Much to his surprise, the person in charge told him to show up when he could work it into his schedule. If it hadn’t been for that flexibility, McDaniel might not have landed his first role in community theater. He later directed that show for DLO’s 50th anniversary in 2005.
McDaniel is still friends with people who were in that DLO show. In fact, that’s what he likes most about community theater — the camaraderie.
“At least 50 percent of my friends are from theater,” he said.
He has appeared in numerous DLO and Red Mask Theatre plays, as well as Beef House Dinner Theatre. McDaniel has been in several independent films, and had scenes with Ed Asner in “Sheeba,” filmed by Dreamscape Cinema in 2003, and appeared in “Act Your Age” in 2006.
McDaniel has impersonated historical figures, including Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis.
He also has held administrative positions with DLO and the Danville Area Arts Council, and served seven one-year terms on the theater advisory panel of the Illinois Arts Council. He has been on the DLO board of directors since 1966.
Currently, McDaniel is in rehearsals for “Les Miserables,” which will be his first all singing part.
Although he enjoys acting, he said he’s never had an overwhelming desire to make it a career. McDaniel enjoys his life as it is — working as an editor during the day and an actor at night.
Since he was 19, McDaniel has made a living as an editor in the publishing field. He started with Interstate Printers & Publishers; in 2002, it was sold to a larger publisher and McDaniel went to work for CAERT (Center for Agricultural and Environmental Research and Training, Inc.). The company, on the second floor of the federal building, develops online curriculum, content and assessments for career and technical education.
He marked his 50th anniversary as an editor in 2010 — and shows no signs of retiring.
FYI Learn more about the American Association of Community Theatre at www.aact.org.