Ethan Claymore

D. Chapelle (left), Mark Feit, Paul Durban (standing) and Deanna Walz star in the Lincoln Community Playhouse production of "Ethan Claymore."

Courtesy photo

Mark Feit found a home on theater stages.

“I wasn’t an athlete in high school, so I was very much in the drama world,” the 42-year-old local actor said. “My parents were in shows all the time. As a kid, I was helping to build sets, running sound and painting. I grew up in community theater.”

But then came a radio career and drama took a backseat.

Feit spent more than 20 years in radio, including 13-plus at Three Eagles Communications in Lincoln, where he worked on air under the name Mark Taylor and as an operations manager and program director. He co-hosted the morning show with Lincoln radio icon Cathy Blythe on KFOR (1240 AM) for nearly five years.

He left radio for good in 2012 for nonprofit work, first as development director for the Alzheimer’s Association Nebraska Chapter and currently as Lincoln director of Community Health Charities of Nebraska.

The career change has allowed him to return to local stages.

“You can’t do (theater) if you can’t stay awake long enough,” Feit said, referencing his early hours on the KFOR morning show.

On Friday, Feit begins a run playing the title character in Lincoln Community Playhouse’s production of Norm Foster’s “Ethan Claymore.” The Playhouse will present the feel-good, holiday play, which Feit calls a cross between “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol,” for six performances over the next two weekends in its studio theater.

“I get to wear overalls,” Feit joked.

With Christmas just a week away, Ethan Claymore is a reclusive, struggling egg farmer and artist who has given up looking for love or laughter. Much to his surprise, Ethan is visited by the spirit of his long-estranged older brother (Paul Durban), who — along with an enthusiastic, meddlesome neighbor (D. Chapelle) and the town’s new school teacher (Deanna Walz) — is determined to bring the sparkle back into Ethan’s life.

Directed by Scott Glen, “Ethan Claymore” is a heartwarming comedy/ghost story/love story, which is meant to renew faith in family values and the importance of friendships.

“It’s funny and very thoughtful at the same time,” said Glen, who is directing his fourth Playhouse show in the last three years. “It’s about redemption and people making amends and making up for errors in their past.”

The cast also includes Dylan Wilson and Noah Trumble.

For Feit, “Ethan Claymore” will be his fourth show at the Playhouse since 2015, and his second this year. He played an arrogant country club director in Ken Ludwig's farce, “The Fox on the Fairway,” which opened the Playhouse’s 72nd season in July.

“That was immensely fun,” he said. “I really like playing jerks.”

His other Playhouse credits include a starring turn as Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird” (April 2016), which included Glen in the cast, and a supporting role in the comedy “You Can’t Take It With You” (November 2015).

“I can’t dance, so I don’t do musicals,” Feit said. “I just can’t do it. My wife’s a good dancer, and I’ve tried taking lessons, but my feet won’t do what my brain tells them to. So I look for roles that are fun, big or small. And they have to be juicy.”

Reach the writer at 402-473-7213 or jkorbelik@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSjeffkorbelik.

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Jeff Korbelik is the features editor and covers dining, performing arts, TV and local media. Follow him at @LJSjeffkorbelik.

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