Thursday, Jul. 03, 2014
As many theater patrons already know, the Old Lyric Repertory Company, part of the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University, has welcomed W. Lee Daily back to the Caine Lyric Theatre stage for the 2014 season.
A year ago, Daily announced that he would be leaving the valley to pursue other opportunities outside the state. Many patrons were saddened by the news of Daily leaving Cache Valley; however, the Lyric Rep came calling.
“Once we selected the season and began to assemble the company, we wanted to get Lee Daily here for the summer,” said Richie Call, co-artistic director for the Lyric Rep. “Lee is such a talented actor, he’s so wonderful to work with and our audiences really respond to him. He also happens to be one of my best friends, and the summer wouldn’t have been the same without him.”
Daily said he is often recognized and approached whenever he is out in the community. He loves when the Summer Citizens talk to him and discuss the shows they have seen him perform in.
“I love acting at the Caine Lyric Theatre because it’s so intimate,” said Daily. “You can feel the audience’s energy, and they can feel yours.”
While many throughout the community were saddened by the news of Daily moving on, those who actively participate in the Summer Citizen program at USU were shocked.
“Last summer when word got out that Lee was leaving Cache Valley you could almost hear a collective gasp,” said Patrick Williams, director of internal communications at USU and fellow Lyric actor. “There were even letters to the editor about it. After all, it wouldn’t be a summer at the Lyric without Lee.”
It is good news for many that he has returned for another season, Williams added.
This summer will mark Daily’s 45th show as an actor for the Lyric Rep, taking on four major roles in the 2014 Lyric Rep season. Daily has been cast as Hysterium in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sprules in Tons of Money, one of six cast members in The Musical of Musicals, The Musical! and Ross in The Elephant Man.
“Four roles can definitely be tiring, but it is also rewarding,” said Daily. “Memorizing and remembering my lines can be difficult, but my greatest challenge has been the dancing in The Musical of Musicals, The Musical! It is fun but exhausting.”
Vanessa Ballam is a long-time friend and professional colleague of Daily’s. Currently, she is directing Daily in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum but she has also acted alongside Daily for many years at the Lyric and with the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre.
“I love working with Lee as an actor because he’s very giving — totally unselfish and supportive of everyone else on the stage,” said Ballam. “I also love working with Lee as a director because he is willing to try anything and he is so professional.”
This is a sentiment that seems to be echoed by many.
“While I’ve seen and enjoyed Lee on stage in many, many productions, I’d never had the chance to work with him at the Lyric until Amadeus was done several years ago,” said Williams. “I was nervous about returning to the stage after a 10-plus year hiatus, but working with Lee — and the rest of the cast, I must say — made that easy.”
Daily’s first acting job came at the age of 3. He recalls crying when he got in front of the audience and someone coming to take him off stage. He didn’t give acting another try until college.
“Someone suggested I try out for a musical and I got the bug,” said Daily. “I always wanted to be an actor but I was too shy. Acting brought me out of my shell.”
Soon after, Daily transferred from Snow College to USU as a theater major. Before being cast as an actor for the Lyric Rep, he auditioned unsuccessfully three times. The first time Daily took stage at the Caine Lyric Theatre in 1993 in Cotton Patch Gospel, it was to fill in for another actor who had an accident.
Daily has been a professional actor for 22 years. His first paying job was at the Pink Garter Theatre in Jackson Hole in 1992.
There are many things theatregoers adore about Daily, but more than anything, people love how he makes them laugh, said Ballam.
“I think theatregoers love Lee because he is so genuine in everything he does,” said Ballam. “He has great comedic timing and he is unabashed about his work on the stage.”
For more information and tickets for the 2014 Lyric Rep season, visit the CCA Box Office located in room 139-B of the Chase Fine Arts Center on USU’s Logan campus, call 435-797-8022 or see the Caine College’s Production Services website. The box office is open from 9 a.m.-noon Monday through Friday. Tickets may also be purchased at the Caine Lyric Theatre in downtown Logan at 28 West Center Monday through Friday 1-4 p.m. and one hour prior to curtain on show nights.
Writer: Whitney Schulte, 435-797-9203, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Denise Albiston, 435-797-1500, email@example.com