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Logue saw the world through performing

By Staff | May 4, 2016

BIG ARTS Artistic Director Bobby Logue has been performing professionally since he was 8 years old. PHOTO PROVIDED

A passion discovered at a very young age took one individual around the world before he settled down at BIG ARTS as the artistic director.

Bobby Logue, who was born and raised in Long Island, New York, began singing with his church choir as a young boy. After his mom and dad noticed there might be an interest, he auditioned for a local talent show named “Stage Struck,” a review show of Broadway songs, when he was 6 years old. He was Winthrop in the “Music Man” section of the performance.

“That was my first little taste of being on stage and I loved it,” Logue said. “And then around third grade I did my first big musical. I was casted as Oliver in a local production of ‘Oliver.'”

From that point on, he was hooked and started auditioning for professional performances at the age of 8.

“I had a nice little mixture of everything coming together until I lost my voice at 13, or 14, as most boys do,” Logue said laughing. “I was a soprano. Everything went away. I had a four note range, but I still wanted to perform, so that’s when I started dancing.”

BIG ARTS Artistic Director Bobby Logue has been performing professionally since he was 8 years old. PHOTO PROVIDED

With his singing voice not settling quite yet, he began taking jazz, tap and ballet, while working his way back up in the professional world of performing.

His next job came to him when he was 15 in the “ensemble of Music Man.”

“I was terrified because it was a bunch of professional dancers and I was 15 years old. I don’t know what the director or choreographer saw, but obviously they saw something. I started rehearsals thinking ‘I don’t know if I could do this,’ and by the end of it, it was the most fun I had ever had,” Logue said smiling. “I probably did that show for four months. We toured all around the east coast doing it as well.”

More dance classes were taken further improving Logue’s technique, as well as his overall dancing. The next year, to two years, he discovered that he could sing again.

“Myself, and my best friend I grew up with, Victor Legarreta . . . When we were in 10th grade, our parents allowed us to audition for the performing arts high school in New York,” he said. “Both of us got accepted into the program. I think that is probably the place I got the most training. Because of where it was and the caliber of the school, the staff was Broadway professionals.”

BIG ARTS Artistic Director Bobby Logue has been performing professionally since he was 8 years old. PHOTO PROVIDED

The high school had both a dance and musical theater department, so his major was musical theater with a minor in dance. He said he finally became an honor roll student during high school.

“It was incredible the difference that made for me being in a such a creative environment. It made learning easier because during the course of every day I knew I was going to do what I loved,” Logue said.

After the bell rang at the end of the day, he had time to go for auditions, rehearsals, as well as lessons outside of school that were not offered. The performing arts school gave Logue a leg up once he enrolled in Wagner College in Staten Island because of the level of understanding he sustained. He said it was almost as if he joined the school in his junior year.

While in college, Logue performed in numerous shows. One of the shows he auditioned for his sophomore year was “The International Tour of Tommy.”

“I was up for Tommy in the tour. If I get this, I will leave school for a while,” he said he recalled thinking. “I wound up not getting it, but about two days later, after I was already in the mindset of being very disappointed, I got a call from a producer in North Carolina.”

BIG ARTS Artistic Director Bobby Logue has been performing professionally since he was 8 years old. PHOTO PROVIDED

The producer, who provided the entertainment for all the cruise lines, offered him a job aboard the ships for a couple of months. He left school and went on a cruise ship for six months traveling all across South America and then returned to college.

“What was wonderful taking that time during college was the producer became familiar with me, so if I ever had a break, if it was summertime, I would pick up the phone and say ‘Ray Kennedy I have this time I am free,'” Logue said. “So, before I even got out of college, I got to visit every single continent in the world and I didn’t have to pay for it. I got to see all of it for free.”

Some of the cruises, he said would go out for a duration of three weeks. With only three shows, one a week, Logue had the opportunity to enjoy the cruise as a passenger as well.

In addition to working on the cruise ships, he also traveled America doing Summer Stock Theater. He worked in Pennsylvania, Indianapolis and Denver throughout college. After college, he contacted the producer for the cruise line and traveled for another year before arriving back in America when he was 23 years old.

He said it was an amazing experience, working on the cruise ships.

