Welcome to Day 20 of the Flat Rock Playhouse 30 Day Challenge and to the third Women Who Rock post. Each Wednesday, we’ll spotlight an influential woman of the Flat Rock Theatre, introducing you to an old friend or to someone new who has made or continues to make a difference. Linda Edwards Campbell is a verstile actress portraying leading lady roles from musical theatre to comedy. She can do it all!
Linda Edwards Campbell
1. When did you first come to FRP?
My first season at Flat Rock was the summer of 1988. I have been here most every season since, except for a couple of years I was touring in Europe, and then the year my son was born. This is my 25th year!
2. What brought you here?
My brother Jason was directing Pump Boys & Dinettes, and since we had been in the long running Chicago production together the year before, he asked me to come and play Prudie in that production. I was aware of the reputation of the State Theatre, but up until then, not many musicals had been done here. I had been performing mainly opera and musical theatre, and knew when Robin started doing musicals, I might have the chance to work for him.
3. First memories?
I remember the family atmosphere of this place, and the feeling of comraderie and teamwork that existed. It was a happy place, where everyone wanted to return.
4. Most astounding moment of your career/time at FRP?
There are two: My favorite role was Florence Foster Jenkins in the 2007 production of Souvenir. Paige and Robin called me, saying that it was a tour de force and a perfect vehicle for me. It was the last role I did for Robin, and I would see him slip into the back of the house at every performance. Souvenir has become a signature piece. I have done it several times since, and am in negotiations for another production later this year.
The other defining moment was being cast by Vincent in The Civil War in 2010, and his asking me to put together a show of Richard Rodgers for the ‘Music on the Rock’ series. Through both, I met Mike Eldred, who not only wrote and directed my cabaret, The Music of Rodgers, Hammerstein and Hart, but also co-produced my newest CD, with another in the works for next year.
5. Who influenced you most at FRP?
So many have influenced me! The obvious is Robin Farquhar, that rare producer who was also caring and loyal – a true gentleman. Bridget Bartlett was the consummate costumer, life coach, and wise friend. I am a better actor because I watched Scott, Peter, and Janie, Michael O. Smith, Kim Cozort, and Wayne Tetrick, Terry Loughlin, Marcy, and Ralph. I knew I could depend on Paige, George, Amy, Paul, Johanna, and Billy. And Vincent has given me opportunities that I had not had here before.
6. Advice for women coming up in the FRP ranks?
Listen to the veterans. Seek out those older actors and technicians who have had careers elsewhere, and encourage them to talk. Everyone has a story, a history, a wealth of experiences and valuable lessons learned – so much more than credits on a resume. And… enjoy this little piece of heaven!