‘Dharma & Greg’ writer — now a Palm Springs resident — returns to his first love: theater
When Chuck Yates was very young, the local high school in his hometown of Bessemer, Ala., borrowed his father’s motorcycle for a production of “Annie Get Your Gun.”
“I think a part of me was very jealous that his motorcycle was on stage and I wasn’t,” says the 52-year-old Yates.
He never lost that love for the stage.
Having spent the last nine years living in Palm Springs, Yates in 2008 created Coyote Stageworks, whose members believe that theater enriches lives. He remains artistic director.
Between that first glimpse of a life on the stage and today, it seems Yates was perpetually setting in motion things that would lead him where he is. He spent his high school years at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham, Ala., during which time he took several trips to New York, absorbing as many shows as he could.
“Visiting New York gave me a goal, and fortunately I stayed focused,” he says.
Yates would go on to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. He performed in a number of productions while living there, including Ed Graczyk’s “Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean” and John Guare’s “Landscape of the Body.” The latter was directed by Toni Kotite, who has remained in touch with Yates and gone on to direct as part of Coyote Stageworks.
Another seminal moment for Yates came while sitting in an audience. Yates explains that he was 24 years old when he and his best friend, Larry Raben, had gotten tickets to the opening night of “Tru,” starring Robert Morse as Truman Capote. After watching the performance, Yates turned to Raben and said that was what he wanted to do.
“Cut to 24 years later,” says Yates. “I did it on our stage. And with Larry Raben directing. […]