If you’ve been involved at Parkway Playhouse in the past 30 years, you’ve likely had the opportunity to work with Bruce Chuvala, Parkway Playhouse’s long-time Technical Director. In December 2022, Bruce received recognition from The Playhouse for his decades of dedication and we’ve formally named our scene shop after him.
Bruce’s theatrical career began after he had already lived many lives. He received an economics degree from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, served as an aviation cadet in the Air Force, was later promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, became a husband and then a father, a retiree, and a cake decorator at his wife’s bakery on East Main Street. He landed in the theater world in 1991 and he’s become such a pivotal figure in our community since.
“I always hope that the sets I design and build fit in with the action on the stage and help the audience leave the theater feeling better than when they came.”
In the past three decades, Bruce has worked on the technical aspects of hundreds of shows for Parkway Playhouse, Mountain Heritage High School, Mitchell High School, and The Burnsville Little Theatre; and served as the Technical Director at Parkway Playhouse for many years. “I always hope that the sets I design and build fit in with the action on the stage and help the audience leave the theater feeling better than when they came.”, says Bruce.
While there isn’t much at Parkway Playhouse Bruce hasn’t had a hand in, Bruce’s joy is found in the spotlight. Bruce has had the distinction of playing himself on stage, in our production of Spirited Recollections: A Personal History of Burnsville. He has also appeared in countless productions as English butlers, police officers, train conductors, and even as Ebeneezer Scrooge in many productions of A Christmas Carol. “I like taking the thoughts of a director and giving them three-dimensional form on stage,” Bruce says about his work on and off stage.
“I love that old theater. It is a warm and comfortable place. It welcomes you with open arms and makes you feel at home.” He says. Bruce has impacted everyone who has been a part of Parkway Playhouse over the past few decades. Bruce has meticulously and lovingly cared for every nook, cranny, floorboard, prop room shelf, and curtain in the theater. It is difficult to imagine the theater being a workable facility for all these years without Bruce’s efforts.
“Bruce is as much an institution at Parkway as the building itself. I grew up in the theater with him as a mentor, and a wealth of information, and I’m blessed to now call him a friend.”
Our Staff, Board, and Community are grateful for Bruce Chuvala and are thankful for his contributions over the years. “Bruce is as much an institution at Parkway as the building itself. I grew up in the theater with him as a mentor, and a wealth of information, and I’m blessed to now call him a friend.” Says Jenny Martin, Parkway’s Director of Education and Outreach who has known Bruce for almost as long as he’s been a part of the Parkway family.
Have you worked with Bruce over the years? We’d love for you to share your stories with us! Please email email@example.com if you’re interested in sharing!