— Originally published in FLL Issue #36 • Photos by Will Marks
It is a common assumption: when it comes to getting jobs, professional actors living in New York City have plenty of opportunity to take a big, juicy bite out of the Big Apple. However, it is quite the opposite. Actors living in the Big City seek and achieve very few roles on stages such as Broadway—for most individuals, 99 percent of their theater employment occurs outside of the City.
I invite you to meet professional actors Andy and Katie Kindig. I had the pleasure of spending time with them outside of watching them onstage. You may recognize them from the production of The Wizard of Oz, which premiered at the Fulton Theater in Lancaster. I would be lying if I said I didn’t cry while seated in the audience. The Wizard of Oz story struck me as a little girl, eyes twinkling as I watched Dorothy desperately trying to find her family. Seeing the story acted out right in front of me— especially as I watched Dorothy search for her lost Toto, and as the characters got from the Wizard exactly what they were looking for in the land of Oz—moved me so deeply that I tapped my mom’s shoulder for a tissue.[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” — Oscar Wilde[/pullquote]
Katie, who exudes peace and kindness, played the very fitting role of Glenda the Good Witch. Andy played the fervent, witty Wizard of Oz. I would equate our interview to having met celebrities—actors who truly moved me during their performances. And guess what? They both live right here in downtown Lancaster.
Although they are both professional actors, the husband and wife team come from very different backgrounds.
Andy comes from an artistic family and was born and raised in Lancaster county. Always a bit of a ham, Andy began acting in high school shows, often filling a more comedic role. After high school, however, Andy pursued a degree in mechanical engineering from Penn State.
“Once I got out of college, I really missed doing shows on the side. While doing some community theater work for fun, I realized I was working 60 to 70 hours a week. I thought to myself, Something is wrong with this equation.” Andy took a leap of faith and made what he loves into his career, and is ten times more happy now than he ever was.
Katie, born in Blacksburg, Virginia, achieved a degree in musical theater. She’s been dancing practically since she could walk.
“My father is a retired professional performer, and I always knew I wanted to be in musical theater,” she says. Katie lived in New York City for ten years before realizing that off-Broadway work was just as fulfilling and professional. “Good theater is good theater,” she says. “And talent is talent.” Once Katie realized she could travel for work, she knew it was okay to leave the Big City.
Andy and Katie met in the business ten years ago and were initially close friends while dating other people. “We always joke that the only date we ever went on was a double date to a movie— and not with each other,” Andy tells me, laughing.
Katie remembers, “Six years later, we did a show together and we were both single. I remember telling my roommate, ‘I think I’m going to marry Andy Kindig.’” They were engaged just eight months later.
The Kindigs are truly passionate about working for the Fulton Theater. It is obvious that director, Marc Robin, has had a large influence on their careers as they speak very highly of him. Marc is able to speak to the whole performer, where acting always comes first. Even if you’re a strong vocalist or a talented dancer, the audience won’t believe what you’re singing or how your body moves unless you believe it, too. You’ll find Andy and Katie performing in many of the shows at the Fulton where, as nothing is guaranteed, they must audition for every role they desire.
As we spoke, Andy and Katie were switching roles from chatting and conversing to turning circles around their adorable one-year-old daughter, Alice. Now, much of their time is spent watching Alice grow and change as she discovers the world. They also enjoy spending time outdoors at the local hiking spots, including Tucquan Glen. In their spare time, you will find them pretty much anywhere they can hike with Alice.
Offstage, Andy works at the shop building sets for Fulton productions— just another of the many hats he wears. He also bartends occasionally and does voice-over work for commercials and other projects. Katie also wears several hats. Aside from being a busy mother, she is certified in teaching yoga and holds classes at both Bridge Yoga and Zoetropolis.
“In between shows, you find ways to make an income. It’s contract to contract work, kind of like a plumber,” Katie says with a laugh.
Andy and Katie now comfortably call Lancaster their home, and many other professional actors are following their footsteps by moving nearby.
“We’re excited about the growing theater community here. It’s amazing that we can live in a city that supports the arts. How lucky are we that we get to do this and still provide for our family?” Katie says excitedly. Andy and Katie are here for the long haul, because the growing theater community in Lancaster has made it possible to do so.
And they lived happily ever after. The End.