Open Forum in The Villages, Florida

John Kase's Transition: From Electrical Design to Stage Performance

September 29, 2023 Mike Roth & John Kase Season 4 Episode 12
Open Forum in The Villages, Florida
John Kase's Transition: From Electrical Design to Stage Performance
Open Forum in The Villages, Florida
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 Join us on this captivating journey as we sit down with John Kase, esteemed electrical designer and now a vibrant retiree residing in the Villages. John, a beacon of active living, shares with us his transition into retirement and how, from a career spent wiring up the world, he now lights up the stage in the Villages Improv group and even landed a role in the musical 'Grumpy Old Men'. From billiards to water volleyball, John's zest for staying involved will leave you inspired and maybe even a little envious.

Venture with us further into the world of Villages' Improv Club, as John gives us a sneak peek into their upcoming shows. With shows planned at the Ezell Rec Center and the Rohan Rec Center, John promises a thrilling roller coaster of laughter. And guess what? You're cordially invited to be part of these hilarious rendezvouses!

As we cap off our illuminating chat, stand by for a hilarious discourse on the art of song parodies in the Improv Club and how the snowbird season amps up the entertainment quotient. We also share our anticipation for the new performance venue set to light up the north side of the Villages and the annual Improv Festival in Sarasota. Plus, don't miss out on the secret sauce to making improv all the more enjoyable - a well-lubricated audience. Lastly, we express our heartfelt thanks to our supporters, and share some priceless Alzheimer's tips from Dr. Craig Curtis, a major supporter of the show. So, why wait? Tune in and buckle up for an entertaining ride! 

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Open Forum in The Villages, Florida is Produced & Directed by Mike Roth
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Emily:

Welcome to the Open Forum in the Villages Florida podcast. In this show we talk to leaders in the community, leaders of clubs and interesting folks who live here in the villages to give perspectives of what is happening here in the villages. We hope to add a new episode most Fridays at 9am. We are a listener supported podcast. You can become a supporter for as little as $3 per month or you can choose to pay more. To become a supporter, go to openforminthevillagescom and click on support in the black box. There will be shoutouts for supporters in episodes. In season 4, we have made some dramatic improvements and changes. First is a clarification of the podcast's title. It is Open Forum in the Villages, florida, to make clear that this is a regional show, independently produced for folks who live in central Florida and the villages areas. Hope you enjoy.

Mike Roth:

This is Mike Roth here today with John Case on Open Forum in the Villages. Thanks for joining us, john.

John Kase:

Oh, it's my pleasure, mike. Thank you.

Mike Roth:

John, before we get started, why don't you tell our listeners a little bit about your background before you got here to the Villages?

John Kase:

My background involved being an electrical designer. An electrical designer is a guy that does the drawings and the field checking for electrical engineers. But I never went to college so I could not be an engineer but I could be a senior designer. I did that as a profession for 42 years. I started right out of high school. During that time I worked at quite a varying group of companies because I did what was called job shopping, where I kind of went from factory to factory and company to company and an agent paid me my salary and they billed the clients. That worked out for me really well. In the last 20 years of my working I was at Armstrong World Industries in Lancaster, pennsylvania, my home. I retired from there in 2020.

Mike Roth:

Good you came to the Villages in 2020?.

John Kase:

Yes.

Mike Roth:

What clubs or organizations are you involved with here in the Villages?

John Kase:

The first toe dipping into this community was held back because of COVID. So we came down during COVID, my wife and I, really all we could do was go out for walks and bike rides. But we were living in the southern part of the Villages and the Village of Marsh Bend and they have a terrific three mile walking and biking path called the Hog Eye Sink. That was really what we did for about the first six months. Then, as things started to open up after COVID, restrictions were starting to get lifted, I joined a billiards club and played pool. Then I thought, well, this is fun, but I'm looking for something different and I always wanted to do comedy. So I did a little searching through the rec news and I found the group, the Villages Improv. I contacted you with an email and started to quiz you about it and you just welcomed me to check out the group and come to a meeting. That was the second organization that I joined, reg it to Be a Regular. After that we had got to know each other a little bit and you wanted to start Sister Club. It would be a Friday night venue at the Bacall Rec Center that was becoming available and you thought we could do something beyond improv, maybe with sketch comedy and stand up and work in a little improv. That became known as Boomer Humor. We helped get that off the ground, so I became a member of Boomer Humor.

