Stephen Moorer

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Stephen Moorer
Stephen Moorer as title role in Shakespeare's Coriolanus, 1997.jpg
Stephen Moorer as the title role in Shakespeare's Coriolanus, 1997
Born (1961-09-29) September 29, 1961 (age 57)
AwardsBest Ensemble, Best Musical for Buddy, The Buddy Holly Story

Stephen Moorer (born September 29, 1961) is a stage actor, director and producer based on the Central California Coast.[1] He founded the only year-round professional theatre in Monterey County, GroveMont Theatre in 1982, renaming the non-profit organization Pacific Repertory Theatre in 1994, when the group acquired the Golden Bough Playhouse in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.[2]

Early life and family[edit]

Moorer was born in Santa Monica, California. His parents are George Edward Moorer, a retired salesman and entrepreneur, and Carrol Rothe Moorer, a nurse. When he was 11 years old, his family moved to the Monterey Peninsula. His mother acted in amateur performances in the San Fernando Valley, and Stephen got an early taste of performing in community theatre. His first principal role was Miles in The Innocents (based on The Turn of the Screw), with The Rafters Theatre Guild. Moorer attended the Carmel, California middle and high schools, becoming actively involved in the drama program, acting in and producing shows. In his senior year, he played a criminal mastermind in Wait Until Dark. From the age of 11 to 17, Moorer also studied theatre at Carmel's Children's Experimental Theatre.[1]

After graduating from high school in 1979, Moorer appeared in a 3-show repertory season at Hartnell Summer Theatre (which was later called the Western Stage). He returned to the Children's Experimental Theatre in 1980 for a paid internship, sponsored by CETA, studying acting and theatre production. In 1982, he trained in an intensive 16-week summer season at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.[1]

Moorer is married to Sarah Lapré of Carmel. He was previously married to Jeanne Wooster, Mickie Mosley, and Julie Hughett, with whom he has one daughter, Claire. He has two sisters, Jaqui Hope of Monterey, and Catherine Hudson of Carmel Valley.


Moorer's first professional acting experience was in 1979 at Hartnell Summer Theatre, playing Ottavio in Scapino. The following year he played Bertram in All's Well that Ends Well and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. He continued playing roles in companies throughout California, including Gunner in Misalliance (1981); Garth in Philadelphia Here I Come and Cliff in The Woolgatherer, Lancelot Gobbo in The Merchant of Venice and Tranio in Taming of the Shrew (all in 1982); Philip in The Lion in Winter and the title role in an adaptation of Tom Jones (both in 1983); Mark in Mass Appeal, Nick in David Mamet's The Woods and Toumel in A Flea in Her Ear (all in 1984); George in Of Mice and Men, John Merrick in The Elephant Man, Levinsky in Nuts, Dromio in Comedy of Errors and Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (all in 1985); Jack in Charley's Aunt (1986); and the title role in Robin Hood: The King Returns (1987) by Dan Gotch.[3]

Beginning in 1987, Moorer began to perform mostly with the theatre company that he founded, GroveMont Theatre, later known as Pacific Repertory Theatre (PacRep). His roles there in dramas, comedies and musicals included The Reporter in How I Got That Story (1987); Sylvestro in Scapino (1988); Williamson in Glengarry Glen Ross (1989); Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1990); Barry Champlain in Talk Radio (1992); the title roles in Hamlet (1993) and Volpone (2000); Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar; Johnny in Shimmer (1998); Brick in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Uncle Peck in How I Learned to Drive (both in 1999).[1][3]

At the Forest Theater, for the Carmel Shake-speare Festival, he played Richmond in Richard III (1993), the title role in Coriolanus (1997), and Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2000). In 2002, he returned to PacRep, where he revisited the title role in The Elephant Man (2002, opposite Barbara Babcock). Of this performance, one reviewer wrote, "Moorer reprises his 1988 role ... with skill and dignity. Working with no makeup or prosthesis to simulate Merrick's appearance, Moorer twists his face into a grotesque mask from which a high-pitched, rasping, wheezing voice emerges. From a physical aspect alone, Moorer's performance is skilled and noteworthy. Moorer also delivers a well-executed emotional performance that highlights Merrick's artistic sensitivity and droll sense of humor."[4] He next played Jason in Medea (2003)[5] (directed by Joseph Chaikin).[6] His performances as Ned in Elizabeth Rex and Edward de Vere in The Beard of Avon (2005), were praised by the critic of the Monterey County Weekly as "two of the greatest performances I've seen during three years of reviewing plays on the Peninsula".[7][8] In 2007, he played the title role in Macbeth (2007).[3]


