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From school plays and community theatre to regional and New York, John has been doing theatre for most of his life, the great bulk of which has been new works.
To enjoy the performance above of “My Blanket & Me” from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, scroll down to the third section below.
as a theatre actor
JOHN RAYMOND BARKER (he/him/his) is a Master of Fine Arts graduate from the University of Houston School of Theatre where a large part of his training included working on new plays and musicals with Stuart Ostrow, Edward Albee, Jerry Bock, and Jerry Sterner. Represented by ATB Talent and a proud member of Actors’ Equity, John’s New York theatre credits include several new musicals, including the leads in Avarice & Dumped, Truman Capote in Don’t Go Gently, and Lee Feldman’s Greene. John performed and co-wrote the devised work, Gold Coast, with Stages on the Sound for Metropolitan Playhouse’s Gilded Stage Festival under the guidance of Tectonic Theater Project’s Scott Barrow. Regional theatre credits include Theatre Under The Stars (What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Grand Hotel, Funny Girl, Zorro); 5th Avenue Theatre (Grand Hotel); Alley Theatre (Christopher Dudgeon in The Devil’s Disciple, A Flea In Her Ear); Stages Repertory Theatre (Shakespeare’s R&J, The Firebird) John recently made his network television debut guest starring on Law & Order: SVU. Other Internet/Television: HuffPost Live (recurring), A Crime to Remember. Recordings: Show Choir! The Musical Studio Recording, Avarice the Musical Cast Recording, Carols for a Cure Volume 12 with Bernadette Peters and the cast of A Little Night Music, “Vampire Drag Queen”, & Our First Christmas Together.
Visual Theatre Resume
Part scrapbook, part showcase, the following is a nice overview of most of my theatrical acting career, plus some moments from grade school for a little fun. Unfortunately, I was not able to gather photos & videos for all projects. Please pardon all the dust as this page is under much remodeling.
New York Theatre
Avarice the Musical
One of the few leading roles my character-acting self has gotten to play, and it was a pop/rock musical as well. It was an honor to be trusted to be the first actor to play the author surrogate role in this Off-Off-Broadway production. Book, music, & lyrics by J. William Bruce. Directed by Stacy Lee Tilton
Show Choir! The Musical
2015 Studio Cast Album
I was thrilled to be a part of this recording which stars Kevin Duda and Christiane Noll. This wonderful musical was created by two very dear friends, Mark McDaniels & Donald Garverick. Visit them at www.showchoirthemusical.com
as Harry Woolworth:
as Donnie Schwarzenstein :
as Bryan Bayridge:
Don’t Go Gently
Jackson Repertory Theatre in Queens, NY produced this staged reading, and I hope I haven’t seen the last of this lovely new musical written by my friends, brothers Jim & Sonny Knable. What I do know is that it is just the beginning of my playing Truman Capote in any theatre or film that will have me. Directed by Rosemary Andress
During the year I was a Teaching Artist with Stages on the Sound, I got the chance to co-write the devised work, Gold Coast, with Stages on the Sound for Metropolitan Playhouse’s Gilded Stage Festival under the guidance of Tectonic Theater Project’s Scott Barrow. I fell in love with devised work, and I always enjoy the chance to play multiple characters.
Kingdom of Earth
I’m including this even though it was work that I did for a class because we did perform it for an invited audience, and it was my favorite part to play in any acting class ever. Plus, I’ll take any chance to praise the brilliant Karen Kohlhaas, who is one of my greatest teachers of all-time.
Dumped a new musical comedy
In this staged reading of a new musical Off-Off-Broadway, I played the lead, Cupid, whose meddling allowed me to create nine characters. It’s the type of work where I really get to show off and shine.