John Kase:

Then I got into water volleyball. I do a lot of water volleyball at some of the sports pools that are south of 44. Probably finally, the last thing that happened was my wife and I decided to take golf lessons because we knew we were in such a strong golf community that it would be something that we could. My wife had never golfed. I had golfed in my 20s but decided somewhere along the way that it wasn't for me anymore. We went and took some lessons and she is now golfing four times a week. I might get out once a week if I'm lucky. She's also gotten into nature photography as well. We've came to this community for just that kind of lifestyle, where we wanted to stay active in retirement, and I think we certainly landed in the right place.

Mike Roth:

You got involved in a show from KC Productions.

John Kase:

To find KC Productions advertising on Facebook for an open audition call for their fall 2023 musical. Grumpy Old Men, the musical.

Mike Roth:

What part do you play in that?

John Kase:

I play the part of Jacob Goldman, and in the movie Grumpy Old Men, jacob Goldman was played by the actor Kevin Pollock and he was Max Goldman's son, and Max Goldman was played by Walter Matthow. So I'm the part of Jacob. I'm the only lawyer in town and I am trying to work with my widowed father, max, to kind of get him to live a better life than he's been living. And of course, if you remember the movie plot, a beautiful redhead moves in across the street from him and his neighbor John Guffstesson and that was the part that Jack Lemon played and then Hilarity ensues.

Mike Roth:

But now with music. Okay, so do you get to sing any songs in the play?

John Kase:

I get to sing four songs Four songs and I get to do a feature duet with Dawn Denome, who is very popular here in the villages. She's a terrific singer and performer. Dawn is playing the part of Melanie, which was portrayed in the movie by Darrell Hannah. So we have a long. We've been neighbors our whole life and I've always loved her from afar, but she wound up marrying the football captain and became the homecoming queen and I was a schlub and but now I'm a lawyer and but I have nobody in my life and she's ending her relationship with her husband. So there's a little play there as a little sub plot. There's a sub plot and it's Jacob and Melanie trying to discover each other.

Mike Roth:

And tell our listeners when the shows are going to be performed here in the villages Grumpy.

John Kase:

Old Men. The musical is going to be performed at the Savannah Center on October 25th, 26th and 27th and there'll be two shows daily. There'll be a three PM matinee and a seven PM evening show.

Mike Roth:

That's good. That's good, and they can get their tickets through the Villages Box Office.

John Kase:

Villages Box Office, the physical locations. You can also go on Villages entertainmentcom and look for the shows at the Savannah Center and then you'll see that Grumpy Old Men the musical will be listed there Good.

Mike Roth:

And I hope some people come out to see you.

John Kase:

That would be terrific. I was told by our director that the fall shows have always been a little difficult to sell out, but this is such a popular intellectual property that everybody our age is familiar with and has probably seen it that when you can go to a show that you have some understanding what the plot and the characters will be like, we're hoping that's going to be a big draw.

Mike Roth:

Yeah, and the name is a big draw, just by itself.

John Kase:

I passed two Grumpy Old Men on my way to your house here, to your studio.

Mike Roth:

Okay, I thought there were two Grumpy Old Men here in the studio.

John Kase:

Well, I have my days and I'm sure you have yours, yeah.

Mike Roth:

Yeah, I always like to put a little joke in for my grandson, evan. So, john, here it goes. How do you make an octopus laugh? How do?

John Kase:

you make an octopus laugh, that's right. How do you make an octopus laugh With tentacles? Okay, evan, I hope you enjoyed that one, okay.

Mike Roth:

John, you're also involved with the improvisational theater club, as we just also called the Village's Improv Club. Yes, as a featured player.

John Kase:

I have been with that group for probably two years now, close to I think. I was so happy to find it and then I was even more happy to find out that I was probably pretty good at it and I enjoy it very much.

Mike Roth:

Absolutely One of the best, and we do have a couple of private shows coming up and as well as public shows. We'll talk about the private shows first. Those are with other clubs and they're looking for entertainment.

John Kase:

Yes.

Mike Roth:

Usually those are our shows and in November, on November 7th, at the Isael Rec Center, we have a show which we're calling Mostly Improv 2023, which we'll have, like I said, as Mainly Improv, but it will include a little bit of stand-up humor. It will include at least one, maybe two song parodies. Yes, One by you, John, yes, and hopefully the other one will be sung by Wayne Richards.

John Kase:

That's terrific. He's a composer.

John Kase:

I don't know a lot about your listeners, mike, but I know that some more established villagers probably have not even been to the Isael Rec Center. They may not even know where the Isael Rec Center is and for their edification it is south of 44. If you were to stay on Morse Boulevard, morse Boulevard will go through a few roundabouts and become Megasin Road and the Isael Rec Center is off of that traffic circle. And if you have any familiarity with Sawgrass Grove, the entertainment and shopping and restaurant, A lot of people know that.

