Curtain Call: Kathy Wing spreads her, uh, wings as executive director of the Randall – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

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Kathy Wing performs in her solo show, “Grand Dames and Divas”, in 2021 at Ghostlight Playhouse. Photo submitted

Kathy Wing performs in her solo show, “Grand Dames and Divas”, in 2021 at Ghostlight Playhouse. Photo submitted

Kathy Wing, artistic director of Randall Theater Company, and her son John Wing, executive director, stand in front of Ghostlight Playhouse, a venue acquired for Randall productions. The company also leases the site for other entertainment-related activities to raise operating funds for the Randall. Photo by Jim Flint

Kathy Wing never planned a career in acting, but life has a way of telling you something about yourself that you might not realize.

Holder of a bachelor’s degree in management, she has held various positions, such as secretary, crisis advisor and even manager of McDonald’s.

She had sung in choirs in high school and played a few ensemble roles in school musicals. This experience inspired her to major in music education in college, but that was cut short when she met Michael Wing. She married him and left the University of Oregon to pursue her career path.

“We lived in Roseburg and I saw a notice that Umpqua Community College had auditions for their summer musical, ‘Peter Pan,'” she said.

“I remembered how fun my high school musicals were, so I auditioned. I was cast as Grown-Up Wendy. There was no turning back.

Since then, she has held just about every job in the theatre: actress, director, lighting designer, light operator, sound operator and costume designer.

Today, she is Artistic Director of the Randall Theater Company, responsible for selecting and preparing for production all plays, musicals, revues and other performances produced by the company at its Ghostlight Playhouse, 115 E. Main St. in Medford.

She also assists her son John Wing, if needed, with other Ghostlight Playhouse-only events. He is the executive director of the non-profit organization Randall, manages the Ghostlight, and organizes outdoor events in the hall.

The Ghostlight entertainment and events center was established by the Randall in 2020, after losing its Fir Street location lease due to the COVID outbreak.

In late summer 2019, Robin Downward, founder of the Randall, was considering closing the Randall permanently so he could pursue other business interests.

“I approached him about the possibility of John and I taking over the Randall and continuing it,” Wing said. “Robin agreed and we started making plans.”

They were preparing to open their first show, “I Do! I Do!”, and had just had the first reading of “Waiting Star” when COVID shut down most theater companies, including the Randall.

A few months later, the former entertainment venue attached to the Howiee’s restaurant became available and Randall found his new home, renamed Ghostlight after a web series Randall was doing during the shutdown called “Ghostlighting: Theater in the Darke”.

The Randall/Ghostlight continues to struggle with pandemic-related issues, such as canceled performances due to COVID infections, but donations and other Ghostlight bookings have helped financially.

Kathy Wing was born and raised in Roseburg, the daughter of a sawmill worker father and a newborn nurse mother. Music was a big part of his growth, with tunes of all kinds filling the house from his father’s extensive record collection.

She sang in church and school choirs and learned to play the clarinet. But there was a kind of turning point.

“We had a ‘Funny Girl’ album and I listened to it all the time,” she said.

“When I was in seventh grade, something just clicked on the music and the story. I memorized the whole album and used to give performances to anyone who sat around while I I was singing and dancing along with the album. It was really the beginning.

She and her husband came to Rogue Valley in 1998 so they could both work at St. Mary’s School. Michael was the vocal and instrumental music teacher and Kathy taught acting and directed plays and musicals for middle and high school students.

“I got involved with Camelot Theater in 2004,” she said. “That year I was in ‘Gaslight’ and ‘Oliver.’ The Camelot was still in the old converted grocery store at the time, I did a lot of shows there before I got more involved with the Randall.

His longest job in Rogue Valley was at KDRV-TV in the news department.

“I started as a part-time production assistant and ended up working there for 16 years,” she said. “I did just about every job in the department, from remote live operator to press photographer, video editor and newscast producer.”

She left KDRV in October 2020 to take up the full-time position of artistic director at the Randall, where she had done directing.

Some of the highlights for her in her early Randall days include directing “A Chorus Line” in 2016.

“It was the first main show I’ve run at the Randall,” she said. “We had a great cast and the show was really special.”

Her memories of making “Blues in the Night” in 2018 at the Randall are bittersweet.

“The music!” she exclaimed. “Jazz and blues from the 1930s and 1940s. We had a group of powerful singers with Jennifer Abdo, Kristen Calvin, Rose Passione and Brandt Nakamura. The decor was beautiful, the lighting was stunning.

But while they were in rehearsals for the show, her husband Michael died.

“The cast rallied around me and continued to make the show amazing.”

Wing looks forward to more normal times and more amazing performances as the theater industry pulls back from the pandemic in fits and starts.

After the COVID hiatuses from “Waiting Star,” she hopes to reopen the show this weekend. Check facebook.com/randalltheatre/ for updates and more information.

Next on Wing’s role is “Nunsense,” slated for December 2-18.

Contact writer Jim Flint at [email protected]

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