Greene a new musical noir fantasy
My first project in NYC was this staged reading of a new musical by the acclaimed Lee Feldman. I played an array of eccentric characters including a singing phone sex girl. We later got to perform the show on WNYC’s Soundcheck. Directed by Russ Kaplan
The Devil’s Disciple – Alley Theatre
Having grown up in the Houston area, it was a dream come true to be in an Alley Theatre production with its company, especially with the incomparable Bettye Fitzpatrick playing my mother. I double sprained my ankle the day of final dress. I damn well wrapped my foot up, packed it into my shoe, and went on that night. I was directed to keep the limp after I healed as it added greatly to the character and made for great humor. Written by George Bernard Shaw. Directed by Gregory Boyd
Production photos: Jim Caldwell
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? – Theatre Under The Stars
The show that could have taken me to Broadway did not. The sensational Millicent Martin would surely have won a Tony, which is why director, David Taylor laughed when I naively worried I might be upstaging her in a scene. People like to ask for any salacious stories as they imagine all kinds of drama having surrounded the show, but the real truth is that it was a joy to work on, and I’ll never forget novelist and book writer, Henry Farrell telling me how I was saving the show so much money what with my being able to play a young mailman, a middle-aged vaudevillian, and an elderly film director. I also got to work with the lovely Leslie Denniston. This show brought me exactly to the required points to join Actors’ Equity just before moving to NYC. Music by Lee Pockriss. Lyrics by Hal Hackady. Music direction by Michael Biagi. Choreography by Dan Siretta
Grand Hotel – 5th Avenue Theatre & Theatre Under The Stars
I got to do this show two different ways with the legendary Liliane Montevecchi reprising her Tony-nominated performance. We first did the show in traditional proscenium at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, WA. Then, in just one week, the production was transformed magically into theatre in the round when Theatre Under The Stars in Houston, TX was awaiting the opening of the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Choreographed by Richard Stafford. Directed by Bruce Lumpkin
Production photos: Chris Bennion
Shakespeare’s R & J – Stages
Finally landing a MainStage role at Houston’s Stages and working with director, Rob Bundy, on this cool piece was one of my favorite experiences ever. As Student 3, I got to play Mercutio, Friar Lawrence, Lady Capulet, and more. I felt like I conquered Shakespeare and proved I was more than just a “musical theatre actor”. I could have joined Equity with this production, but chose to waive, wanting to join before moving to NYC. Fun fact: Nothing gets your heart racing like running onstage at the top of Act 2nd and while delivering lines to the audience, suddenly locking eyes with Edward Albee. Written by Joe Calarco
The Magic Journey – Children’s Theatre Festival
The Magic Journey
"Aw Mom Aw Mom"*
Not only did I get the privilege of creating a role in a Jerry Bock musical once–I got to do it a second time in this charming children’s show that used songs he’d written long ago for a children’s radio show in NYC. This production was part of the Children’s Theatre Festival in Houston, the first of several collaborations for Mr. Bock and book writer Sidney L Berger. Directed by Chesley Krohn
*I need to confirm if this is the actual title of the song.
Additional shows at Theatre Under The Stars
Playing the role of Adolph at TUTS, I had a moment where I had the audience roaring without saying a word. And that wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of the great Marilyn Sokol, who rehearsed comic moments with me with the same importance she gave when rehearsing with Darcie Roberts as Fanny. Directed by Bruce Lumpkin
Zorro the Musical
This new jukebox operetta at TUTS was my first time in an Equity production and the first of my EMC points that earned me my Equity card. Directed by Frank M. Young
1st Annual American Musical Theatre Awards
1st Annual American Musical Theatre Awards honoring Jerry Herman
One of the, if not the, first things to ever perform at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. It was a heck of a star-studded show produced by Theatre Under The Stars. I was one of a handful of pit singers who sat with the orchestra onstage while different stars and dancers performed the songs that made Jerry Herman famous. Musical direction by Ron Abel. Directed by David Galligan
Additional shows at Stages Repertory Theatre
This world premiere children’s show at Houston’s Stages Repertory Theatre was so much fun, but also very hard work. Playing a servant character along with Doris Davis meant we had to do the heavy lifting of creating rivers and forests and such. In one delightful scene, she and I played a lobster and crab, respectfully. Multiple performances day after day made for moments of temporary insanity. Did we do the river yet? Should I be getting into the crab costume?. As you can see, the shellfish costumes were hilarious. We only lost our minds and lines onstage once. and it was during that scene on a particularly loopy day. Fortunately, the worst/funniest moment happened during a dress rehearsal and not in front of any children: Doris accidentally clipped off one of her lobster eyeballs with her claw. This is definitely one of the shows if not the number one show where I’ve laughed the most throughout. Directed by Chesley Krohn
Little Red Riding Hood
My first show at Stages Repertory Theatre and the first time I got to have my face molded for fantasy makeup. I played an adorable owl. This was one of many shows I did with the phenominal director, Chesley Krohn.
