There's Much Ado About Bisno

Fullerton College Hornet  - Robert Borsum - Friday, April 15th, 1983

Leslie Bisno, one of two equity actors performing in Fullerton College's production of William Shakespeare's play, "Much Ado About Nothing," has been acting on the professional stage for the past six years..

He has performed in several major musicals which include "Bye Bye Birdie," "West Side Story," and the first national tour of "Evita."

Bisno currently stars as Benedick, one of the major roles in FC's "Much Ado About Nothing." The show runs tonight and Saturday (April 15-16), at 8 p.m. and concludes Sunday (April 17), at 5:30 p.m. in the Campus Theatre.

After watching his flawless performance as Benedick and considering his professional background, the question arises as to why Bisno would audition for a role in community college theatre; and according to Bisno the answer is three-fold.

"I wanted to get some non musical work; have a chance to do Shakespeare, 'which is challenging and satisfying; and simply because it was a job available at a time when I was open,, (between productions)," Bisno said.

Since most of his work has been in musicals, he was-and still is-looking for work in non musical theatrical productions so that he will not become typecast in one form of the medium.

According to Bisno, when actors become categorized in a musical role, directors of non musical productions will "think you can sing, but not act."

Bisno, self-taught in singing and playing the guitar, refined his musical skills with a three-year stint in the school of music at the University of Southern California. The acting bug bit him after the third year and he transferred to Los Angeles City College to study theatre arts.

Following his collegiate training, Bisno traveled north to San Francisco where he auditioned for, and got the lead in, "The Great American Backstage Musical," which was his first professional performance. The role also allowed him to join the elite corp known as Actors Equity, the professional stage performers guild.

Overall Bisno feels good about the cast and stage crew which make up FC's production of "Much Ado About Nothing," and he indicated pleasure in being a part of it.

I've enjoyed working here a lot," Bisno said. "It has been good work and I have been pleased with the work I saw going around me. I don't feel limited working around so-called amateurs. It may not be professional work, but it certainly is at a level I can work with-and some of it is at a professional level."

"Tom (Blank), is a very creative director and I have enjoyed working with him a lot. Tom has done a swell job (making Shakespeare's work more accessible to the modern theatre audience)."

Bisno, who decided to become an actor because, "it beats working for a living," hopes to have the opportunity to work in the other facets of the fine arts media. He also does not want to limit his career to just performing on the stage.

"I would like to move on to other things; I certainly would. Each medium offers advantages and disadvantages the others don't and I would like to do it all. I like the variety offered by the different media and even the different aspects (it offers), other than performing; such as directing or composing, which I do," Bisno said.

Bisno was commissioned to compose an original musical score for the Utah Shakespeare Festival's production of "Love's Labor Lost."

Following Sunday's performance in "Much Ado About Nothing," Bisno will move on to the Westwood Playhouse where he will serve as the understudy for three roles in the musical "Little Shop of Horrors."