Moorer has directed over a hundred productions.[7] His first directing job was A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Monterey Bay TheatreFest in 1987.[citation needed] At the Golden Bough Playhouse in Carmel, Moorer directed Pacific Repertory Theatre's (PacRep) inaugural production of Death of a Salesman (1995), as well as A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1987, 1994), Amadeus (1996), Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2 (2002), Henry V (2002), Passion (1997), Romeo & Juliet (1991, 1997), Antony & Cleopatra (1998), Cyrano (Wells adaptation) (1998), West Side Story (2001), Thomas of Woodstock (2001), and The Full Monty (2006, 2007). Moorer also directed PacRep's inaugural production at the Circle Theatre of the Golden Bough of La Bete (1995), as well as Sylvia (1998), Picasso at the Lapin Agile (2000), Edward III (2001), Richard II (2001), Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You (2002), Henry VI Parts 1, 2 & 3 (2004), and Richard III (2004).[3] Of his Shakespeare "Royal Blood" series, Talkin' Broadway wrote, "Moorer ... has assembled a brilliant cast of actors from both San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles.... Moorer's direction is first class as he makes both productions exciting human dramas."[9] Another critic wrote, "director Stephen Moorer handles the time-shifting sequences with a keen immediacy that's become his trademark".[10][11]

Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story, San Francisco, directed by Stephen Moorer

He directed the West Coast premieres of The Madness of King George (1995), High School Musical (2007), High School Musical 2 (2009) and Talking to Terrorists (2006). At other theatres, he has directed The Wizard of Oz (2008), A Midsummer Night's Dream (2007), Othello (1992), King Lear (1999), Romeo and Juliet (1991), Nunsense (1991), Laughing Wild (1991), and The Merchant of Venice (1995), among others.[1][12]

In 2003, Moorer produced and directed a Bay Area Critics' Awards-winning production of Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story.[13][14] This production, starring Travis Poelle, opened at the Golden Bough Playhouse in Carmel and moved to San Jose, playing at the San Jose Stage. The success of the production led to a revival in 2004 at the Post St. Theatre in San Francisco, garnering positive reviews[14] and Bay Area Critics' awards for Best Musical, Best Ensemble, and Best Actor in a Musical (Travis Poelle).[15] Buddy Holly's widow, Maria Elena Holly, attended the show at each location, dancing onstage with the cast at curtain call.[16] This production later returned to Carmel for several runs, most recently in 2008.[17]

In 2009, Moorer directed Laughter on the 23rd Floor for Pacific Repertory Theatre. The Monterey County Herald wrote, "Moorer has staged a terrific version of this play with a fun and talented cast".[18]


Moorer began working in theatre production in 1981 as production manager for Carl Cherry Foundation's New Play Series.[1] By 2006, he had produced over 350 shows.[7] He founded GroveMont Theatre, now Pacific Repertory Theatre, in 1982, acting as Artistic Director, and based the company in the Monterey Playhouse.[19] Since that time, he has continued to lead the organization's activities as a major Monterey County arts institution and the only professional theatre company on the Monterey Peninsula.[20][21] In 1986, he oversaw the creation of the GroveMont Theatre Arts Center (now the Hoffman Street Theatre), and in 1990, he directed the renovation of the Monterey Playhouse. In 1993, Moorer spearheaded the campaign to save the Golden Bough Playhouse, and he has since directed its ongoing development and renovation.[22][23] In 2008, Moorer moved from being Pacific Repertory Theatre's artistic director to become its executive director.[24]

