Matt Wallace might come off as a humble man just eking out a living by providing free Shakespeare to the Louisville community. But to those in the know, Wallace is a hero — single-handedly saving Kentucky Shakespeare from ruins in a storyline that would intrigue Bard himself.
Last year, Insider Louisville’s Melissa Chipman caught up with Wallace to talk about the future of the free summer theater series. She called him one of the hardest working people in Louisville, to which he replied, “When you do what you love, it doesn’t feel like work.”
Wallace is the producing artistic director of Kentucky Shakespeare, which is in its 55th year. The 2015 season begins Thursday, June 4, with “The Tempest” and includes two more full-length productions — “The Taming of the Shrew” and “MacBeth” — lasting 10 weeks for a total of 59 performances (four other Shakespeare-themed productions are planned as well, in partnership with various theater companies).
Wallace took the lead role at Kentucky Shakespeare in August 2013 after years of mismanagement. Last season, the festival broke records, netting $88,000 in donations and concession sales. The previous year, that number was a meager $17,000. Also worth noting, 27,000 people came to see the productions last season, up from 13,000 the previous year.
Kentucky Shakespeare is no doubt in good hands now, and Wallace should be commended for that. Before the curtain rises at Central Park next Thursday, Wallace answered some very important questions …
What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?
What poster was on your wall in junior high?
I think a “Brighton Beach Memoirs” poster, NBA Dream Team poster and probably — oh yes! — a Whitesnake poster.
If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?
What are your preferred pizza toppings?
Sausage … mushrooms if I’m being good. I love pizza.
If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?
8 — and hang out with my 7- and 9-year-old daughters.
What famous person do people say you resemble the most?
Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?
My wife Tina Jo, because sometimes it feels like we’re seldom in the same place at the same time!