John Kase:

Yes, the Isael Rec Center shares a parking lot with Sawgrass Right, so it's very easily easily accessible. It's probably the newest community Rec Center. It's terrific. I'd recommend people don't be hesitant just because it seems like it's so far south from where you might be.

Mike Roth:

Come on down Right and with sure you won't need a visa. What you won't have to show your passport as you cross 44.

John Kase:

That's right. That's right. We in the south love the folks from the north, because we wouldn't be here if it weren't for them.

Mike Roth:

The tickets for the show at the Isael Rec Center are available now. The easiest way for people to get them is to go to the website, the villages, improvcom, and on the first page, if you scroll down, you'll find the link that will take you to the ticketing site. The Azalea Rec Center is smaller than Rohan and therefore there will only be 224 seats in the room. That's because of the design of the emergency exits and the space required. We can't get as many tables and chairs in there, but believe me, folks, not a bad seat in the house, right.

Mike Roth:

They're all only beef, I think six rows of tables, so you're not going to be that far from the stage. We have a good sound system with each actor miced with a headset mic, and it will be a lot of fun in a 90-minute show packed with at least 20 different acts.

John Kase:

The previous shows at the Rec Centers that I've seen and read about have gotten terrific reviews from people that have been there. There's a lot of online comments from folks that enjoyed the show and wish they'd have brought more family or friends with and want to come back for the next one, so we've gotten really good community feedback for what's gets put on, and we have more than a couple of people who've purchased more than eight tickets.

John Kase:

I would say so, and also interestingly, mike, I think that you've had people come to those shows and then wind up coming to the meetings and wanting to become part of the community.

Mike Roth:

We've had a couple of people go to a show, see a show and come into the club to participate. And on a going forward basis in February, on Saturday February 3rd we have a show, a large show, in a in Lake Mio and Auditorium for a private club here in the villages. And then on the next day, Sunday February 4th, we're going to do a show at Rohan for the general public. Yes, Tickets for that will go on sale, I'm going to say approximately November 8th.

John Kase:

And all of the cast members in the improv group are excited for these shows because we meet four times a month at the Rohan Rec Center and we find that we can work through some bugs. We can get in front of each other and try to make each other laugh and try to be accurate and sharp with what an improv actor needs to do. But being on the live stage with an audience is the payoff for that. So the more we're able to perform in front of a crowd, the happier we are as improvers.

Mike Roth:

Mm-hmm, and beginners are always welcome. Yes, okay, you learn the foundational rules of improv and then you learn by doing. We are the original improv club here in the villages. Now, john, you had never been on stage before you got here to the villages. That is correct. Did you have any problems with stage fright? Absolutely not. How did you deal with it? I'm the youngest of three children. Oh, so you're the one who likes to have the most fun.

John Kase:

I'm the one that had to carve my stage time out of two older siblings, two older sisters, and I think your birth order sometimes has a huge effect on your personality and I'm a strong believer in that.

John Kase:

And I think the youngest of a three or four or five sibling family is the last in line and something kicks in that tells you you're the last in line and that's not a good spot to be in. So I found that I was the entertainer in my family that would get the laughs, even at family functions, or if I could make my mom laugh, that was awesome. I didn't get my sisters to laugh till much later in life Because, yeah, I was the annoying little brother, I admit that. But I remember in elementary school I was probably in fourth grade, so I was 10 years old we did a spring concert where, because everybody learns to play instruments when you're in fourth grade, and at the end of the spring concert one of the teachers had an idea that someone would dance across the stage and drop their pants and on boxer shorts that they were wearing under the pants would be in big letters the end and they would bend over to the audience and that would close the show.

Mike Roth:

And what a great idea for improv.

John Kase:

I'll tell you what the music teacher immediately looked at me and pointed and said, john Case, you could do this.

John Kase:

And I'm like, yes, I can, and I did and I got the biggest laugh or pop from the audience and that stuck, that just stuck.

John Kase:

And I think a lot of people that enjoy performing on stage have similar stories that you get that first reaction and it's a drug.

John Kase:

So I've never, ever, had a problem with public speaking, being in front of an audience, being in front of a crowd, talking to strangers, and then I've worked in the engineering business for 42 years, so I was the exception and under the rule and I know, whether it was a job interview or a project meeting or whatever, my personality helped me advance through that career because there was such a dearth of that type of person that didn't want to speak Right and people enjoyed having that. Whether it was if you were a team member or even if I'd go on a job interview, I would be. The two or three people that were in there before me were probably dry and quiet and reserved and I came in. I didn't set myself on fire, but I came in and I made somebody laugh or I made them smile or I said a nice compliment that they enjoyed. That's always kind of been my personality, so being on stage here in the villages felt like home.

