Clark native finishes first show at Pioneer Playhouse

The final performance of “Elvis has Left the Building” at the Pioneer Playhouse Saturday will also mark the end of the first professional acting job for Winchester native Dalton Graves.

Graves, who plays Roscoe in the production, said he fell in love with the theater when he was very young, getting his acting start where many do — in middle school.

During his time acting in Clark County, he has appeared in several school plays and two productions at Leeds Center for the Arts.

“When I was young I played an ensemble part in ‘Little Shop of Horrors,’ he said. “In high school I was in ‘Greater Tuna,’ where I played nine different characters.”

While in college at Georgetown University, Graves joined and remains a member of the Maskrafters, Kentucky’s oldest collegiate theater group.

It was there he learned about a large auditioning opportunity in North Carolina, where talent scouts looked for actors for theaters across the country.

“So in January my mom and I flew up to North Carolina, and I competed against 300 other people,” Graves said.

About a week later, he was offered his first professional acting job by Pioneer Playhouse.

Graves said the work at Pioneer is different from what he was used to because of the unique venue the playhouse offers.

The location offers two venues, a large outdoor site used throughout the summer that offers a lot of room for the actors to work with, and a much smaller stage for when the weather turns bad.

Graves said the actors must be able to adapt to both stages during rehearsal, because they aren’t going to know when they will need to use the smaller venue.

The crew also has to contend with critters regularly in the outdoor venue, which can occasionally attract skunks, snakes or large spiders.

But Graves said he has enjoyed his time there, especially with how close the whole cast has gotten over the course of the summer.

“One of the best experiences I’ve had was after the first show that we worked so hard for the whole cast and crew got to hang out and party together,” he said.

Graves said with “Elvis Has Left the Building” finishing its run this weekend, he’s on the lookout for more professional work and would love the opportunity to work with Pioneer again.

The show is set in 1970 and Elvis Presley has disappeared. No one, not even his wily manager, The Colonel, knows of his whereabouts. But the Colonel is all shook up because he has racked up a secret debt — and with the King himself missing, the only way to pay it off is to find an Elvis impersonator within 24 hours.

High jinks ensue as the Colonel takes desperate measures to replace a man who is irreplaceable, all while keeping the prying eyes of a nosy reporter at bay and figuring out what happened to the real Elvis.

The show runs at 8:30 p.m. daily through Saturday.