Artist Profile: Earl Reid directs ‘100 Lunches’ at Quality Inn

Earl Reid, the third of eight children, says as a kid he was “somewhat shy, skinny as a rail, and short.”

No longer shy, Reid has been involved in Whatcom County theater both onstage and behind the scenes since 1999.

His current endeavor is directing “100 Lunches: A Gourmet Comedy,” to be staged at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 19-20, and June 26 and 27 at Quality Inn’s Atlantis Room, 100 E. Kellogg Road.

The show is produced by Nearly Stellar Entertainment, a venture Reid and his friend Sally Lubetich started in 2001. Together, they have staged three or four full-length shows a year, and been involved with the one-act festivals at Bellingham Theatre Guild.

Question: What’s this show about?

Answer: Written by Leo W. Sears and Jack Sharkey, it’s about a playwright, played by Spencer Pope, and a reporter, played by Nicole Winkler, who pans every opening performance of every show Pope writes.

She tries to make amends by asking for playwriting lessons. They agree, she pays (for 100 lunches) and he teaches her playwriting. The fun only begins there.

His daughter Terry, played by Jennifer Harvey; a housekeeper, played by Sally Lubetich; and a sexy neighbor, played by Carol Tortuga, add to the hilarity, and outtakes from seven of the 100 lunches with Alan Birdsall playing all seven related waiters. What a fun romp!

Q: What groups have you performed with in Whatcom County?

A: At the young age of 62 I have performed at the Bellingham Theatre Guild, the Claire vg Thomas Theatre in Lynden, the Northwest Washington Theatre Group, the iDiOm, and a group in Ferndale.

Q: Do you have a good story about your time in local theater?

A: One of my most memorable moments on stage was during “Rough Crossing” by Tom Stoppard at Bellingham Theatre Guild. My character ate constantly during the show, and at the beginning of Act 2 I was standing in front of a buffet table eating when the lights came up; before the action started someone in the audience said loudly, “Oh, look, he’s eating again.” It was all I could do to suppress a laugh, knowing that soon I would be pulling a banana out of my pocket.

I have enjoyed all the shows I have been in or directed. I’ve done “The Fantasticks” three times, first at the Summer Palace in Pullman, then at the BTG and lastly at Mount Baker Theatre. I have played three different characters in the show; my favorite was Bellomy, the lead girl’s father. And Grandpa in “You Can’t Take it With You” with Lynden Performing Arts Guild was another favorite show.

Q: What do you like about being involved in theater?

A: I enjoy acting because I can be anything or anyone, and it gives the audience a chance to slip out of their everyday life and be a part of something different.

In December of 2013 I played Sydney Carlton, opposite Nicole Winkler, in “Inspecting Carol” at the BTG, and it was one of the funnest and favorite shows I can remember doing. I received a Bentley Award from the guild for that role. Nicole and I also received a Bentley for “Best Performance by a Duo.”

Directing gives me the opportunity to bring a play to life from beginning to end, and to help mold the actors into a believability of their roles. I have directed more than 30 shows with Nearly Stellar Entertainment (and acted in most of them), and two musicals up in Lynden, “Something’s Afoot” and “The Christmas Schooner.”

I also do an occasional short film or commercial.

Q: What’s your job history?

A: I am currently employed at Sterling Insurance in the mail room. I graduated from Washington State University in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in theater, got a job in the glass business and moved to Los Angeles, where I worked four years in the auto glass business. I moved to Bellingham in 1982, tended bar at the Beech House Pub for 16 years, then did 11-year stint as a pawnbroker at Frank’s Place.

Nearly Stellar Entertainment: “100 Lunches, A Gourmet Comedy”

When: 7:30 p.m. June 19, 20, 26, 27

Where: Quality Inn, 100 E. Kellogg Road, Bellingham

Cost: $10 students, $12 general

Details: 360-927-0378, 360-303-4036