ATI founders stay busy with other projects

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When Jim Reilly joined Actors Theatre of Indiana approximately 10 years ago, he encouraged the founders, Don Farrell, Cynthia Collins and Judy Fitzgerald, to explore additional opportunities to perform.

“One of the first things I noticed is there is not a lot of money to be made in theater, so you have to maximize your opportunities,” said Reilly, who serves as ATI executive director. “They’re all very talented. They all performed in New York and have incredible backgrounds. If they can find work on their own to utilize their talent in other areas, I encouraged them to do it.”

Farrell has worked at Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota in the summer or off-season.

“I’ve also done a number of shows at Beef & Boards with my friends there,” Farrell said. “I had worked with them years ago before we even started ATI.”

Farrell said the opportunity to perform Sinatra shows at Feinstein’s at the Hotel Carmichael in Carmel created the need to form a company, Crossroads Entertainment LLC, so he can pay the musicians who join him.

Farrell will perform “All the Way,” a Frank Sinatra tribute show, at 7:30 p.m. May 20. He had a Sinatra show in April and has another set for June 9.

“I see this as a wonderful opportunity for Actors Theatre, which could even bolster more opportunities for us down the road, possibly,” Farrell said.

ATI is always the primary focus for all three artists.

“When we started, no one could do anything else but the company,” Collins said. “We worked so hard. Years later, we started to have some freedom to work at other theater companies.”

Collins has acted in various shows at Beef & Boards and Phoenix Theatre. She has done different auditions with different companies.

“Sometimes, we’re just offered roles, which is nice,” she said.

Collins and Fitzgerald have collaborated to form the musical programs for the ATI Drive-In Theatre. There are two more this summer, one on June 18 and another on July 16.

Fitzgerald has fewer opportunities because when she isn’t preparing for an ATI show, she devotes time to her daughter, Lizzie Farrell, who is active in two Carmel High School show choirs.

“My No. 1 priority is Lizzie. Being a full-time mom on top of doing ATI makes it harder for me actually to do a lot of outside things,” Fitzgerald said. “When I’m not doing ATI, I’m 100 percent focused on what Lizzie has going on, which is always a ton of things.”


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