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Steven Coe part of the cast of ‘Hush Up Sweet Charlotte’


This June, Lab Theater will try to outdo itself when it produces Matthew Martin and Steve Murray’s drag-tastic parody Hush Up Sweet Charlotte. They’ll have to go a ways to surpass the shtick and popularity of last summer’s Whatever Happened to Baby Jane: A Parody of the Horror. But if Steven Coe has anything to say about it, Hush Up may do just that.

Coe should know. He had a small but memorable part in Baby Jane. That should come as no surprise. He’s one of Southwest Florida’s hardest working actors. Among his recent performances are Doug in Neil LaBute’s The Way We Get By, The Boy in Lab’s dark comedy Veronica’s Room, and roles in Arthur Kopit’s Wings, Rick Abbot’s Play On!, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940. Inveterate theater-goers may also remember Steven as the twenty-something Russian spy in Theatre Conspiracy’s 2013 production of Red Herring, a light-hearted espionage spoof. Other favorite shows include Blithe Spirit and The Government Inspector, both comedies.

He credits Florida SouthWestern State College theatre professor Stuart Brown for giving him a basic tool kit of acting skills and techniques, but his penchant for creepy, campy productions like Baby Jane and Veronica’s Room traces back to a stint at Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando “ducking drunks’ punches and scaring the hell out of people.”

Coe has a reputation for placing himself in challenging roles and situations that build confidence. For example, while he was playing The Boy in Veronica’s Room for Lab Theater, he was also on the Murder Mystery Dinner Train over at the Seminole Gulf Railway.

“I seek out stuff that challenges me, that expands my limits,” Steven acknowledges. “If I can dodge the drunks’ punches and scare people, I can do anything. If I can go on that train and talk over people while they’re eating and project over the sound of a running train, I can do anything.”

“He’s willing to go anywhere you want to take him,” observes Prof. Brown. “He catches on really quickly, works hard, is always thinking, especially throughout the rehearsal process, and grows quickly. But most of all, he’s hungry.”

However, Steven didn’t start out wanting to be an actor. “I didn’t take my first acting class until I was already in middle school, and then, only because my friends were in it and I wanted to be with them,” Coe laughs. He’s responded ever since to the ample encouragement he’s received, and his training extends far beyond the roles he takes on and the productions he’s been in.

“I watch a lot of film and like different actors for different things,” Steven shares. “Currently, I really like Ryan Gosling. He chooses roles I really like, such as Blade Runner. And I love his style. He’s a very natural guy. But Heath Ledger was the actor who I found most inspirational. He’s one of the reasons I got into acting. At the time I began to seriously pursue acting, the Dark Knight had just come out. And to see Ledger go from Broke Back Mountain to that, it was so amazing that he could flip roles and personalities like that.”

But while drive, determination and talent are important, so is having fun. And so it’s only natural for Coe to make the leap from Baby Jane to Sweet Charlotte. Come to the show. You’ll have fun too.


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