Craig Price likes to make people laugh. And when you’re in the business of theatre, that’s usually a good thing. Although not everything in theatre involves comedy, audiences and laughter seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly.
When it comes to comedy, Price has been trained with the best: The Second City and IO Theatre in Chicago. “It was really cool being at The Second City right out of college, 1989, ’90 and ’91,” Price remembers. “I went to Chicago knowing that I wanted to be involved in The Second City and knew that I would be waiting tables and bartending and doing whatever I could to afford my classes there. I got to see guys like Jon Favreau, Chris Farley, Tim Meadows. Went down and took classes at Improv Olympic–now IO Theater Chicago–with the legendary Del Close, and this was just before Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, and all those guys came along–yeah that’s how old I am, but it was an amazing experience. That gave me the experience and training I needed to start performing with ComedySportz for 5 years and do 550 shows in Denver.”
Price is the Education Director for both Youth and Adult Education with The Naples Players at the Sugden Theatre and teaches classes for both children and adults. He also performs with Stage 2 Improv at Sugden Theatre. In addition, he is the Assistant Director for Curious Kids on WGCU. Throughout the year he also directs children’s theatre productions for the Naples Players KidzAct program, which will be performing plays such as Beauty and the Beast and James and the Giant Peach this summer. He is the former Theatre Director of the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs.
Price is a busy man, but he makes time for things that matter. He currently is teaching a class for a community of children with autism and other developmental disabilities as well as adults with developmental disabilities. He provides them with improv and acting classes that can help them on the stage and in life.
Craig Price has a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Theatre and Speech from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. He is skilled in stage direction, production management, and improvisation, as well as teaching.
You can see Craig perform with Stage 2 Improv this Friday, June 2, and Friday, June 16 at 8:00 pm. He is also performing a family-friendly show Saturday, June 10 at 7:00 pm. A playwriting class is starting on June 10 at The Naples Players. For more information about shows and these opportunities as well as summer camps and other classes for both children and adults, and to purchase tickets, visit The Naples Players website at naplesplayers.org.
This is an older video that shows Craig teaching some of the WGCU Curious Kids.
Naples Noteworthy: When did you first know you wanted to be involved with the theatre?
Craig Price: I didn’t know I wanted to be in the theatre until my senior year of high school, and it was really at college that I started focusing a lot of my energy in that area. I consider that late; I see all the kids that come into our program and wish I would have gotten exposure to it at a much younger age. It’s so wonderful to be able to give that opportunity to young actors and see the light go on in their eyes and watch the self-confidence that is immediately given to a child through their experiences in theatre.
Naples Noteworthy: You’ve worked with both children and adults. Which are easier to work with?
Craig Price: I find it easier to work with children than adults. Kids are so much more open to the process usually and more uninhibited. Adults tend to judge more and take themselves a little too seriously. Adults prevent themselves from just letting go and being in the moment by thinking too much. Kids don’t do that, for the most part.
Naples Noteworthy: If you had to list one or two people who have been most influential in your life, who would they be, and why?
Craig Price: My mom and my dad are the most influential people in my life; they encouraged me to go after my dreams, do anything I thought I was capable of doing. They both made me feel really confident and capable of doing anything. Also I made a lot of mistakes and they were there for me the whole time.
Naples Noteworthy: What makes something funny?
Craig Price: I’m still trying to figure that out…
Naples Noteworthy: Do you enjoy reading? If so, who are some of your favorite authors?
Craig Price: It feels like most of the time when I have time to read I’m reading a script for the next play that we’re producing, like right now I’m reading Beauty and the Beast and James and the Giant Peach and Sister Act, but if I’m not reading a script, it’s a chapter of Tina Fey’s book Bossypants or Amy Poehler’s book Yes Please also Jimmy Carrane and his book–after he came and taught at the Naples Players, his incredible improv Workshop, I have been picking his book up whenever I can.
Naples Noteworthy: What advice would you give aspiring actors, comedians or playwrights?
Craig Price: I would tell any aspiring actor, comedian, or playwright to do it all the time. Just write a lot, perform a lot. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just get out there and do it over and over and over in front of an audience as often as you can. And fail a lot, too. That’s how you get better.
Naples Noteworthy: What do you think of the city of Naples, and what brought you here? What do you think of the city in terms of culture and the arts?
Craig Price: I think the city of Naples is great. I think it’s just slow enough for me right now, perfectly timed in my life with a wife and two kids. I came here to visit my dad and ended up staying after meeting my wife; having two kids and starting a life here it’s been the perfect speed for me. As far as the arts are concerned, I’ve seen it grow a lot. There have been some great additions to the community and there are some incredibly creative people here that are finding spaces to do cool things. I do find it a little frustrating to try to go out after a show and get a cup of coffee anytime after 9 o’clock at night. Would be nice if my wife and I could go somewhere and she could have a glass of wine and I could have a cup of coffee. [Note from Naples Noteworthy: Here is an incredible business opportunity for someone: a coffee shop/bar specifically catering to the arts crowd that is open late at night.] I think the theater scene here for Naples is fantastic–all the options that we have available to us. Of course I’m biased because at the Naples Players on any given night last month I could see My Fair Lady in one theater, These Shining Lives in another, and then Stage 2 Improv on another night, plus kids’ shows like Shakespeare and Fosse. Plus we could go up to Bonita Springs or Fort Myers and see improv music and theatre.
Naples Noteworthy: In your free time (if you have any), what do you enjoy doing?
Craig Price: Disneyworld
Naples Noteworthy: What sort of music do you listen to?
Craig Price: Broadway musicals, Disney music and NPR.
Naples Noteworthy: What is your philosophy of life?
Craig Price: Yes and…
Naples Noteworthy: How do you feel your spirituality has helped you succeed in life?
Craig Price: I always had faith in my life but I have a whole new appreciation for my faith in a higher power after meeting my wife and having kids.
Naples Noteworthy: If you could change one thing in the world today, what would it be, and why?
Craig Price: Hate and fear of people because they are different. Because it hurts everybody.
Naples Noteworthy: Where do you see yourself in ten years and what will you be doing?
Craig Price: On a cross country road trip teaching my kids to drive.
Naples Noteworthy: How do you get over stage fright?
Craig Price: Practice, fail, practice, fail, practice… succeed. Taking classes and trying things out in a safe place before I get in front of a live audience is a great way to gain confidence.
Naples Noteworthy: What are some of the most common mistakes people make when they begin acting?
Craig Price: Focusing on only one area of your acting and never taking any classes. Being a well-rounded actor who is open to all areas of training and constantly training and performing is the best way to learn. Be nice to everyone you meet on your journey, you never know when your next scene will depend on them.