Chris Myers and Rachel McIsaac Staples Players choreographers talk of a lifetime of performance

June 28, 2018 GMT

NEW CANAAN — For more than a decade, Chris Myers and Rachel McIsaac have maintained a professional partners.

The husband and wife performing duo have worked on cruise ships.

“For about three years we traveled the world and got to sing and dance and it was amazing,” McIsaac said.

They did regional theater and were in the touring company of Broadway show “Mamma Mia.”

“We were both ‘swings,’ which means that we covered every ‘track,’ everybody’s part in the ensemble. There were seven or eight different tracks we covered. If somebody was sick or injured or on vacation, we had to be ready to go on for any of those people. It’s kind of like an understudy for the ensemble,” McIsaac remembered.

Most recently, have collaborated on a handful of projects in Fairfield County, where they’ve lived for the past three years.

One such project is the Summer Theatre of New Canaan, which puts on shows with professional actors every summer in Waveny Park and is in its 15th season. In this season’s production of “Kiss Me Kate,” — running June 28 through July 29 — McIsaac will play the dual role in the “play within a play,” of Lois Lane and Bianca. Myers will reprise his role as company manager.

“We both got started with the Summer Theatre three years ago,” Myers explained. The couple moved to Fairfield in 2015.

“I Jumped right in as company manager. I do a lot of administrative work such as payroll. I also do community outreach, help with the casting process, coordinate travel for actors, because more than 50 percent of those in the production come in from New York City. Other than that it’s my job to make sure everybody’s happy and healthy and enjoying their time out here,” Myers said.

Since Myers and McIsaac moved to Connecticut, he said he hasn’t auditioned for many parts, instead focusing on his work as a company manager, as an acting teacher, with McIsaac, at the Summer Theatre-affiliated Performing Arts Conservatory of New Canaan, and co-choreographing, also with McIsaac, for the Staples Players.

According to Myers, working with his wife gives the duo a competitive advantage.

“As far as creating choreography for Staples, all of it happens in our living room. There are days when she can take the lead on a certain song and she can run with it. There are days when I’m working on a number and she’s working on something else and I’m stuck and together we can work together and find a solution,” Myers said.

McIsaac’s and Myers’ family approach is not unique at the Summer Theatre.

“It’s wonderful, it’s a real family, literally and figuratively. It’s a family run company, anybody that works for them becomes part of the family,” said McIsaac, of Melody and Ed Libonatti, themselves a husband and wife duo who split duties as artistic director and executive producer, respectively, of the Summer Theatre.

“Part of what’s so unique is that we perform outside in a tent and it’s kind of a magical experience. There was nothing here a month ago, just dirt and grass, and now we’re creating this magical thing and transporting people to another place under this tent. It’s kind of amazing what happens every summer,” McIsaac said.

justin.papp@scni.com; @justinjpapp1; 203-842-2586