Gale Rose a Jester Award for his performance of "Doc" in the Pratt High School performance of "West Side Story."

Most Prattans know this man as the guy from the Pratt Tribune who goes around taking pictures and writing articles for the paper. Still, Gale Rose has a life outside of his job, and on Friday, May 12th the Jester Awards of Music Theatre Wichita rewarded Rose with the Outstanding Adult Performer in a High School Musical for his work in Pratt High School’s West Side Story from September 2016.

Nominated for his role as Doc in the musical, Rose was one of many nominees from schools across Kansas. Music Theatre Wichita has sponsored the Jester Awards for the past 15 years with the purpose of recognizing excellence in high school musical theatre education. Schools are judged in several categories, and Adult Performer for guest actors in high school productions is one of those categories.

Gale Rose took the role on when musical director Rose Beilman approached him about auditioning for the role of the shopkeeper, Doc, in this famous tragedy based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It was a role she knew he would own and create in his own way, based on the years of acting this local celebrity has participated in.

For Rose, the Jester Award also felt like a reward for those years of volunteering in Pratt theatre and being a strong advocate of the performing arts in the community.

Rose has a strong history with theatre in Pratt. He doesn’t remember his first part playing the Baby Jesus at four months old in a local church. On the other hand, he does remember his later activities in theatre. He went on to act in school plays, including his first large role as the Stage Manager in his senior year at Skyline. The theatre bug hit him strong, and in one way or another this thespian has continued acting on the stage.

At Pratt Community College and K-State, Rose acted in plays, including The Robber Bridegroom which went on to the American College Theatre Festival. After doing touring shows and teaching for a while, and after returning to Pratt several years later, Rose met Paula Vandenberg White who was part of the leadership team creating Pratt Music Theatre. Gale hopped on the PMT train to perform with them for all 40 of their shows over 18 years.

He still attributes his stronger abilities in acting to his time there. Vandenburg White pushed and encouraged him to be the best actor he could. Rose also notes, “I learned a lot from my good friend, Mike Johnston…. His dedication was an inspiration. Jack Ewing was also a big part of my acting education. He had such a way of relating to people that was so easy for him.”

Aside from PMT, Rose fondly remembers work at Pratt Community College. First, he worked as a student with Floyd Carpenter, then later he acted as a community member working with Rose Beilman, Ed Davis, Misty Beck, and JJ. Rupe. All of those people helped the actor grow and become a better performer.

With that background, it was natural that he would be a perfect fit for the part of Doc, and he credits the young cast and directors with a great experience:

Getting to work … at Pratt High School for West Side Story and working with the high school students was uplifting. I thoroughly enjoyed watching them grow as actors.”

While Rose holds an amazing amount of good memories from his time onstage, he was absolutely thrilled to receive a Jester Award, and it will remain as one of the best days of his life.

Attending the awards in Wichita with fellow Pratt actor, Josh Jacobs, Rose could hardly believe it when his name was called. He was sitting in the balcony because the auditorium was packed, so he raced down the stairs to the first floor and then up on stage to get the award. He had to catch his breath from the excitement and the stairs, but after getting the award and making his way back to his seat in the balcony, he sat there the longest time, happy and smiling, just holding onto the award.

“It was so gratifying to be recognized for a performance and especially at the Jester Awards.”

So while many Prattans will continue to see Gale Rose as “that guy who takes photos for the paper,” many will now appreciate the years of performance work this outstanding actor has brought to Pratt musical theatre.