COLUMBIA CITY — Local resident and Columbia City Joint High School (CCJHS) graduate Mick Long was awarded the Anthony Award June 24 for Outstanding Leading Male Performance in a Musical for his role as Edna Turnblad in “Hairspray.”
“‘Hairspray’ is now my favorite (show). The character of Edna was both the biggest challenge and most fun I’ve ever had with a role. And the show was so well received by the audiences,” said Long.
Long received the award for his theater contributions offered during the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre’s 2011-12 season.
This is Long’s second Anthony. He was recognized for the first time in 2009-10 for Outstanding Male Ensemble Performance in “The Producers.”
He said that prior to his role in “Hairspray,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” which he appeared in 2007 at the Fort Wayne Civic theater, would be his favorite show he’s performed in.
With a Bachelor of Arts in Theater and Drama from Indiana University, Long said his fascination for theater began at a young age.
“Although show business has very little to do with the theatrical creative process, that fascination is what drew me into it initially. My love of the artistic part of acting and theatre was encouraged by my family and by teachers like Dee Yoder and Marilyn Murphy. I’m also the youngest of three and have been told it’s a ‘center of attention’ thing,” quipped Long.
A Whitley County native, Long studied theatre at Michigan State University for two years, but graduated from IU.
Long said he lived in Chicago for about 12 years, moving back to Columbia City in 1999 to be closer to his family.
Previously, Long worked in the advertising department for The Post & Mail and now is employed at 80/20, Inc. in Columbia City. He is the son of Roger and Jean Long of rural Larwill.
While attending CCJHS, Long was a late bloomer when it came to the stage.
“I didn’t work up the courage to participate until my senior year. I was in ‘Hello, Dolly!’directed by Dee Yoder and ‘Play it Again, Sam’ with Marilyn Murphy directing,” reminisced Long.
Even though Long’s debut was delayed in high school, he still recognizes the positive effects the arts can have on students while in school as well as on into adulthood.
He said, “Although the arts always get the short end of the stick when it comes to funding, students who participate in them typically excel in all other areas of their academic studies. The value of developing and encouraging creativity is immeasurable.”
Just before the curtain goes up at any performance, Long said he wonders what he’s gotten himself into and feels sick to his stomach – but there are no plans to stop now.
“‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is one of my favorite books and films. I would love to play Atticus sometime. It also would be fun to do a one-person show and develop the character of some big personality like FDR or Truman Capote,” Long said.
As the spotlight continues to shine for Long, he knows that acting is something he will not soon give up.
He said, “Once you get the theatre bug in your system, it’s tough to shake. I’ll be 51 in a couple of weeks and I think my family thought I’d be over this by now. Not yet.“