Every year for fifty years there were productions on a Lake Charles stage which were directed and staged by Marc Pettaway. In the state of Louisiana, he had been at his post longer than any other person professionally working in the arts.
He first came to Lake Charles as a teacher of speech, drama, debate, and college prep English. Four years later he was doing community theatre. He is founding director of ACTS and had been its director since 1966, staging its many productions. During ACTS’ formative years, Mr. Pettaway traveled most every day from Natchitoches, La. where he taught directing and acting at Northwestern. Four years later, the traveling was from Lafayette, where he managed a furniture store owned by his brother. Eventually, he returned to Lake Charles permanently.
His degrees are the BS from LSU, MA from Northwestern, MFA from University of New Orleans. He has written the music, lyrics and book to more than twenty musicals which have been staged by the Civic Student Theater (CST) of ACTS.
ACTS started on stage at the Arcade Theatre on Ryan Street, and the first production was ALICE!, a script and music written by Pettaway with added dialogue by M.J. Malus. Mr. Pettaway began the regular seasons of ACTS main stage productions with A THOUSAND CLOWNS, its’ first big-scale comedy.
Since then, it has been SHOWBOAT, A CHORUS LINE, PETER PAN, CHICAGO, ANNIE, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, OLIVER! among the musicals, and LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, ELEPHANT MAN, THE DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS, SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER, TOYS IN THE ATTIC, BAREFOOT IN THE PARK, PLAZA SUITE, CACTUS FLOWER, STEEL MAGNOLIAS, among the non-musicals, plus many, many other productions.
He has staged productions for various groups in Louisiana. Along the way, he staged three summer seasons for The Louisiana Outdoor Drama Association in Natchitoches, operas for the Matinee Music Club/ Rapides Symphony in Alexandria, to name a few.
He brought dinner theatre format to Lake Charles, with ACTS performing dinner shows at the Sheraton Chateau Charles, the Lake Charles Country Club, the Hilton, and the Holiday Inn et al. He also toured productions to various towns in Southwest Louisiana. He has done theatre workshops for City Park Players, Crowley Arts Council, and the Arts and Humanities of Southwest Louisiana, and taught with the Governor’s program at McNeese and did a brief teaching gig at MSU.
He has been recognized for his contributions to the quality of life in the state of Louisiana by the Louisiana State Senate, the Louisiana House of Representatives, the Governor of Louisiana and the mayors of Lake Charles, Alexandria (his birthplace) and Westlake.
Earlier in his life he worked at the Kabuki-za National Theatre of Japan and appeared onstage with the Tokyo Western Theatre.
Mr. Pettaway has conducted classes and productions for children since ACTS first began, and ACTS sponsors the oldest children’s theatre in the state; it is the ‘studio’ part of its name. Studio productions have been featured during Contraband Days for over thirty years.
Mr. Pettaway retired from ACTS Theatre in the fall of 2010, after the close of OLIVER!, which was also the first show he staged for ACTS.