The only non-chorus part I ever got to sing in a musical was also my last stage appearance, singing the song "The Company Way" from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying between college and law school with St. Aidan's Summer Stage, directed by John Hayes. So imagine my surprise when, a year after it was published, I stumbled on a well-deserved profile of the man and the program:
Even after 50 years in the theater, John Hayes says that guiding the young actors in St. Aidan’s Summer Stage never gets old.I would never have made a pro, but John Hayes got a good comic turn out of me, and it was a delight to be a part of his crew--and to see him and Carol again, almost two years ago now (!), at the Food Fight For St. Aidan's organized by old friends and classmates Anthony Clark and Kevin Ryan. I got a chance to thank them both then, in person, but seeing this article made me want to do it here. John Hayes is a fine director, a great teacher, and one of the kindest men I know. And his wife Carol puts up with all the chaos, bringing order--and has one of the warmest, most infectious, laughs I've ever heard.
“This is what keeps me going,” Hayes, 75, said. “I’m just happy that I’m healthy enough to do it.”
Hayes is currently directing the Summer Stage production of “Hello Dolly!” - the fourth musical he’s directed in as many years.
Hayes, who returned to Summer Stage in 2010 after a 16-year hiatus from the job, said he remembers directing his first professional production when he was 18 years old.
Hayes had been cast in an off-Broadway of “Arsenic and Old Lace” when the director had a heart attack and Hayes was asked to take over.
“It ran for a couple of weeks. It lost a lot of money but I was happy,” he said.
Hayes directed many successful off-Broadway shows following “Arsenic and Old Lace” before moving to community theater.
In his 37 years as director of the Herricks Community Theater, he has overseen 61 productions.
“It’s been crazy. Trying to keep up with him isn’t easy,” said his wife, Carol Hayes, who is the producer of Summer Stage and has been producing or co-producing the Herricks shows over the past 20 years.
Thank you both so much--even if it is a quarter century overdue.