You might recognize his face from “Good Morning Texas”, which airs at 9 a.m. weekdays on WFAA, or his voice from Texas Lottery or Taco Bueno commercials, or some English-language versions of Japanese anime films. Or maybe you’ve just seen him hanging around the White Rock area with his daughters. As busy as his schedule keeps him, performer extraordinaire Rob McCollum was prepared to “move heaven and earth” for the opportunity to star in one of his favorite musicals, “The Drowsy Chaperone”, which runs through Saturday, Jan. 8 at Theatre Three.
Did you always plan to be an actor or performer?
No. I acted in junior high and high school, and definitely had the bug, but I never knew you could do it for a living. So I took business classes at Trinity University in San Antonio — leave it to me to take business at a liberal university, huh? What was I thinking? I got to Dallas and took a job in sales and marketing. It was during that time that a group hired me to help market their actor’s showcase, and I got to know a little bit more about agents, casting directors and that world. I got an agent, and started doing some part-time work. I really liked it … so much that I became a licensed stockbroker, which eventually allowed me more time for acting pursuits. And eventually, I was able to make a living on acting.
So you can make it as an actor here in Dallas? You don’t have to go to Hollywood or New York?
It was a complete surprise to me how many actors are here in Dallas. You won’t get those big glamorous roles if you stay in Dallas, but you can make a very good living as an actor. I always would try to convince the guys who got the parts I wanted that they were ready to go to LA and make it big! I was content trying to be the big fish in the little pond.
You never wanted to move away to do theater in the Big Apple?
Well, my family is here. When I first got into this whole thing, I took some improv classes. I ended up marrying Krystal, the teacher. We had two girls, Manon and Lily, who are now 7 and 9. We are no longer married, but we get along wonderfully. She is also a pretty well-known actor who lives in this area.
Are you excited about your part in the award-winning musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone”?
I am completely excited. I first discovered the musical when my wife brought home the soundtrack after she saw the show on Broadway. Every member of our family knows all the songs. The show is an absolute love letter to musicals and expresses the way we feel about them: As much as we love musicals, we — us theater types especially — love to make fun of them and how silly they can be with their schmaltzy songs and such … this show allows us to comment on that, yet revel in it. I also love the idea that my children will be able to see this. They know all the music, and they will get to see their dad as “the man in chair”.
What does the “man in chair” role entail?
He is a musical theater geek, the narrator and not a part of any of the musical numbers, which works out well because I don’t sing particularly well.
With your gig on WFAA, it must be tough to make time for theater, no?
The director called me for the part because he remembered me from a role I auditioned for two years ago. During the audition, we talked about “The Drowsy Chaperone”, and he remembered that. Despite my busy schedule, when he called, I knew I would move heaven and earth to be able to do this.
How did you wind up as the “Good Morning Texas” co-host?
About two years ago, they put out the call for auditions. In the beginning, we didn’t even know what it was for. As we got deeper into the audition process, I learned that the former co-host, Gary Cogill, was moving to another role at WFAA, and that I was trying out for GMT.
What do you like most about the job?
It is a great job, and I get to meet so many interesting people. Meeting Eddie Izzard, for me, was a huge thrill. I had a total nerd moment meeting C3PO. I’ve met wonderful authors like Daniel Silva and, recently, the two gentlemen from John F. Kennedy’s secret service team who wrote a book about the Kennedy assassination. Then there are all the local people doing great things with local businesses and nonprofits. I also like that the position has allowed me to get the word out about local theater. Since coming to GMT, I have tried to be a voice for the Dallas arts community. The quality of local productions and talent is amazing.
Theatre Three is located at 2800 Routh Street, #168. 214.871. 3300. “The Drowsy Chaperone” runs through Jan. 8. Regular showtimes are Thursdays and Sundays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m.