Ex-Oakwood, Tipp resident finds steady work on stage

It’s a glad and “Plaid” Christmas for former Tipp City and Oakwood resident Jason Heil, who’s making his debut at the famed Old Globe Theatre in San Diego.

He’s in the cast of the musical “Plaid Tidings” through Dec. 26 in the holiday spinoff of “Forever Plaid,” about a 1950s-60s quartet that comes back from heaven for one more show on earth. He plays the character Smudge.

Heil is the exception to the supposed rule that theater is a poor career choice. He’s been steadily employed and has a stable home life.

Even so, the chance to take the stage at the Old Globe is a feather in his cap. The 70-year-old landmark is one of the country’s most renowned regional professional theaters.

Heil, who attended Smith Elementary School in Oakwood and Tippecanoe High School in Tipp City, got into theater "probably because I loved watching it so much." He performed in the 1987 and '88 Muse Machine musicals ("Carousel" and "Guys and Dolls") at the Victoria Theatre, studied at Oberlin College, then earned a BA and MFA in drama at the University of California Irvine,

“I love movies, books and other methods of storytelling. But there is something about the communal experience of theater that is unique. The actors and audience are experiencing the same performance together. I love navigating the slight differences from performance to performance. And it’s nice to have a job where every few months you have a complete change as you tell a different story,” he said.

Heil spent a few years in New York and Los Angeles before moving to San Diego with his wife in 2004. They own a home and have children ages 5 and 2.

“We wanted to find a theater town where we could raise a family without all the travel. The acting and directing work here has been plentiful. I’ve been here six and a half years and have only left town once for work.”

Heil’s last Ohio stint was directing “Twelfth Night” at the Actors Repertory Theatre in Middletown in 2001.

After “Plaid Tidings,” he will direct “Barefoot in the Park” for Moonlight Stage Productions and portray Ernst in “Cabaret” at the Cygnet Theatre, both in the San Diego area.

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