor and lightheartedness of the theater that draws Doug Moore to the stage.

“I’ve been doing this a very long time, really more than 50 years. I’ve never been one of those people who gets nervous about performing or gets my head overly into it like it’s so serious. In professional theatre, that was one of the downsides, there were so many people that had no sense of humor. Here, there’s a sense of humor,” Dough Moore said about the Community Theatre.

“You would be surprised how you’re on stage one moment, in the throws of a dramatic scene, and you walk off stage and stick your tongue out at somebody and laugh at a joke. A lot of that goes on around here. Fun and positive is the spirit of this theater. That’s what we like to do,” he said.

For his 77th how, Mr. Moore will take the stage as Harry Dangle in the Community Theatre’s production of “One Man, Two Guvnors” beginning Feb. 26.

“You see the humor there,” he said with a laugh. Ian Moore will act alongside him as Stanley Stabbers in the theater where he has spent so much of his life.

“Getting to perform with my father is always fun because over the years we’ve both developed a pretty good rapport with each other,” Ian Moore said. Ian and Dough have played a variety of roles in dynamics, from father and son to rivals after the same girl.

“It’s always fun to play with your dad like that. It’s basically like grownup make believe,” Ian Moore said. Similar to his father, Ian Moore received a bachelor’s degree in theater from Marymount Manhattan College and now serves as the theater director at Long Branch High School.

Though Ian Moore comes from a family of performers, he said he never felt pressure to enter the business.

“I think that made me want to do it more,” he said. “[Acting] was just a part of growing up. When it’s around you, you just sort of pick it up.” Ian Moore has also directed several plays at the Community Theatre, about five of which featured his father.

“My father was a professional actor for a long time, he’s very good at what he does…As a director using him, I let him do his thing a lot of the time,” Ian Moore said. Though Ian Moore would hardly describe his family’s history at the Community House as a legacy, the Moore men have decades of collective history performing on the theater’s stage.

According to Doug Moore, that history will not be ending soon. When sked if he would continue acting after “One Man, Two Guvnors,” Doug Moore replied, “Until I’m dead.”

“When you’re an actor,” he added, “it’s what you always are.”