For his day job, Danny Wood is the Claims Manager for Windstream Communications.
“My ‘side job’ is volunteering for a lot of organizations, and I’m passionate about both,” says Wood.
Wood volunteers with more than half a dozen nonprofit organizations in the area, most of which involve the performing arts. His more than quarter-century volunteering with the Arkansas Repertory Theater has earned him a nomination to the Theater Advisory Board, through which he will represent volunteers to the entire theater board of directors.
Through this post, Wood says, he will influence “but not vote” on board decisions.
The goal, he explains, is to “provide a more diverse perspective” and “add other voices to the table” to help the board make decisions about the course of the theater.
Representative spokesperson Jennifer Owens Buie explains that the new advisory board consists of eight members, five of whom will be “community partners” – including spheres of government, education and other arts institutions; the other three will represent the internal aspects of the functioning of the theater.
Wood will serve as an “ambassador” on the board for the ushers and other volunteers who operate the front of the house and a group of young patrons known as StageDoor Social, billed as “the next generation of Rep supporters. “.
The advisory board meets monthly and just had their introductory meeting, “which I was late for,” Wood says regretfully.
The rep is starting a long comeback from the covid-19 pandemic – which has somehow held back his progress as he returned from a financial crisis – with a pair of outdoor summer productions, including the premiere, “Marie & George Brant’s Rosetta ”opens this week in Little Rock War Memorial Park. The second, “Primating,” a romantic comedy by Jennifer Vanderbes set in an African safari camp, will premiere in August at the Little Rock Zoo.
Wood will be in attendance: “I’ll be a host to the first shows at War Memorial Park and at the zoo” – where, by the way, he also volunteers. He is also a member of the Weekend Theater Board of Directors and participates in the Acansa Arts Festival, Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts, Arkansas Symphony, Arkansas Symphony Designer House, and Ballet Arkansas.
In the latter capacity, Wood appeared onstage for several years – and will continue to do so in December – as the comedic gray-wig butler in the Christmas party scene of the first act for the local film company’s production. by Peter Tchaikovsky. ballet “The Nutcracker”. He says he would be willing to consider playing a role in the rep if the opportunity arose, but “it should be a small role – with no lines.”
Wood made his debut as a performer at the age of 6, when his teacher selected him to play the Easter Bunny in a show. He went on to study tap dancing, performed in a jazz orchestra and, while a student at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville served as a stagehand.
His mother, Peggy Holland Wood, was a longtime Rep volunteer before he moved in the late 1980s from a former church just east of MacArthur Park to its current location on Sixth Streets and Hand. Wood says his mother and a group of friends would go out to dinner before each show, volunteer during the show, and then “spend time talking about the parts of the show they enjoyed the most.”
As his mother’s circle of friends / volunteer group began to shrink, Wood said, “I’ve been invited to join.” Les Bois et al. were part of the dealership team, and “because I was physically able to work a corkscrew and knew how to use it, I was the designated wine opener and pourer.” Even now, although he may not always be able to identify these theater patrons by name, “I still refer to some of my friends as, ‘Hello Mrs. Merlot! Or “Mr. Riesling!” Or “Ms. Diet Coke no ice!” Https://www.nwaonline.com/news/2021/jul/11/wood-works-his-way-up-rep-ladder/ “
Wood’s daughter, now Jourdan Wood Williams, also volunteered with the Rep while in high school, and “there have been many performances where three generations served on the same night.” Wood and his daughter, whom he danced with in “The Nutcracker” as a child, were co-chairs of the theater’s “Startin ‘Early and Staying Late” parties in 2009 for the Saints and Sinners annual fundraiser.
Williams now has three children, and “although my mother is no longer able to volunteer” – she is 90 years old and has mobility issues, Wood explains – “I hope one day my three grandchildren will carry on the family tradition and the legacy will continue.
“The representative brings us together as a community. Not everyone can write big donation checks, but we can all give of ourselves by volunteering.”
Wood strongly believes in continuing a practice – instituted by former board chair Ruth Shepherd – of board members and volunteers greeting patrons at the theater door.
“Smile and make them feel welcome before you even enter the theater,” he says.