Sun Lakes Community Theatre—Meet Jess Alberts

Jess Alberts (photo credit Roger Edmonds)

Mark Wenz

Sun Lakes Community Theatre (SLCT) is delighted to welcome a new member, Jess Alberts, to its ranks. Jess auditioned and performed in the theater group’s most recent play, The Sweet Delilah Swim Club. Before retiring and moving to Sun Lakes with her husband Jim, Jess was a President’s Professor at ASU where she spent nine years as the director of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication. One of her favorite experiences during her career was being invited onto The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss her research on couples’ everyday interactions.

Jess has significant theater experience, stating that she “was fortunate to attend schools that had active arts programs” and had early performances in elementary school as a Bluebonnet, the Middle Billy Goat Gruff, and a lady-in-waiting in a scene from Macbeth. In high school, Jess appeared in school plays and regional one-act play contests and competed in duo acting at regional forensics contests. She also toured middle schools, acting as Juliet in Act One of Romeo and Juliet, and even co-wrote and participated in a farcical play called Leaving with the Breeze (a spoof of Gone with the Wind), which was performed for local high school students. Jess also acted in community theaters in Texas and was active in writing and performing scripts at the Hugh Downs School’s “Cornucopia” (an annual performance showcase). That’s an impressive resume, Jess!

Once Jess joined SLCT after hearing about it through word of mouth, Sandy Pallett, the director of the mystery dinner theater production of The Malted Falcon, invited Jess to serve as assistant house manager with Pat Wolfe. That positive experience was one factor that motivated Jess to audition for the summer play. She told me that her experience in The Sweet Delilah Swim Club was wonderful: “I couldn’t have asked for a better director or more supportive (and fun!) cast mates,” she said. She found “everyone involved in the play,” including the director, assistant director, and the construction, stage, and sound crews to be “not only professional [but also] delightful people to work with.” Her overall experience “was the best decision I have made in years,” she concluded.

Although Jess doesn’t plan to audition for an acting role in the next SLCT production, Rex’s Exes, which will be performed in November, she is “hoping to be involved in some capacity working with any of the crews that will have me.”

During our interview, Jess told me that she “didn’t really feel like a part of the Sun Lakes community until I became a part of SLCT.” She encourages anyone with an interest in theater to become involved in some capacity, which could include acting, construction and building of sets, sound effects and control, wardrobe, makeup application, and public relations, among others. After all, she has found “SLCT to be a welcoming and fun group of people—and who doesn’t want to be a part of that?” We at SLCT are delighted to call Jess one of our own.