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Cherryville native makes NYC debut

The experience of taking care of his elderly mother in Crouse led one New York City actor to pick up his pen and start writing a play.
The result was “A Sense of Loss,” Cherryville native Robert Anthony’s first play. The experience encouraged him to write more plays – most recently “Short Stay,” which was performed in New York City this spring.
“To have anything produced in New York City is exciting,” said Anthony.
Like much of his work, “Short Stay” is heavily influenced by the time he spent living in Cherryville and west Lincoln.
“All of my writing now seems to be pulled out of my childhood,” he said.
Anthony lived in the area until he attended college at Western Carolina University. He now divides his time between Crouse, where his family still lives, and New York City.
“I hope I can keep that two way life going,” he said.
He’s lived in New York City most of his adult life, with the exception of a stint on a shrimp boat. While he loves the “nature, quiet and serenity” of his North Carolina home, he has no plans to make his visits permanent.
“I begin to long for the city,” he said. “Just the energy and all the excitement, and there’s always something to do.”
He initially moved to the city to make a living as an actor, a passion that began while attending public school in Cherryville. His first part was as a tiger running around a tree.
“I remember how concerned I was with my tiger suit,” he said. “I wanted it to be just right.”
While he majored in English in college, he spent most of his time in the theater. After moving to New York City, he has remained dedicated to acting, although the career isn’t very profitable.
“I never made a great living at it, of course,” he said. “But, sure, I always stayed with it.”
While performing in off and off-off Broadway productions, summer stock, feature films and television, Anthony supplemented his income with a wide variety of jobs.
He worked as a Bible salesman, caterer, carpenter, painter and party clown. He also put his English degree to work, writing a weekly column for “The Wall Street Transcript” and working as an associate editor at “Real Estate New York” magazine. And, of course, “every actor has to be a waiter sometime in his life.”
While Anthony still works odd jobs, his main focus now is writing plays. Seeing “Short Stay” performed has been an encouraging step.
The play, which is set in the South, focuses on “relationships, love, loss and dealing with the elderly and dealing with your life.”
He finds the writing rewarding if a bit solitary.
“It’s lonely, you know,” he said. “The reason I love theater is it’s a very collaborative world.”
It’s also frustrating to create a play and have nothing come of it.
“Until someone wants to do it, it just lies there on the shelf,” he said.
Even so, he enjoys the work, and plans to continue pursuing it.
“I am happily devoting time to writing,” he said.
by Sarah Grano

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