“I didn’t clean my room. Anytime I left my room, I had a cabin steward that would go in pick up my laundry, do all my sheets and make the bed. If I took a nap and left the room, my bed would be made again,” he said laughing. “It was a bad day on a cruise ship if they didn’t have the kind of bagel you wanted. There was nothing else you could be upset about because you are basically living in a luxury hotel.”

He soon found out that when leaving New York for long periods of time, he was forgotten because he was not auditioning on a regular basis. Logue said if you are out of sight, you are totally out of mind, too.

“For the next two years, I wanted to get my equity card and be on Broadway. So, I did non-equity theater and equity theater when I could because you build up points – if a theater likes you enough, they make you equity and pay into the union,” Logue said. “That is how I discovered Sanibel during those two years after the cruise ships.”

A girl that he worked with while doing a production of “Crazy for You” in Pennsylvania, told him about the old Schoolhouse Theater and J.T. Smith. After contacting Smith, Logue said he was cast for the next show. He arrived on Sanibel and ended up seeing a show at the theater, which included Legarreta as one of the cast members.

“I just fell in love with the island. There were two seasons I worked for J.T. and then I got my equity card,” Logue said.

He returned to New York and had his first appearance on a Broadway stage at the Edison Theater as a cast member in “This Joint is Jumping.” That was followed with “Let’s Fall in Love” in Off Broadway on Theater Row, and then a lot of industrials, where he did the National Supermarket Award Shows, which he said laughing, was amazing money.

His last big show before returning to Sanibel was “Broadway Tonight,” which took him to Warsaw, Poland, in 2004.

“Believe it or not, Warsaw, Poland, really loved George Bush. So they had this humungous celebration at the palace in Warsaw and it went on for a month during the Fourth of July. I was the lead singer of the show, ‘Broadway Tonight’ that brought us to Poland. It was the coolest thing in the world,” Logue said.

Logue returned to New York at the age of 30, which changed everything. He said he was not being called upon because in the professional world 30 is considered old. Legarreta, who was running the Schoolhouse Theater, called Logue for a suggestion, which turned into a performance.

When he came down to do a show, a hurricane hit, leaving Sanibel without power. He went to a friend’s house in Cape Coral, which changed his views completely.

“There is a sense of community down here that is not like New York. You have a lot of really good friends, but if you live in Queens and they live in Brooklyn, you don’t have a car, so you have to take a subway and it will take you two hours. That circle of friends become smaller and smaller,” Logue said. “That particular night I went over to my friend’s house there was a group of 12 people. We had the best time ever. Something I had not felt since college.”

He became a resident choreographer for the Schoolhouse Theater, which then turned into becoming the stage manager.

“It was hard the first couple of years finding the satisfaction in the job. At the end of the day you don’t have 100 something people standing up saying bravo,” Logue said. “As a performer I took this for granted. It was hard for me to find my piece in that applause because I only knew that as an actor. It took a few years for me to find the fulfillment in all of that.”

After a few years as a stage manager, Logue took a season off. About two years before taking a break from theater, he started teaching tap classes for BIG ARTS. He said his students automatically turned into aunts, uncles, moms and dads.

“They are fantastic,” Logue said.

The class performed a number at The Sanibel Bean, which led someone in the audience to record the tap dancing.

“The first time I watched it I was paying attention to their feet and being really critical. Then I watched it again and watched their faces. It was pure joy. You know that kind of smile where your mouth is just gapping open . . . their eyes were just sparkling,” Logue said.

When BIG ARTS acquired the theater, Logue called and became the front house manager, stage manager and then volunteer coordinator.

“The minute I started back here, I found the fulfillment,” Logue said.

Logue was at home sick with a high fever when he was offered the job as the artistic director of BIG ARTS.

“It wasn’t until two days later I was like ‘Oh my God, I’m going to run the theater,'” he said. “It’s been the craziest adventure, but so much fun. As a performer you have to focus on yourself and be your own boss when you are on stage. It’s so nice in this position because I get a piece of all the magic.”

Logue said his vision as the artistic director is to try to lift people up and educate them through the arts, which in turn makes an individual a happier person. He said he loves doing shows, as well as rehearsing because he is apart of creating something from scratch.

“It needs all of that intense focus,” he said. “When we get a script that is all we get. From deciding what color someone’s hair is going to be, to what kind of costume, to where it is going to be set . . . that’s the joy. All of that hard work, when you know it came from nothing, except words on a page, just a good story (knowing) it is completely homemade.”

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.