Clarendon Hills resident’s love for theater is no act
Clarendon Hills resident Rob Sorenson’s latest creative venture is his lead role as Will Rogers in the Oak Lawn Park District Theatre’s production of “The Will Rogers Follies.”
Used to play: football
Coveted role: Jean Valjean in Les Miserables
Pet: 4-year-old Alaskan Malamute, Sadie
Updated: September 3, 2012 6:06AM
CLARENDON HILLS — One constant in Rob Sorenson’s life has been that he has always missed the theater when he’s been away from it.
Sorenson, who grew up in Chicago and has lived in Clarendon Hills for the past 13 years, got an early taste of acting at age 5 or 6 and continuing in school plays until middle school.
“It was just something that I did with my life at that time, and I was good at it,” Sorenson said. “I didn’t do much once I got into middle school and high school. I was involved in sports. I’ve always been athletic, and even now, I play ice hockey.”
Sorenson, who describes himself as “middle age,” considers playing ice hockey his hobby. His first love; however, is theater. He took a 15-year break from it while working as a commodities trader at the Chicago Board of Trade until the late 1990s.
“I definitely missed acting and theater during that time; the whole creative process,” he said. “Being creative in your life is really important, and there aren’t a lot of places in life where you can do that. The theater is a great creative outlet, and I enjoy the whole process.
“I love building raw material into a show and the whole process that is involved with that. I love acting, but I also have done a lot of tech work behind the scenes, and all it is part of that creative process.”
After giving up his career as a commodities trader, Sorenson was back working in theater for about eight years. He then left it behind for about five years, before returning again about a year ago.
“I had to shut it down for about five years because of some family issues,” he said. “I actually became involved again after I started singing at Christ Lutheran Church in Clarendon Hills. I enjoyed going to rehearsals for that.”
Sorenson’s latest creative venture is his lead role as Will Rogers in the Oak Lawn Park District Theatre’s production of “The Will Rogers Follies.”
“Will died in 1935,” Sorenson said. “He was very famous in his time, but now, because so much time has gone by, a lot people don’t know who he was.”
This isn’t the first time Sorenson has played the title role in “The Will Rogers Follies.” But returning to a familiar role hasn’t taken any of the challenge or fun out of it.
“I played Will about 10 years ago,” Sorenson said. “I did a lot of reading and research about him, and it’s very cool to do it again. I feel like I have a lot more to bring to it this time. It’s always fresh when you do this. Even if you’re doing the same role for eight shows a week, for months, it stays fresh because you have a different audience for every show.”
Some of Sorenson’s other acting work has come as productions such as “The Secret Garden,” “Camelot,” “Arsenic and Old Lace,” “She Loves Me,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Evita,” and “Into The Woods.”
Performances of the Will Rogers Follies are scheduled for Aug. 3-5 and Aug. 10-12 at Oak View Center, 4625 W. 110th St., Oak Lawn. For ticket information, call (708) 857-2200.