In 1990, Moorer founded the Carmel Shake-speare Festival.[25][26] This annual summer festival uses all three of PacRep's stages, presenting a rotating repertory of Shakespeare, musicals, children's plays and other classic works of English-language drama.[27] Moorer also founded the Monterey Bay TheatreFest[28] and the Actors-in-the-Adobes programs. He is also the co-founder of the Monterey County Theatre Alliance, a founding Board Member of Monterey Opera Association,[1] the co-founder of Forest Theater Foundation, and a founding Board Member of Carmel Performing Arts Festival.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Blum, Terry (January 2002). "Spotlight On Carmel Stephen Moorer"., reprinted from Back Stage, published by Monterey County Theatre Alliance. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  2. ^ Hurwitt, Robert (2008-02-24). "For Bay Area theater, change at the top". Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  3. ^ a b c d e Moorer's credits at the PacRep website. Archived 2013-04-15 at Retrieved July 22, 2009
  4. ^ Thurman, Chuck. "The Elephant Man reveals what society struggles to conceal",[permanent dead link] Monterey County Weekly, June 13, 2002. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  5. ^ Thurman, Chuck (2003-02-27). "Jeffers' Medea". Monterey County Weekly. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  6. ^ McKevitt, Karen. "Joseph Chaikin Directs Medea at Pacific Repertory Theatre", Archived 2008-10-13 at the Wayback Machine. Theatre Bay Area, 2003. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  7. ^ a b c Masters, Ryan. "Community theater is about community, but it still has its stars", Archived 2007-06-28 at Monterey County Weekly, September 7, 2006, page 3. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  8. ^ Masters, Ryan. "Beard dramatizes dispute over the dramatist’s identity", Archived 2007-06-28 at Monterey County Weekly, September 22, 2005. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  9. ^ Connema, Richard. "The Pacific Repertory Theatre Royal Blood Series continues with Henry VI, Part 3 and Richard III, Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  10. ^ "Showy 'Henry IV'; is Shakespeare in a blender", Monterey County Herald, August 22, 2002, p. GO11, Retrieved July 22, 2009
  11. ^ Thurman, Chuck. "Pac Rep's Henry VI, parts 1 and 2",[permanent dead link] Monterey County Weekly, August 28, 2003. Retrieved July 22, 2009
  12. ^ High School Musical 2 Archived 2011-07-27 at the Wayback Machine. at the Pacific Repertory Theatre website
  13. ^ "The Bay Area Critics Circle Awards 2004". Theatre Bay Area. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  14. ^ a b Richter, Judy. Review of Buddy, Aisle Say San Francisco. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  15. ^ Information about the Bay Area Critics' awards
  16. ^ Clisby, Heather. "Special Report: Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story", Movie Magazine International, June 16, 2004. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  17. ^ 2008 Events Calendar, Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau
  18. ^ Shuler, Barbara Rose. "Pacific Repertory Theatre stages a terrific version of Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor", Monterey County Herald, June 25, 2009
  19. ^ "A Theater Opens in Carmel", San Jose Mercury News, July 6, 1994, p. 3E
  20. ^ "The Community Foundation for Monterey County". Archived from the original on July 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
  21. ^ "Pacific Repertory Theatre", Archived 2008-09-26 at the Wayback Machine. Theatre Bay Area website, accessed July 23, 2009
  22. ^ Lyons, Jessica. "The Packard Foundation has made a mark on global philanthropy, nowhere more profoundly than in Monterey County", Monterey County Weekly, October 25, 2001. Retrieved July 22, 2009.
  23. ^ Thurman, Chuck. "The Pacific Repertory Theatre enters a new era with its star-studded production of The Cherry Orchard",[permanent dead link] Monterey County Weekly, July 12, 2001
  24. ^ Hurwitt, Robert. "For Bay Area theater, change at the top", San Francisco Chronicle, February 24, 2008
  25. ^ "Monterey Peninsula Takes a Theatrical Step Forward", San Jose Mercury News, March 7, 1995, p. 1E
  26. ^ "25th Annual Conference to be held in Carmel, California", Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter, January 1, 2001
  27. ^ Clarkson, pp. 28–29.
  28. ^ "Pac Rep's TheaterFest kicks off this weekend", Monterey County Herald, June 26, 2003, p. GO27


  • "The Madness of Kings: A Small Company Takes on the Great Theatrical Tale of America's Last Royal Ruler", San Jose Mercury News, July 14, 1995, p. 39E
  • Clarkson, Philip B. "Carmel Shake-speare Festival", Shakespeare Companies and Festivals: An International Guide, pp. 28–31 (Eds. Ron Engle, Felicia Hardison Londré and Daniel J. Watermeier). Greenwood Publishing Group, 1995 ISBN 0-313-27434-7

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