BWW Interviews: From the Stages of Broadway to Co-Executive Producer at Salt Lake Acting Company
When talking with Cynthia Fleming, the Co-Executive Producer at Salt Lake Acting Company, it’s hard to imagine this tall and striking woman as a shy, lanky and pigeon-toed youngster. This however, was the reason her mom enrolled her in dance classes in her hometown of Bountiful, Utah. Until middle school, dance was her “dirty little secret” as it was terribly unpopular to be in dance. When it became more acceptable in middle school and high school, she eventually “came out” of her proverbial closet and embraced her talent.
Some of her fondest memories were in college at the University of Utah while working with Pioneer Theater. She remarks, “I found my home when I went to the University of Utah, it’s part of my DNA now. Salt Lake City has always been rich in the arts. ” Shortly after college she moved to LA where her mother insisted that she audition for everything so her mom could stop paying Cynthia’s rent. In an audition with over 300 hundred girls, she got the one available spot in A Chorus Line.
This role launched her out of LA and eventually landed her on Broadway where she played the familiar roles of Shelia and Cassie. With her husband Jeff, who she met on the road and a young son (living a life I am jealous of), they celebrated birthday parties at Sardi’s and did trick-or-treating back stage at the Shubert Theatre.
Cynthia even got the pleasure of working with legendary Michael Bennett. She retells the story of the time that he and several other men showed up one night during a performance. From what it sounded like, this happened every now and then. When you saw a handful of figures standing at the back of the house, you knew he was there. The following morning they would awaken to 3 or 4 missing actors. If he didn’t like your performance, you would be fired. It would seem that Actors Equity caught onto this and because of him, instated the policy that you can’t fire someone without notice.
Eventually she found her way home to Salt Lake to raise her two sons. When asked if her husband was also an actor she laughed and teasingly pointed out there was only room in the house for one star. She good-naturedly went on to say that he is absolutely a star in his own right. As a mutual appreciator of the arts, he is an antique and art collector in addition to being quite the entrepreneur. Both of her sons (Nick and Anthony) have dabbled with the arts and lean towards music, involvement in bands and modeling. Seems the talent overflows in this family.
After working with several theaters in the area she ended up at Salt Lake Acting Company. She credits her work as a makeup artist at Bloomingdales for preparing her for the business and selling side of running Salt Lake Acting Company with Keven Myhre. In one sentence, she describes her work with Myhre as “We make things happen.” Whether through exploring ideas, outreach or working with staff they do indeed “make things happen.”
From A Theater Lover to another:
Megan: “What is your favorite play?”
Cynthia: “Whatever play we’re working on at the time.”
Megan “What is your favorite musical?”
Cynthia: “Sweet Charity because is was my first love and inspired me to be in the business. But of course there is A Chorus Line, Into the Woods and anything by Sondheim.”
Megan: “If you were one musical or play, which one would you be and why?”
Cynthia: “Chorus Line, because so much of it is me but also West Side Story because it’s the perfect merge of dance, song and book.”
Megan: “Any parting advice or thoughts?”
Cynthia: “The wife of actor Robert Horton from the 50/60’s TV series Wagon Train once told me, “Always be nice to your costume designer and dresser.” I’ve heeded those words for 35 years and will add, be respectful to everyone and anyone who has made the experience possible.” And parting words for Utah, “Bravo, Brava! We have an amazing group of current people and new talent coming up in dance, music, art and theater. Keep it up.”