Pegasus Playhouse is a new theatre on Main Street in Springfield, but it is more than that.
I’ve been involved in some form of the performing arts for most of my 57 years. I was taught by some legendary humans how to dance, act and sing, and even did a little Broadway.
I grew up in New York, and after struggling through school, I found theater. It was a respite from trouble, whether that be an escape from home life, or just somewhere to belong.
Some kids slipped through the cracks, and I was one of them.
I learned and played and performed all over as much as I could, until, as fate would have it, a theatre I was working for needed a fill-in acting teacher. I loved it, and, crazy as it sounds, it loved me back.
The same theater, Plaza Playhouse, employed me as a jack of all trades, so I learned all the aspects of production, while teaching over 70 students a week. While I worked there, I landed my first national tour and left teaching to perform around the country for two years.
It was great, and yet, something was missing. Teaching was very healing, but stopping it meant looking at me, and here’s where my own healing began.
I dropped out of theatre arts, picked up a guitar, and began to look inside, to look for a life. The good news is, I found it. I found my wife, created a wee family (three kids) and wrote some songs on that guitar.
As you might have guessed, theatre came back to me. I dipped my toe back in as a different human after my own hero’s journey (thank you Joseph Campbell) and found it richer than before.
I acted in some great things, but teaching reached out again. So, I directed and taught again, this time writing some shows, too.
I worked part-time for other companies after moving here to Oregon eight years ago, and quickly found that if I wanted to do it full time, and really focus on other artists and their journeys, I would have to create my own company.
So Pegasus Playhouse was born.
Our first show, “Too Many Princesses,” was a feminist youth musical that challenged gender norms in the fairy tale world. It was the first all original musical I had written, we did it at the Ragizzono Theatre at Lane Community College.
For the next three years, we rehearsed and performed wherever we could. We rented the Wildish, rehearsed at various churches, performed everywhere from the alley near 5th Market, to a farm. In order to grow, we needed our own space, so after a few years of searching, we found our home.
In October 2022, we moved into 402 Main and began converting an old A3 building into a 120-seat theater. We opened our first show in December and haven’t stopped.
We’ve produced six shows since then, including premieres of three new shows. “The Fantasticks” is our present MainStage show and our next Young Audiences afternoon show coming on May 20, “Alice In Underland,” is a new, breezy show with a great cast. We teach all ages as well, even having an adult acting class on Sunday that is just a joy.
Camps and more are coming this summer: Hamilton Camp, Wicked Broadway Camp and Broadway Jr. for the youngsters.
What we need from the community is to come see our shows and bring your friends. Everyone who has been in our audience has been left wanting to come back.
Next, we are looking for sponsors in all forms because for art nonprofits companies and the arts in general, it takes a lot of community support. We are bringing more to what is already a thriving downtown, but like any new business, we need wind to get us off the ground.
If you have an interest in learning about acting, want to audition or have a youngster who wants to get involved, contact us. Our motto is “Empathy, Excellence, and a Little Insanity,” and we deliver.
Scott Frazier-Maskiell is the founder and artistic director of Pegasus Playhouse. He was the key speaker at Monday’s Roast, Toast, & Boast, a monthly social networking event that spotlights nonprofits and women in business.