Mike Roth:

It felt like this is something that I'd been looking for Good good, and John has come up with the perfect ending for the show.

John Kase:

It's got to be somebody other than me, though.

Mike Roth:

I know just the person in the cast who would love to do that If you're thinking who I'm thinking of, yes, he would be thrilled. Okay, and if you've heard this recording and you've come to the show, make sure you come over and congratulate the fellow who ends the show at the end.

John Kase:

And honestly, the key to the whole bit is you've got to have baggy enough trousers that will stay on while you're walking but when you bend over will kind of slide down, so that there's science involved.

Mike Roth:

Yeah, this is Mike Roth with Dr Craig Curtis for today's Alzheimer's tip. Dr Curtis, tell us about genetics and how important it is.

Dr. Craig Curtis:

Thank you, mike. So we know that approximately 60 to 70% of all cases of Alzheimer's disease do have a genetic link and, yes, Alzheimer's disease does run in families. So if you have a loved one or a family member generally what we call a first degree relative that have had Alzheimer's disease, your risk is increased and we'd like you to see your doctor and discuss the topic discuss Alzheimer's disease as it's always important to catch symptoms early. With over 20 years of experience studying brain health, d Curtis's goal is to educate the village's community on how to live a longer, healthier life. To learn more, visit his website, craigcurtismd. com or call 352-500-5252 to attend a free seminar.

Mike Roth:

John, you've also written several song parodies for us at the Improvisational Theatre Club. Yes, I have.

John Kase:

I was actually thinking if we ever get enough of them, we can turn them into an album we're up to I think five or six, if you count the one that Norma Robinson's husband had originally written and I helped tweak for a show. That was something like started with Stop in the Name of Love, that's exactly it, and that was the first parody song that I've been involved with with the village's improv, but we're probably up to five or six since then.

Mike Roth:

Good, we'll have to do some new recordings of those.

John Kase:

It's again, mike. It's something that I think I would trace that back to Mad Magazine and a book that was something about songs or poems where one of their writers had rewritten standard songs or pop songs from the 60s and 70s with lyrics that were parodies. It's certainly like Weird Al Yankovic it's in that lane, but nobody is as good as Weird Al, except I know he always looked up to Spike Jones, but that was before my time. However, this stuff just pours out of me. I really enjoy doing it. I enjoy finding a song that fits.

John Kase:

You would give me a. You would say okay, we're performing for the Texas Club. Can you think of a song parody to do for the Texas Club? And the first thing I thought of was the Yellow Rose of Texas. They would probably stand up and cover, put their hand over their hearts if I started singing that, but I turned it into a song about a golf cart and they really enjoyed it. I thought it was pretty clever and I liked it and I think everybody did like it. So you give me a little bit of an idea, a kernel, to start with, and I usually can pick it up and run with it.

Mike Roth:

Yes, and you have a funny song for November 7th.

John Kase:

We do, we do, and I think about knowing what time of year it was that there would be people returning to the villages from their summer homes and those people are lovingly referred to as snowbirds where they, as soon as the snow is on or coming on the ground up north, they'll be back here in the villages and then, when spring comes, they return to their summer and spring homes and stay there for a few months. But we noticed that when the community tends to grow in size, some we are imposed upon like we aren't during the summer, whether it be a long line in the Publix to get your groceries or to get gas or if you're trying to get through a traffic circle, and a snowbird kind of got down here and forgot what the rules were and we thought that might be a good jump and off point for a song. And then, as it turns out for folks of my age and your age sure you remember the Ann Murray hit Snowbird and we thought, well, that's just, that's got to be it, it's a natural, yeah.

Mike Roth:

So I think we're going to have a lot of fun with that. Yeah, Wayne Richards is promising us this one, and in this particular show on the November 7th, this will be the first time that we have a keyboard accompanist playing along with us for the improv scenes and possibly some of the more scripted scenes, and that's terrific.

John Kase:

I think everybody who has watched whose line is it anyway on television has seen the keyboard player, Laura Hall, and some other folks that have filled that role and that really can help improv, set a mood, carry a scene and be all part of the comedy. That is, to get the audience involved. So that's terrific that Wayne's available to do that for us.

Mike Roth:

This spring a fellow named Bob Baker from St Louis came into the villages and he had 15 years of improv experience and played the guitar and he convinced me to let the group be led by him in some musical improvisations. Yes, and it was okay. And then later in the year I found out about something called the Sarasota Annual Improv Festival. It was at the end of July and Margaret Martin, myself and three or four other improvers from the group went down there. It was really the show. They had four theaters and they did shows from four o'clock in the afternoon to about 11 o'clock. Yes, and on Saturday afternoon actually old Vegas Saturday they had improvisational workshops. Most of the improv they did. There was long-form improv where the show went on for roughly 60 minutes.

