Larry Shaw in costume before a performance of The Music Man.

Larry Shaw in costume before a performance of The Music Man.

Larry Shaw, Direct Support Professional (DSP) in Community Living (CL), has been bitten by the acting bug. Shaw, 44, auditioned for a small part in The Music Man at Columbia Entertainment Company after playfully singing with a coworker.

“She told me I had a good voice and convinced me to try out for a musical. I auditioned soon after and got the part!” Shaw says.

During the audition, Shaw’s dramatic side took over. He even started speaking with a British accent. His song choices, I Love You Lord and Amazing Grace, got him a standing ovation from the judges.

Two days later they called to offer him two parts, traveling salesman and townsperson.

Shaw, who hasn’t been in a play since he was in high school, is having a blast!

“It is absolutely amazing!” Shaw says. “They are teaching me how to read music and get in touch with my voice. I have connected with everyone, sound coordinators, stage hands, and the director. Everyone is family.”

His only complaint about the show is being out of shape. “I am the opening scene. I start the show with a musical number running around the theater in to the audience. Then I have to get to the opposite side of the stage and change costume in 60 seconds.” “I’m old. It’s hard,” Shaw jokes.

Shaw works full time driving a bus for Center of Responsive Education (CORE) in Columbia. CORE specializes in working with students with emotional, behavioral and mental health needs.

On the weekends he is thrilled to work full-time at ACT in the CL program.

“Working at ACT brings me joy. It’s a fun job. ‘The guys’ (Larry, Buddy, and David) and I fit so well together. It’s crazy,” Shaw says.

Shaw and “the guys” are always on the move, playing in the arcades, shopping, recycling, and attending local festivities. But they have really bonded over something that takes place at home: cooking.

“I love to cook!” Shaw says. “When I come over the guys know we are going to cook and eat well. That means fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, green beans…the works.”

For Shaw, the health insurance benefits ACT provides are the cherry on top of it all. It’s a first for him.

A successful run of The Music Man, which wrapped up the last weekend of June, leaves Shaw contemplating roles in the upcoming The Little Mermaid, at CEC, and Oliver at Maplewood Barn Community Theater.

Break a leg, Shaw! “The guys” and everyone at ACT are cheering you on!