We’ve been talking with a few of our better-known Thespian alumni. (View a list of distinguished Thespians.) Here’s what one of them had to say.
Emmy-winning actor John Goodman (Affton High School, St. Louis, 1971)
Roseanne, Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski, Monsters Inc., Argo, Inside Llewyn Davis.
Goodman fell into theatre casually in high school. “At my school they’d do a musical every spring, and I was just cruising around with another guy. He said he was going to go try out for it and did I want to come with him. I wound up auditioning and got a part. It was Li’l Abner. I think the part I played was Earthquake McGoon. But anyway, I wound up doing that and just had so much fun I did it again the next year.”
“We had a wonderful teacher named Judith Rethwisch,” Goodman said. “She had so much spirit it just infected everybody else. It really carried the day a lot of times. … It was fun and it was relatively easy—and there were a lot of girls around. It just kind of clicked, and I went to a junior college the next year. Then I went to Southwest Missouri State, where they had a great program I was lucky to get into. It just kept building up.”
Through his career, Goodman said, the things he learned on the Affton stage that he still takes to work with him every day are “basic courtesy and professionalism—and focus. They’re just simple things, but they stick with you through thick and thin.”
Just one of the two million in the city of Thespians.