Company Member Profile - James Scales

Welcome back to our Company Member Profile series on the Heritage Blog! Today we want to introduce you to the one the only James Scales!

While a lot of people reading this might recognize you from your turns on the stage, would you mind taking a moment to describe what it is you do for Heritage on a day to day basis? When you aren’t performing that is.

I’m the business manager, both for Heritage and the UVA Department of Drama.  If it involves money coming in or going out, it crosses my desk at some point. This morning I’m looking at a final proof of the Heritage playbill, making sure that all of Drama’s accounts are in good shape for fiscal year-end (and moving money around as necessary), reviewing a television ad, discussing how to put an out-of-town employee onto the payroll….

How did you first get involved in theatre? When did you realize that it was something you wanted to be a part of for the rest of your life?

I started acting when I was eleven.  I started thinking seriously about it as a career when I was a junior in college, but I wasn’t prepared to live the life of an actor—not knowing where or when your next job would be.  So I went to law school, my original plan A.  Three years out of law school, I started working here, where I’ve been able to act often enough to keep that side of me happy.

What is your favorite play or musical?

I’ll go with shows I’ve worked on.  Favorite play: ARCADIA by Tom Stoppard.  I was Assistant Director to Betsy Tucker for UVA’s production in 1999.  JP Scheidler (who I’m thrilled to be working with again this summer) was Septimus.  First-year student Sarah Drew was Thomasina.  It was a lovely production.  The play is so rich and overflowing with ideas.  Favorite musical: THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE.  It was a show I loved from the first time I saw it in New York, and I was so happy to be a part of it here.  The cast is pretty much onstage the whole show, so we really became a tight ensemble.  We laughed so much in rehearsals.  We only had six performances, but I would have been happy doing that show indefinitely.

What is your favorite thing to do in Cville?

We used to live downtown when my oldest child was a newborn, and we loved to just take a turn down the length of the mall and back.  We’d always run into someone we knew.  Great people-watching!

What is your favorite non-theatre related activity?

Watching and talking movies.  I used to work at Sneak Reviews.  I miss that part of my life, when I got to talk movies every day.

Desert island questions: you can only bring the following to a desert island, what do you choose:

  • Book  Complete Works of William Shakespeare
  • Movie  Peter Jackson’s THE LORD OF THE RINGS (extended edition). That counts as one!
  • TV show  Doctor Who (50 years worth of viewing material)
  • Two food items  Peanut Butter and Coffee

What show are you most looking forward to this season?

I’m looking forward to each of them in their own way.  How’s that for a non-answer!  I think the time is right to revisit Woody Guthrie’s anthems of economic justice, and I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and new ones in WOODY GUTHRIE’S AMERICAN SONG.  I’ve long admired the work of my friends Richard Warner and Jude Reagan, but I’ve never seen them onstage together, which is what CHAPATTI holds for me.  I can’t wait to see Bob Chapel tackle another Sondheim musical in the Culbreth (I don’t think he’s ever done one without me before!) with COMPANY.  BASKERVILLE and Barry Lubin promise to be tons of fun.  And, of course, I’m happy to be part of MIDDLETOWN with my daughter Colleen.  That experience has been a treat!

Star Wars or Star Trek?

I love me some Star Trek, but watching Star Wars can still make me feel like I’m nine years old again. I’m so happy to be able to share that experience with my own children with the new films.  (I don’t let them watch the prequels. Life’s too short.)

Marvel Comics or DC?

I enjoy visiting DC several times a year. It’s an easy day trip from Charlottesville. You know what my favorite of the Marvel movies has been?  BIG HERO 6.  I don’t think a lot of people saw it, but it’s very good.

Dogs or Cats?

We promised our children that they could have a pet when the older child is ten, which is now less than a year away.  When the weather is terrible, I try to point out “Boy! I’m sure glad I don’t have to take a dog for a walk in this rain/snow/microburst/derecho!”  Still, a year from now I’ll probably be a dog owner again.

Coke or Pepsi

(Diet) Coke.