Alum spotlight: R Andrew Doan (BFA ’96)

three people smiling

R Andrew Doan (BFA, Performance, 1996)

Even though Andrew was in theatre and choir throughout high school, he started looking into joining the military instead of college.  “The only thing that would keep me from joining…if the one school I wanted accepted me.” That school was VCU, and he was accepted.

When Andrew was driving down to Richmond for his interview/audition, his car overheated at the I-95 toll plaza (remember that?). He pushed the car up the ramp onto a side street, then showed up late for his audition. Richard Newdick was willing to let him audition at a later date, but Andrew insisted. He remembers, “Later, he told me that I didn’t get in because of my audition, but because of my ‘show must go on mentality.’”

Even though Andrew applied in Education, he changed over to Performance and “took every tech class I could take.” Right out of school, he became Technical Manager of the Virginia Renaissance Faire and the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Wisconsin, driving between the two of them for five years.

After that, Andrew taught at two different elementary schools in Fairfax and also headed up the theatre program for elementary level. Then in 2005, it was back to theatre as Technical Manager at Riverside Center for the Performing Arts in Fredericksburg

From Music Man at Theatre IV

Andrew married Callie, a professional singer and musical director for a local high school. They “took a blind leap” and moved to Hawaii. “We didn’t have much money and lived in a hostel before our first apartment. I waited tables until I got offered a job at Honolulu Theatre for Youth (the only professional theatre in Hawaii). They tour 11 to 13 shows a year. This wasn’t a new experience for Andrew, since he’d toured with Theatre IV and ArtReach Children’s Theatre out of Cincinnati.  “I can say that I’ve performed in 42 different states.”

His career in education continued at Castle High School, then Windward Community College (part of the University of Hawaii). Andrew is currently Technical Manager for the Mid-Pacific Institute School of the Arts, while still part time TM for Windward and serving as interim TD for Manoa Valley Theatre. Yes, that’s three 20-hour jobs. “In Hawaii, things aren’t cheap,” he explains the reason for this combo.

Andrew also discovered a unique fact about Hawaii. “On the mainland people go into theatre and audition because they need money. With the exception of HTY, no theaters in Hawaii pay actors. Even the designers and technicians are not well paid. If people aren’t interested, they don’t even come out to auditions.”

Compiled by Liz Hopper, professor emeritus, and Jerry Williams (BFA ’71) for the April 2021 Theatre Alumni Newsletter.