John Kase:

That's pretty challenging.

Mike Roth:

But the innovation that I saw there was almost all the shows had a keyboard accompaniment and the accompanist really moved the scenes along, kept the show going and there were a lot of players who could sing and they sung lines. So it was a festival that I'm going to go back to and I recommend to everyone in the villages. But I'll share a little bit of a preview, because some of the villages in the north side of the villages may say, wow, going all the way down to the theater, it's a long way away. Well, come down to the cell, enjoy the show and then we're going to have a major announcement about a new performance venue on 441 in the north side of the villages.

John Kase:

You have my attention. I'm intrigued.

Mike Roth:

Yes, we're going to announce it to our members tomorrow, but it's a brand new venue. There'll be only 80 seats in it and we're going to do a couple of performances, and we may even get to the point where we can do one performance there every six weeks.

John Kase:

That sounds really exciting. I'm glad I stopped by today, but now I got a way today to find out.

Mike Roth:

That's a tease. The venue for the evening show, which has started about 6.30,. The patrons will pay $20 for dinner and two drinks. They could be carbonated beverages or they could be alcoholic beverages.

John Kase:

All right, I see that we've caught the attention of even more listeners now.

Mike Roth:

Yes, and for $25 you get per person. You get three drinks, which I would call a well lubricated audience, and improv tends to go over better with a lubricated audience.

John Kase:

Right, that's a great point to bring up again for the folks that are thinking about buying tickets for November 7th it is BYOB.

Mike Roth:

It is BYOB, bring your own snacks and for the shows that we do in villages, venues, as a lifestyle club, these are shows that you could bring to your grandchildren too. We don't say terribly naughty words.

John Kase:

Yes, we have the ability to read the room and make sure that our material is appropriate for our audience.

Mike Roth:

Now in this venue on 4.41, there will be no children and there will be no restrictions on what we say, so it could be a heck of a lot funnier show.

John Kase:

I know, folks, you can't hear a twinkle in my eye, but I certainly have a twinkle in my eye with this news. This is exciting.

Mike Roth:

Yes, the improv is going to move to the next level, john, is there anything else you want to tell our listeners before we sign off on this show?

John Kase:

Well, I would just appeal to the community to remember that we are here to live the next phase of our life and if laughing is as good for longevity as we are told by even medical experts, we are generating some comedy. We're generating comedy on a bunch of different stages, Whether it's a musical comedy that I'll be involved in again that's October 25th, 26th and 27th, Grumpy Old Men the Musical, and that will be at the Savannah Center or if it's an improv show on November 7th at the Rec Center, or if it's future shows that might become available with a new venue that we're hearing about. Or if you have a club and your club is looking for maybe some monthly entertainment, a 45 minute set of you know, we can bring our improv group with just a few cast members and be very comfortable in a smaller rec room.

Mike Roth:

Yeah, the venue up in on 441 will probably have a maximum cast of six. Yes, okay, and it's a small stage, so it'll be an intimate show with only 80 people in the room. Yes, but it's going to be a fun show.

John Kase:

Sure, and just to the villagers again, we know we are a community that loves live music, live entertainment, and what Mike is talking about and what I've talked about today is that putting an exclamation on live entertainment. You can go out and you can dance and you can sing along to the music, but you can also come out enjoy a great live show of comedy, and that's what we want to do.

Mike Roth:

Yeah, we want to make everyone's face muscles hurt because they smiled and laughed so much.

John Kase:

Left till. It hurts folks.

Mike Roth:

Okay, thanks, john.

John Kase:

It was my pleasure, Mike. Thank you for having me.

Emily:

Remember our next episode will be released next Friday at 9 am. Should you want to become a major supporter of the show or have questions, please contact us at mikeatrothvoice. com. This is a shout out for supporters Greg Panjian, Tweet Coleman, Dan Kapellan , Ed Williams, Alvin Stenzel and major supporter Dr Craig Curtis at K2 in the villages. We will be hearing more from Dr Curtis with short Alzheimer's tips each week. If you know someone who should be on the show, contact us at mikeatrothvoice. com. We thank everyone for listening to the show. The content of the show is copyrighted by Rothvoice 2023, all rights reserved.

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Improv Club and Overcoming Stage Fright
Improv Comedy and New Performance Venue
Next Episode Release and Shout Outs