Dean Biasucci is better known in central Indiana for his skills on the football field, not a stage.
Biasucci, the former Indianapolis Colts kicker and third-leading scorer in team history, will be part of the reading for “Hollywood, Nebraska” at 7 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Studio Theater at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.
The reading is part of Actors Theatre of Indiana’s new Lab Series, where three plays were selected for readings at different times during the season. The goal is that the readings will later become a full-length play.
Biasucci appeared in “Hollywood, Nebraska” at a workshop production at the Wyoming Theater Festival for new plays two years ago. The story is about two actresses returning to their hometown following family emergencies.
“It’s a sweet story,” Biasucci said. “I like all the people involved in workshop production. We only did a few shows of it, so I didn’t do all the work that I would like to do with the character, to have an opportunity to put more into it. If they like it, maybe I’ll have a chance to come back to Indianapolis to do it (as a play).”
Biasucci takes an acting class with Amy Bodnar, who has previously performed with ATI. Bodnar put ATI co-founder Don Farrell in touch with Biasucci.
“We talked about a couple different shows, and this one came along and he knows the writer,” Biasucci said. “That’s how I’m involved.”
Kenneth Jones, the playwright, also wrote “Alabama Story,” which ATI is presenting now.
“I’m sure he has done some revisions,” Biasucci said. “This is an incubation period, and this is just another part of it.”
Biasucci first saw action for the Colts in 1984 and then returned in 1986 and was the Colts kicker for nine more seasons. He played his final season for the St. Louis Rams in 1995.
Biasucci played himself in “Jerry Maguire” and had small TV roles in “E.R.” and “The West Wing.” He also appeared in several lesser-known movies while living in Los Angeles. He now splits his time between Charlotte, N.C. and New York City.
“I look at acting classes as like going to the gym, staying fresh in something I love to do,” Biasucci said. “Unless I’m not in town, I’m in class, doing scene work and monologues. A couple times a year I might do an acting workshop that takes a couple of weeks. Maybe once a year I’ll do a play or be involved with a play. Half-dozen times a year I’m auditioning for TV or a movie.”
Carmel High School freshman Lizzie Farrell, whose parents are Don Farrell and fellow ATI co-founder Judy Fitzgerald, plays the daughter of Biasucci’s character.
“I’m studying the character and learning how should I act when I play this or what my expression should be,” Lizzie said. “My character, like the main character, wants to get away from it all because it’s such a small town. I like how she’s ready to help and (is) a nice person in general.”
Fitzgerald plays one of the main characters, Jane, one of the returning actresses.
Jones, who describes the story as a rueful comedy, said the play attempts to touch on something universal in how its characters view the idea of home.
“Jane and Andrea, two actresses, left their hometown years ago and are now returning, coincidentally, in the same week,” Jones said. “Whether we’re just back from college or returning in middle age after years away, we all look in the mirror and feel some sort of tension about who we were, who we are today and how our hometown experience shaped us. As these women are actresses the title takes on a new meaning: the comma between ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Nebraska’ carries two meanings. It’s a city address in Los Angeles, but it also suggests the pull between Hollywood and Nebraska. Which will win out? Which will be chosen? Hollywood? Nebraska?”
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