Kent pastor has close shave in latest stage role as Daddy Warbucks in ‘Annie’

John Legas still finds himself reaching for his comb after he had his head shaved last month for the role of Daddy Warbucks in "Annie." "Part of me was excited and part was terrified about what was under there," he said. Legas, the pastor at Cornerstone Community Baptist Church in Kent, performs in the Heavier Than Air Family Theatre's production of "Annie" Dec. 10-12 and Dec. 17-19 at the Green River Community College Performing Arts Building in Auburn.

John Legas

John Legas

John Legas still finds himself reaching for his comb after he had his head shaved last month for the role of Daddy Warbucks in “Annie.”

“Part of me was excited and part was terrified about what was under there,” he said.

Legas, the pastor at Cornerstone Community Baptist Church in Kent, performs in the Heavier Than Air Family Theatre’s production of “Annie” Dec. 10-12 and Dec. 17-19 at the Green River Community College Performing Arts Building in Auburn.

The cast of orphans in the play took turns shaving Legas’ head before a rehearsal. Students from schools in Kent, Auburn, Renton and Covington are among the many actors in the production. Sophia Johns, of Auburn, and Jessica Lorenz, of Enumclaw, trade off each show playing the lead role of the spunky little redhead.

Legas, 55, of Des Moines, is in his sixth year with Heavier Than Air. He is a veteran community theater performer.

“I just love theater,” Legas said. “In high school I was pretty shy and was not good at sports. I did a play at church and was pretty good at it. That lit the fire.”

After acting in plays at the old Glacier High School in Seattle and Multnomah Bible College in Portland, Legas joined community theaters in Seattle and Burien.

The fire continues to burn. Legas has acted in about 10 straight shows in Auburn. His other lead roles have included the King in “Cinderella” and George Bailey, the main character in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Heavier Than Air produces many musicals and family-oriented plays to give children an opportunity to act. That sometimes limits the parts for which Legas can audition.

“There are not too many roles for men my age,” he said. “But it’s always a delight to work with kids.”

The Daddy Warbucks role presented an interesting challenge for Legas and not just because of the shaved head.

“It’s a little bit of a stretch playing him because I’m not like him,” Legas said. “But it’s fun to be somebody you’re not. He is all-business, take-no-prisoners guy, always on the go. I guess that’s how you get to be a billionaire.”

As the story goes, Daddy Warbucks made his fortune as an industrialist during World War I. Known for his bald head and worn tuxedo, he would sometimes lose his entire fortune, borrow from Annie’s piggy bank and then pay her back when he regained his wealth.

Legas also sings much more in this role than in previous roles. He declined to comment about his singing abilities in “Annie.”

“That’s for people who go to watch to decide,” he said.

The Baptist pastor enjoys the whole “Annie” story. He’s joined the rest of the cast to rehearse twice a week since being chosen for the show in September.

“It’s similar to the times we’re going through with the economy,” Legas said of the rags-to-riches storyline. “But it’s an upbeat, optimistic show with a kid who sings about tomorrows and brings up everyone around her. It’s a show people either love or hate, but I think it’s cute. I love the show. It’s a feel-good show and everyone loves a happy ending. It has a great happy ending.”

Legas, who is married with two sons, joined the Heavier Than Air Theatre when his boys were younger. Josh, his oldest son, is now off to college but Jake, 17, plays a dog catcher in “Annie.”

“We gave our boys a chance to see whether they liked theater and they loved it,” Legas said.

Once “Annie” ends, however, the pastor plans to grow back his full head of hair.

“My wife (Nan) tells me it’s coming back, so I’ll be growing it back,” he said.

If you go

What: “Annie”

When: 7 p.m. Dec. 10-12, Dec. 17-18; 3 p.m. Dec. 11-12, Dec. 18-19

Where: Heavier Than Air Family Theatre, Green River Community College, Auburn

Cost: $10

Tickets: Call GRCC at 253-833-9111, ext. 2400


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