With his youthful demeanor and Justin Bieber haircut, 24-year-old Ben Wolfe could easily pass for a Hilton Head Preparatory School student, instead of its performing arts director.
A veteran performer in his native Georgia since age 5, Wolfe was hired in 2009, fresh out of Armstrong Atlantic State University.
“I almost took the same job at a school in Tampa,” he says. “But I’d worked at the Arts Center here, and theater is about who you know and have good relationships with,” he says. “I didn’t know anybody in Tampa.”
The decision paid off both for the school and for Wolfe, who won the 2010 Rotary Upper School Teacher of the Year Award in December. Prep will present “Footloose,” its third production with Wolfe at the helm, Feb. 17-20 at the Hilton Head Island High School Visual and Performing Arts Center. His previous shows, last year’s productions of “Grease” and “Little Shop of Horrors” spot lighted the ’50s and ’60s, Wolfe says, but his “Footloose” will
be set in modern times.
Teaching a full schedule and working with students on acting, directing and stage management keeps Wolfe directly involved at all times. “I have to design and build all the sets, and I really love that part of the job,” he says.
And come summer, Wolfe will return to the Savannah Summer Theatre Institute, a program he’s worked with since its inception three years ago. “They let us do ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ God love them,” says Wolfe, who has performed in and directed the classic three times. “I’d go on the road with a ‘Fiddler’ touring company for the next 10 years. That’s how much I love that show.”
He may be on the small screen soon as well: Wolfe recently auditioned for the lead in a sci-fi TV show being filmed in Georgia, but didn’t get the part, which called for a nerdy type. “So I’m playing the antagonist,” Wolfe says with a laugh. “They called and told me, ‘We’re writing a jackass character into the plot for you.’ So I guess that’s good.”