The Toys Take Over Christmas
Not only did I help take over Christmas, I literally took over one of the lead roles overnight when an actor had to leave the show. With only a script, a VHS tape, and a quick put in rehearsal the morning before, I learned the lines and blocking and managed to save the day. Directed by Chesley Krohn
Additional shows at the Alley Theatre
Houston Young Playwrights Exchange
The only thing better than interpreting a role for a writer developing their new work is when that writer is a young person who may just become inspired to pursue a career as a playwright. Houston Young Playwrights Exchange (HYPE) at the Alley Theatre cultivated this very idea. In Hominids Are People, Too, I got to play a raucous caveman in a delightful comedy. My work in this was what led to my getting to be a standby for the Alley’s A Flea In Her Ear and a supporting role in The Devil’s Disciple.
A Flea In Her Ear
I never got to go on in the part of Rugby, but I had the best time getting my first chance to rehearse with the great company actors of the Alley Theatre in the event that this wild farce did some harm. Directed by Gregory Boyd
While this was not an Alley Theatre production, it was staged at the Alley Theatre. Started by Paul Hope, this was the first concert staging for charity by the company that would later be known as Bayou City Musicals. Despite some errors I’ve seen in the press, the production was performed on the main stage of the Alley Theatre. And it was filled with a who’s who of Houston theatrical royalty. When one lady entered the green room, I exclaimed for her to take my seat as I had just read her bio (I’m a good Texas boy; I would have offered my seat regardless).
shows at Main Street Theater
A Few Things From My School Days
You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown
“My Blanket & Me” from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown as a sophomore in high school. Music and lyrics by Clark Gesner. Book by John Gordon. Directed by Judy Radigan.
Little Shop of Horrors
While attending Alvin Community College, Seymour officially became my favorite role of all-time that I desperately wish to play again if they ever stop casting pretty boy twinks and realize how poignant the role is being played by someone you could actually believe might need the devil’s help getting the girl. Book & lyrics by Howard Ashman. Music by Alan Menken. Directed by C. Jay Burton
My Emperor's New Clothes
Not only was this a fun, scenery-chewing part, but I moonlighted as the costume designer while attending Texas A&M at Commerce. I’m also including this character so that anyone casting Hamilton can see how very royal I can be. Directed by Anne Bomar
1040: World Premiere with Ostrow, Bock, & Sterner
What a dream world getting to create a character in the first musical where the great Jerry Bock wrote his own lyrics and Jerry Sterner (Other People’s Money) was writing the book. It was my first exposure to Equity rehearsal hours as we had two Equity guest artists and a creative team out of NYC for this workshop with the legendary Stuart Ostrow at the University of Houston. Coupled with classes, it was quite a harsh adjustment. But like any bootcamp, it whipped me into shape and drove home the harshness that must come with making difficult choices to hopefully attain something great. The perfect example: we spent 14 hours choreographing a number where as party guests, every bit of our movement was orchestrated. And then the number was cut. Savage. Directed by Lou Jacob
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