Goshen native returns for audio theater performance of ‘Don Quixote’

Elkhart County native and Hollywood voice actor Phil Proctor will return to Goshen with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet for a live storytelling experience of Don Quixote.

Posted on Feb. 27, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Feb. 27, 2013 at 5:48 p.m.

GOSHEN — Elkhart County native and Hollywood voice actor Phil Proctor is returning to the area with the Grammy-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet for an evening of musical storytelling.

The quartet will provide music and sound effects as Proctor portrays about 18 characters in a performance of “Don Quixote” as a part of Goshen College’s Performing Arts Series.

The performance will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 8, in the Music Center’s Sauder Concert Hall.

Tickets cost $40, $35 or $25 and are available through the Goshen College Welcome Center by calling 574-535-7566, emailing welcomecenter@goshen.edu or visiting [URL]www.goshen.edu/tickets;http://www.goshen.edu/tickets[URL].

“I hope to be able to transport everybody to the comical and terrifying world of Don Quixote’s imagination,” Proctor said.

“It’s full of action and comedy and music and it’s a unique and easy way to present a long and complicated story,” he explained.

The quartet will perform music from the time of Miguel de Cervantes, the author of “Don Quixote.” They are “four master musicians who play as one,” Proctor said of the quartet. “It sounds like you’re listening to one guitarist with 18 hands.”

Proctor was born in Goshen and spent his early years in Elkhart where his parents lived and in Goshen where his grandparents lived. When he was a young boy, his parents moved to Manhattan, N.Y., but he spent each summer with his grandparents in Goshen until his teens.

His family realized early that Proctor was able to hear and repeat songs and voices, “like a tape recorder in my head,” he said.

That gave him an affinity for learning languages (he knows seven), along with various accents and dialects.

In Manhattan, Proctor attended a boys boarding school that put on full Christmas pageants and an annual Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Proctor said as a male soprano in elementary school, he always played the female lead.

Whatever his role, the experience of being on stage struck him.

“Once I got on stage, I knew this was it,” he said.

Living in Manhattan and making connections while pursuing a degree at the Yale University School of Drama led to roles in TV shows, Broadway performances and eventually movies. While in his 20s in the early 1960s, he acted in movies with Jane Fonda, Orson Welles and Jack Nicholson.

Much of his passion, though, was for what he called a “wry, satirical humor” that much of his family in the Midwest had. He joined with three other comedians in the mid-1960s to form [/URL]Firesign Theatre,;http://firesigntheatre.com[URL] a troupe that started out doing radio shows but was soon offered a record contract.

“We wanted to take radio one step further,” Proctor said. They had all grown up listening to Jack Benny, Bob Hope and other classic comedians on the radio and wanted to take that model, but use more time and the technology then available to make an even more complex performance.

“By the time the third album, ‘Don’t Crush that Dwarf, Pass Me the Pliers,’ came out (in 1970), we were famous,” Proctor said.

One of the four, Peter Bergman, died last year, but the remaining three continue to be involved with Firesign Theatre.

As Firesign grew successful, Proctor decided to turn his voice talents toward commercials, hiring an agent and doing voices for advertising characters before landing more prominent spots.

Through the last 20-some years, Proctor’s voice has brought numerous animated characters to life in TV, movies and, more recently, video games.

Proctor’s credits include doing voices for several Pixar and Disney films, including “Toy Story,” “Monsters Inc.,” “Finding Nemo,” “Aladdin” and “Beauty and the Beast.” His voice can also be heard on episodes of “Smurfs” and “Rugrats.” Editions of video games “Splinter Cell,” “Assassin’s Creed,” “Final Fantasy” and “Call of Duty,” among others, have also used his voice talents.

With all his involvement in TV, movies and video games, though, he feels a special pull to live audio theater.

“That live energy is something I think the audience realizes and that makes it jump off the stage,” he said.[/URL]

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