Chuck Fitz-Hugh began his long and rich association with Kirk Players in 1996 with a thoughtful attempt to enhance his standing with another local performing company, The Village Singers. The group was based in Libertyville and consisted of nearly 100 members who presented productions of musical numbers throughout Lake County. “Candidly, at the time I was looking for a way to get out of the back row of the chorus and closer to center stage! I had read an article about Kirk Players and the Summer Adult Workshop they were offering that summer, and thought, well, maybe I can get some stage presence training from this Mundelein outfit.”
In typical Fitz-Hugh style, Chuck dove into the workshop and was cast in a scene from The Solid Gold Cadillac, for which he received an “OD” Best Actor Award. “I guess you might say my flirtation with Kirk Players that summer became a full-fledged love affair. Well, the rest is history.”
It took the better part of 3 years, but on September 3, 1998, Chuck Fitz-Hugh became Kirk Player Member #176. Being a career engineer, Chuck took a strategic approach to how he might help Kirk Players. “I got recruited into the Sales Committee. I’m not a salesman by trade, but looked around for what I might do. Well, at the time, there weren’t a lot of folks interested in pounding the pavement asking for new ads from merchants. Paddy Lynn had developed a good many over the years. I thought, OK, this needs to get done, so I’ll do it.”
Lucky for Kirk Players! Chuck has become the singular driving force over the past two decades for leading and expanding the ad /sponsor effort for our programs. Each summer, all summer, Chuck can be seen entering local restaurants, hardwares, bakeries, florists, dentists, banks, and insurance firms presenting the virtues of Kirk Players, and asking for an ad.” His tireless efforts resulted in building a robust monetary foundation for the organization to use as it launched its new season of shows each year.
He took a similar approach to backstage. “I’m an engineer, so I like techie stuff. Janet Walker had the sound world of Kirk Players pretty well under control back then, so I saw an opportunity to help out with lights.“ Through the years, Chuck has been a mainstay of support for Honorary Members Gary and Sarah Gunther in the Lights arena. He has also helped encourage new members and students to get involved in this vital stage craft. Chuck’s favorite on-stage memory was his portrayal of Grandfather in the 2005 production of You Can’tTake It With You, for which he received a nomination for Best Actor “Leslie”. “I loved everything about this show, such a tight knit cast and crew!”
Recently Chuck has performed in cameo roles in children’s shows, such as the professor in the The Lion, the Witch andthe Wardrobe and the butler in Peter Pan and Wendy.
Not surprisingly, Chuck has been heralded as Most Valuable Player and received the organization’s highest honor, The Hazen Award, in 2003 and 2013. When asked what he saw as the future for Kirk Players, he said, “Kirk Players is a premier organization! It just keeps getting better. It has grown and matured so well, exploring different directions, facing down challenges such as this pandemic. The diversity of talent and commitment to the community are two of its greatest values. I see only a bright future for Kirk Players. Of course, we do need to stay connected, and, yes. . . won’t it be fun when we can get back on stage!”
781 South Midlothian Road #157 Mundelein IL 60060 (847) 521-6192