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Meet the Team – Arsenic and Old Lace

Meet the Director

Ray Hatch is the director of Arsenic and Old Lace; he brings over 40 years experience to OVT as a director, choreographer, actor, and dancer. 

First off, what’s the draw for you personally in Arsenic and Old Lace?  What made you say yes to directing?

I didn’t say “yes” to directing the piece; I pretty much selected myself.  When I was told by my dear friend Nancy Johnson Jones (Abby) that she was going to be doing the play w/our mutual friend, Susan Thornton (Martha), I asked right then and there if they had selected a director yet and when Nancy said that they hadn’t, I simply told her to stop looking. I chose Arsenic and Old Lace more for the chance to work w/these two wonderful actors in one place at the same time rather than the piece itself; also knowing that they would bring their roles to life in a way that would blow us all away.

Explain your background in theatre? Or just in general?

Explain my background in the theatre…okay, I’ll try to make this as brief as possible. I was an art student in school and I was connected to theatre only because I used to illustrate the program covers for the school productions.  For one show, I was asked if I’d be interested in doing props.  I thought, “what the heck” and said yes; LOVED it!!! One day after school, I went home and got one of those “you-don’t-know-me-but…” calls.  It was the resident choreographer of The Columbia School of Theatrical Arts in Columbia, MD.  Unbeknownst to me, a young lady, whose talent I had a major crush on, had recommended me to them for their production of The Me Nobody Knows.  I couldn’t believe it.  This young lady who I so admired had recommended little ole me for a role at her theatre school.  I went up, I auditioned, I got in and that started my theatre career.  I was 18 years old.

Soon after that, I became one of the original members of the Young Columbians; (pictured to the right at the White House performing for Jimmy Carter) a touring group who eventually had four shows in our repertoire. In the Winter of ’79, the proprietor of The Columbia School of Theatrical Arts opened a theatre: Toby’s.  I choreographed the very first show that opened the theatre in the Winter of 1979 which was Godspell; I worked there off and on for decades. I got my union card at Olney Theatre in a production of The Boy from Syracuse in the role of Dromio of Ephesus. Soon my other half got cast at Disney and we relocated to Orlando where I became the original Wolf-E in The Beetlejuice Graveyard Review.  That was fun for a minute.

I became a director in ’94 and was offered the chance to direct a production of Spunk by George C. Wolfe. I was hooked. I began directing any and everything I could get my hands on. I was able to use my Equity card a few times while there with productions of Jesus Christ Superstar (left) and Ain’t Misbehavin’; the latter in which I’ve performed a record 15 times in different places all over the United States and on tours. I’ve learned that it’s very difficult to direct and perform in the same show because as the director, you cannot ‘see’ what you bring to the production.  I’ve done so much theatre that I very rarely list my credits in my bios anymore because space is always so limited and it’s all so cliche.  I’ve done a couple of shows at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre as well; Gifts of the Magi in which I played the role of Soapy Smith, Canterbury Tales and a couple of staged readings; Great Again;  and Chai, written by DC Cathro.

For the past 12 years, I’ve been directing and choreographing the annual musicals (as well as other stage productions) at Loyola-Blakefield Preparatory School in Towson.

How have you worked with OVT before and are you excited to be back?

OMG YES!!!!!  I did Driving Miss Daisy three summers ago with Nancy Johnson Jones as Daisy, her son Eric Jones as Daisy’s son Boolie and Susan Thornton as our director.  OVT gave me my very first theatre role in the fair little city and I will always be grateful for that because Daisy has been a show I had been wanting to do since I was half as old as I am now and since the character ages from 60 to 85; being 58 was the perfect time in my life to go for it.  It feels right to be getting the chance to direct here.

How is it working with the staff at OVT and the cast of Arsenic and Old Lace?

I think everyone is tremendously talented and we have a wonderful mix of actors who have been in the business for a very long time, as I have along w/a few who a bit newer to performing on the stage.

Do you have a cooky aunt? Or any other family member?

No: unfortunately, all my aunts on both sides of my family have all passed.  Folk were a lot older then and I am probably about the same age as Abby and Martha.  I’m certainly around the same age as the actors playing them and we’re all a lot younger now than they were then.

And some quick-fire questions:

Wine of choice? Pretty much anything red

How do you feel about big lapels? LOVE them!!!!!

Ever visited the Panama Canal? Nope

Favorite 1940’s movie? Practically anything starring my all-time classic movie actor, Miss Bette Davis would pretty much be a favorite.

Past Shows

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