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Young actor relishes all kinds of roles

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Eddie Binda of Crosslake, a 2012 Pequot Lakes High School graduate, is a common face in the lakes area theater scene who strives to work hard at any role put before him.

In the upcoming Pequot Lakes Community Theater (PLCT) production of “The Spitfire Grill,” Binda plays Sheriff Joe Sutter, and that role is certainly not his first. In fact, “The Spitfire Grill” is Eddie’s 17th play.

“I got introduced to theater my seventh-grade year, and I started with the play ‘Take Me Along’ and I’ve been doing plays ever since,” Binda said.

His first foray into theater fell in line with family tradition.

“I knew my parents were in plays regularly when they were just dating,” Binda said. “My parents kind of pushed me along on that. My parents and I think a few of my friends were in it, too.”

In addition to PLCT productions, Binda has been involved in Pequot Lakes High School shows and productions at Central Lakes College.

For Binda, seeing hard work pay off and entertaining audiences are the draws of being involved in theater.

“It’s the challenge of memorizing all those songs and every single line, getting it perfect — well, as perfect as possible,” he said. “I just like entertaining people in general, I guess. It’s fun, I think it’s fun, very fun even though it’s very challenging at some times. But when it all comes together for that opening night — it’s very fun.”

His favorite overall production was the PLCT 2012 production of “Guys and Dolls” where he played Benny Southstreet.

“That was fun. It was musical. My parents and my brother were in it. It’s kind of a family ordeal, theater is,” he said.

Binda said the role of Sheriff Joe Sutter in “The Spitfire Grill” is his favorite role so far.

“It’s the most in-depth, and I probably worked harder on this one than I have for any of the other ones,” he said. “I strived for this one.”

“The Spitfire Grill” musical tells the story of a young female ex-con who comes to a small Wisconsin town after being released from prison and falls for the town’s only law enforcement officer, Sheriff Sutter. Michael Sanders directs the PLCT production.

The play has deep themes, and Binda hopes the audience takes away an encouragement not to make snap judgments and never to give up on people. He said the play illustrates that “there’s always something good in all of us.”

“Even though on the outside we’re all just a bunch of lunatics, on the inside we’re all good-hearted people,” Binda said about the play’s message.

As opening night approaches, Binda is looking forward to seeing the hard work he has put into his character pay off.

“It’s definitely the hardest, but with work it just gets easier and easier and more fun each day,” he said.

Heavy theater involvement doesn’t offer much free time, but when he gets the chance, Binda likes playing video games and spending time with his girlfriend. Currently he works as a tile setter for Shorewood Ceramic Tile and he plans to attend CLC next fall.

“I’m going into horticulture, the study of plants, because in high school I got all A’s in my outdoor science,” he said.

In the future he would like to work for or own a large landscaping company or work on a research project. He also plans to continue theater involvement in all sorts of roles.

His dream characters to play would be the Phantom from “The Phantom of the Opera” or Javert from “Les Misérables.” Binda’s interest in the Phantom originated from a “Phantom”-based skit he did in grade school while his appreciation of Javert was sparked from seeing the musical in person.

“My junior year of high school we went down to the Orpheum down in the Cities. We actually saw it, we saw the opera, and it was awesome,” Binda said. “As soon as Javert started singing I was like, ‘Oh, gosh, that’s awesome.’ He’s a tenor, too, just like me.”

Although neither of those characters is in his immediate future, Binda enjoys playing a variety of roles.

“In general I like more happy and fun characters and making people laugh,” he said. “On the other side I still like more serious plays that people can really get a good bite out of, and make them think.”

Binda concluded, “It really doesn’t matter what genre the director puts me in, in my opinion I still do a good job of it.”

Katie Morford is a former staff intern and a student at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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