360 West May 2012 : Page 107

Mayes built a sturdy, rustic dining table, left, from reclaimed windows, which serve as the base, and old doors, which serve as the tabletop. The light, above, is made of old security mirrors and a fish basket. His building projects are a way of unwinding from work and travel. e creatur es featur this spring! a real ZOODUNIT We’ve got stage show, “Lone Star at our A wild new s the Zoo’s animals Myster y” star Learning Theater. new Outdoor personal with our and close s” with Plus, get up Encounter facts 20 “Wild amazing than more s as they deliver wild things! eeper vorite fa zook about your and stats thzoo.org. twor or f visit now at your Plan ee Critics agr are ... shows the new role that would come later. He credits FWO’s general director Darren Woods; fellow singers Roger Honeywell, Scott Scully and Alissa Anderson; and board member and kindred spirit Bret Starr with saving his life that spring. Endeared to Fort Worth and his local friends, Mayes moved west to start life anew. Three years later, in a satisfying arc, he was cast in the lead role for the Tulsa Opera production of Dead Man Walking , a role he had long felt destined to sing, which just wrapped in March. “I grew up in Cut and Shoot, Texas; I know these guys,” he says of the opera’s Southern setting. “When I was able to sing Joseph De Rocher in Tulsa, that was the culmination of everything I’ve been working on my entire life to this point.” The role, for which he lost 65 pounds by dropping wheat, sugar and booze and taking up a tough “Mike Mayes brings workout regimen, proved to be everything he has at once the hardest and the most to bear when he natural of his life. “Never in my life performs. Whatever have I been inhabited to the extent the role, he completely I was by Joseph De Rocher; I mean, inhabits it, he owns that guy took me over,” he says. it, he becomes it. His “We’re talking about a rapist and a commitment to any murderer, who is guilty.” In spite of project is staggering. He the hardships — the role so haunted him that it took a temporary toll is also one of the most on his personal life (“I didn’t want genuine people I have Joseph talking to my fiancée”) — it ever met.” was a triumph professionally. His — Darren K. Woods, voice cracks when recalling the general director, Facebook message he received Fort Worth Opera from an audience member whose daughter was murdered; the mother wrote to him that his portrayal of Joseph changed her perspective (the opera raises questions about the death penalty). “It was the best review I ever got in my life,” he says. “After I touched that woman that way, I would be OK if I never sang opera again.” This month will see Mayes onstage at Bass Performance Hall, singing the role of military general Kinesias in Mark Adamo’s Greek comedy Lysistrata . He describes his character as the ideal warrior, who, when it comes to love, has no self-control. And that plays perfectly into the premise of the opera: The ladies of Athens, tired of their men’s warring ways, decide that there will be no “love” until the men put down their weapons. “He’s a stud,” laughs Mayes of his character Kinesias. “He’s the first one to cave.” Mayes is particularly looking forward to sharing the stage with Scully and Anderson, longtime friends he counts among the funniest people he’s ever met, for an opera he describes as nothing short of delightful. “You’re going to leave the theater with a grin on your face; if there’s any piece that’s the closest to seeing a movie, it’s Lysistrata ,” he says. “It moves fast, there are massive chorus scenes, and there’s the foot-long erection in the second act that we can’t seem to get unbelievable. unforgettable.

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