His parents lived only three blocks from each other on Shelmire Street in the Northeast. They met, married, and ultimately produced a son, Steve Pacek, who has gone on to accomplish much in the world of the theater.
“And although we moved to the suburbs when I was about 4 or 5, much of my family still lives in the same area in the Northeast,” said Pacek, now appearing in Patrick Barlow’s comedic adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps.
The final production from Theatre Horizon in Norristown runs May 15 through June 8.
The theatrical riff on Hitchcock’s film is fast and funny, performed by a cast of four that seems more like a cast of thousands, including Pacek, who is referred to as Clown l in the script but who plays many other parts.
According to Pacek, 35, this evening of theater includes an on-stage high-speed chase on a speeding train, handcuffs, missing fingers, good old-fashioned romance, and it’s filled with lightning-quick changes.
“Sometimes, I’m actually wearing two costumes at the same time. So I literally say one line as one character, then turn around and say another line as a second character,” Pacek explained. “Part of the thing I like most about theater is the ability to transform myself. So when given the challenge to do multiple roles in one show, that definitely excites me.”
Raised in Lansdale, Pacek admits playing a sheep in his fourth-grade school play, titled We Like Sheep, also excited him, to the point that he actually thought of making a career out of the theater.
”I loved being surrounded by people who I felt were like me and spoke the same language. I loved going to play practice. I just loved it all,” he added.
Later, in the sixth grade, he was asked to play the young Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol at Lansdale Catholic High School, the school he would ultimately attend and have the opportunity to play many more roles in school productions.
He knew by then he was hooked. So after graduation from high school, it was off to Ithaca College to major in musical theater. Moving to New York City shortly after college, he stayed long enough to get his equity card, and then moved out to Los Angeles, where he did some small parts on TV and in independent films.
“But I soon realized L.A. wasn’t the place for me. I don’t watch TV aside from the Weather Channel, so I knew I didn’t want to pursue a career in television but wanted, instead, to be back on the East Coast.”
So back he came, and in addition to teaching and performing locally, Pacek was responsible for co-founding the 11th Hour Theatre Company along with Michael O’Brien and his wife Megan.
“For me,” Pacek said, “I love the collaboration that happens in the theater — meaning all the teamwork that goes into putting on a show. And then there’s the audience who gives you all their energy. It’s not unlike what I felt back in grade school. It’s hard work but very, very satisfying.” ••
For times and ticket information, call 610-283-2230 or go to www.theatrehorizon.org