Powell-Skellie: You’ll leave ‘Leader’ humming the songs

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By Stephanie Doyle

Cyndi Powell-Skellie is the director of Leader of the Pack, which opens tonight at Shelby County Community Theatre. She is a veteran of many acting and directing assignments. She spoke with he Shelby On Stage blog about this show and her role, Visit www.shelbyonstage.blogspot.com.  

SHELBY ON STAGE: Have you previously directed Leader of the Pack?

CYNDI POWELL-SKELLIE:I directed LOTP in 1996 at Henry County High School. Loved every minute. The kids learned some great music and I learned pop culture history.

SOS: Where are you from?

P-S: I'm from Shelby County. My family moved here when I started the first grade in 1976. I grew up at the Shelby County Community Theatre (SCCT). It fostered my love of theater.

SOS: How did you get started as a director? Have you done any acting?

P-S: I got started as a director at SCCT. Harolyn Sharpe was head of the artistic committee. I was 23 years old and fresh out of college with a speech and theater education degree, and she asked me to direct a children's theater production. I chose Charlotte's Web, my favorite children's story. I have directed over 50 shows, some of them award-winning at the high school and community theater levels. I have acted in many community theatre productions, high school productions, Jenny Wiley Summer Theatre and the Stephen Foster Summer Musical.

SOS: What led you to direct, or want to direct, Leader of the Pack?

P-S: My husband loves this show. He has been asking me to direct this for years. I'm glad to finally have the chance.

SOS: What is/are your favorite roles you've performed?

P-S: My favorite roles to perform have been Val in A Chorus Line, Velma Kelly in Chicago and Shelby in Steel Magnolias.

SOS: What is the most challenging part of directing Leader of the Pack?

P-S: The most challenging part of directing LOTP is coordinating sound, lights, and music and costumes. The easiest part is the talent. Each person in this show has incredible talent, and I couldn't have done this show without them.


SOS: Is there really a dog on set? Do tell!

P-S: We have had a "rehearsal dog." Winston. He is the dog of Lynne and John Chenault. He is the true LOTP. Great personality, and he has a proclivity for ‘60s music.

  SOS: And a live band, too?

P-S: The band is fabulous! They are all local and volunteers. Joseph Vance is an incredible person who is spreading the love of music and music education in our community! I feel so lucky to work with him and Jean and Bill. They are all fabulous talent and wonderful people.

SOS: Why should people see this show?

P-S: People should see this show to support local theater. They should also see this show because the music is wonderful, and you will walk out singing it.

SOS: What is your favorite line from the show?

P-S: My favorite line is not a line. It’s the song “Hanky Panky” and the scene that occurs before it. I wish I had a sound track for my life!


SOS: So is that your favorite song? Are you humming all the songs in the shower?

P-S: My favorite song is “Hanky Panky.” However, I leave singing them all in my head. I do hum the songs in the shower, and I joke that I'm going to lock up the lead singers in the closet so that I can sing their songs.


SOS: Are you putting any unique tweaks on the show?

P-S: My unique twist is my form of "blocking" – or staging – the show. I choose area staging. I hate multiple props and a scene for every place. Everything is implied.