Frank Goodloe III needed to decide between football or piano. The six-foot-five New Castle native picked football.
“I started taking piano lessons in high school, but I also played football and basketball,” he said. “I used to complain about piano practice because I was tired from football practice. Eventually, I quit and never went back.”
While Goodloe never learned to play piano, music — more specifically musical theater — wouldn’t be pushed aside for football.
Today, Goodloe is a familiar face in The J’s hallways and stage. A member of the CenterStage Company for 15 years, Goodloe made his debut in the company’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He went on to perform memorable roles, including Tin Man in Wizard of Oz, Jim in Big River, Karl the Giant in Big Fish and, most recently, Hoke Colburn in Driving Miss Daisy.
Goodloe has served as CenterStage’s Main Stage production manager and its interim director. This past March, he was named performance and visual arts director for CenterStage and the Arts and Ideas Department.
For this new position, Goodloe will oversee all Main Stage productions, Louisville’s Got Talent (a youth talent competition benefiting Acting Out, CenterStage’s professional touring children’s theater) and Light Up CenterStage.
In addition, he will coordinate the exhibits in the J Patio Gallery.
Working more off stage than on stage isn’t a drag for Goodloe. “I love directing, acting, singing and just being creative,” he said. “I want to keep giving audiences professional quality shows.”
His biggest goal is to have a color-blind cast in all shows, when possible. “I want the audience to look up and see multi-racial everything,” he says.
Thanks to President Lincoln
Hamilton may be today’s Founding Father theater darling, but Goodloe’s introduction to the theater is all thanks to another icon of American history – Abraham Lincoln.
In fourth grade, Goodloe performed in his first play, which centered around Lincoln.
“I remember I played a boy who wrote a story and my first line was, ‘Lincoln, Lincoln, Lincoln, what can I write about Abraham Lincoln?’ Then the rest of the cast came out dressed as pennies.
“As I got older, I got more into acting and singing. I used to turn on The Cosby Show and act like I was Theo Huxtable [a character on the show played by actor Malcolm Jamal-Warner.]”
Performing in high school musicals followed. After graduating from Henry County High School, Goodloe moved to Louisville. He attended Jefferson Community and Technical College classes and worked at Cedar Lake Lodge. Then he joined the cast of Blue Apple Players (now Commonwealth Theater) for six years. He performed at Derby Dinner Playhouse in Clarksville, Indiana, Music Theater of Louisville (now Stage One Family Theatre) and performed with a national theater touring company based in Evansville, Indiana.
“I’d watch directors and see how they directed me and others,” he said, “and that really became my education.”
For the 2018-2019 CenterStage season, Goodloe plans to direct or hire guest directors for each show.
New Castle pride
He may be a Louisville local today, but New Castle hasn’t forgotten him.
“My Mom, Dad, and sisters have only missed one of my shows [due to an out-of-town wedding],” he said. “When I performed Hoke in Driving Miss Daisy, my high school friends and two of my teachers came to see it. It touched and warmed my heart.”
Now he hopes to warm the hearts of CenterStage audiences.
“I just want CenterStage to continue to grow and prosper,” Goodloe said. “When people leave a show, I want them to feel excited and inspired.”
So, does that mean that Goodloe’s football days are behind him?
“I saw a shirt that says, ‘Musical theater is your sport,’” he said with a laugh. “That’s me.”