George Conrad is a Scranton native who discovered a love for acting. After being homeschooled, he went on to earn a degree in human services after taking classes at Lackawanna College and online through Purdue University. He is a customer service associate at Cigna Insurance Co. and won Electric City’s award for best actor in 2018. Now, he is working to build his own theater group, C4 Studios.
Meet George Conrad…
Q: Tell me a little about yourself.
A: I didn’t really start acting until 10 years ago. My four siblings and I were homeschooled, and we were allowed to do some extra-curricular activities at Scranton High School. They invited me to come to their show to audition. My mother used to perform. One day I thought, “Hey, what if I go and do the drama stuff?” So I auditioned.
Q: Tell me about your work at Cigna.
A: I answer calls from people from all over the U.S. I work in the dental department. I love it. Cigna is a fantastic place to work. Some of the people there I have performed with or know through performing. I just started in August.
Q: What is C4 Studios?
A: C4 is a theater group. It stands for Conrad Four, which is me; my brother, Jacob; and my sisters, Kayla and Rebekah. We all decided we wanted to do some stuff on our own. We wanted to do musicals and have adults and kids of any color, size, shape and race be in them in an inclusive group. We did a show this past Fringe Festival, and it was really cool. We like to give back to the community. Around Christmas, we took a small group of people and Christmas caroled for the people at the St. Joseph’s Center.
Q: What recent shows or theater groups have you been part of?
A: I did stuff with Phoenix Performing Arts Centre in Duryea. I did stuff with Act Out when that was just starting up and Actors Circle for the majority. I’ve done stuff with Diva Theater. Each group had its own individual type of thing. I started at Scranton High School. I did the musical review with Act Out before it was Act Out. After that, I found out about Phoenix, and my entire family did “Cats.” That was a lot of fun. Last year, I did “Sherlock Holmes” with Actors Circle; that was one that I really enjoyed. I also directed my first show last year, “The Diary of Anne Frank.” It was a big accomplishment for me. I’ve always wanted to direct and thought I could see myself doing that.
Q: Was acting something you always knew you wanted to do?
A: Yes and no. It’s something that I loved, but I never knew I really wanted to do it until I got older. It ran in my blood, with my mom being a performer. My dad, after he met my mother, they did church plays together.
Q: What is it like to do acting with your entire family?
A: I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love my family, and they’re one of the reasons I do it. With our busy schedules, now that we’re older, we all have work. We try to sit down and eat dinner each night, but if someone is out doing something or has work, this is the one place where we can all get together and be with each other.
Q: What is it like to take elements of New York City, such as Broadway shows, and bring them to this area?
A: Just bringing all of that from the city to here, where you’re standing there and performing these pieces, it’s just really nice. Every night is different with the audience. Some audiences are dead, but you’ll stand there afterwards and they tell you how fantastic you did. Other audiences come out crying. Some audiences of older crowds see something that they loved when they were a kid, and they tell you they feel like a kid again. It’s diverse, the group of people that comes to see shows. Just to see the difference you can make in a person’s life, even for an hour or two, whether it be a good difference or a bad difference, it makes a difference in you, too. You see their faces when they’re walking out the door and if they enjoyed it or not.
Q: What do you most enjoy about acting?
A: Probably that (above comment) and just being with my family. Seeing the different types of people who come out to see shows and seeing people connect. It’s people who may not agree on a daily basis over politics or other stuff, but they can sit next to each other in the theater and have a great time.
Q: If you could play any character from a movie, TV show, Broadway show, etc., who would it be and why?
A: Very easy question. Bob Gaudio from “Jersey Boys.” I’m a huge Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons fan. I have been since I was about 16. I fell in love with the music. I ended up really connecting with Bob Gaudio’s character. He was a really fantastic man and a musical genius. I actually got to meet the guy who plays Bob Gaudio. He gave me some really good advice. His name is Quinn VanAntwerp. He said to me, “Don’t be afraid to try something. Do everything, even if it’s something you’re not 100 percent comfortable with or good at, do it anyway and do the best that you can at it.” To get that from someone who has toured on shows and performed on Broadway before meant a lot.
Q: What is something about you that would surprise a lot of people?
A: I’m an avid “Lord of the Rings” fan. From my first show, I’ve had the one ring, and I’ve had that with me for just about every single show I’ve been in. If it’s not in my pocket or on me, it’ll be in my bag. It connects me to where it all started.
Q: What other hobbies or interests do you have?
A: I like music. I am not the world’s greatest player, but I can play piano and guitar a little and read sheet music. I write. I don’t tell a lot of people. I published a book when I was 16. I’m still working on a sequel.
Q: Have you have a moment or time in your life that helped shape
who you are today?
A: My family, for the six of us, the past 10 years that we’ve been doing theater, it was our escape from things going on in our lives. Things which are sometimes very hard to talk about. We went through a lot in the last 10 years, and without saying too much, it was tough. Now, 10 years later, our lives are starting to look better and get back on track. My entire family was affected, and a lot of people who know us know some of the things we’ve gone through. There were those moments where we stopped and we didn’t know what we were going to do. One day, we woke up and we knew everything was going to be OK again. Now, looking back, it made me who I am today. It was our escape to become someone who we weren’t. We loved it, and it helped us get through the hard times we had.
Photos taken by Emma Black at Mary Mother of God Parish at Holy Rosary Church