While many people are invited by friends to the RTG, Norgie Metzinger just walked in to audition in 2005 for The Music Man, a show he loves. “I graduated from Westosha High School in 2004,” Norgie says, “and I was Harold Hill in a high school production of The Music Man. I had heard great things about the Racine Theatre Guild, so I tried out for that musical and was offered a part in the ensemble. That was the coolest experience of my life.”
Norgie’s enthusiasm for the RTG is obvious, and having only known theatre in school, he was impressed with the wardrobe and makeup crews, the high standards of all the technical areas, and the quality of the actors. “The Music Man had the greatest cast, with Robbyn Wilks, Bob Benson, Matt Specht, Gary Stamm, and all these actors that I thought were as good as professional! Everyone welcomed me, embraced me and helped me to become better on stage. I felt like I had found a second family.”
Family is important to Norgie, as he was given up to foster care when he was nine years old and was fostered by the Metzinger family, who then adopted him when he was 16. “My adoptive parents are simply wonderful,” he says, “and helped me become a positive person and overcome any obstacles I encountered. They are white, and I remember that whenever we went places together we would get odd looks. But I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”
Norgie was in Scrooge The Musical in 2007, Beauty and the Beast in 2008, and in Boys Next Door in 2009.
“That role was really special to me,” Norgie recalls, “because I played the social worker, Jack, who counseled these developmentally disabled people. The show was honest and did not make a caricature of them. I have had personal experience with social workers, and I wanted to give Jack sympathy and understanding. I also loved having Norm as a director, and he kept us all focused on the story, so then the comedy and heartache came naturally. I have loved all the directors at the RTG. They are all so talented and devoted to putting the very best product on the stage. They care about the actors and work hard for quality in every aspect.”
Next came Don’t Hug Me in 2011 (“I loved that show, with the variety of songs, all kicked off by the karaoke salesman!”), Chicago in 2012, and Duck Hunter Shoots Angel in 2015.
Most recently Norgie was Sweaty Eddie in Sister Act last spring, an experience he said made him fall in love with theatre all over again. “Oh, that was such a meaningful show that really reinforced the feeling of family. I loved all the nuns and all the talented people in the cast and crew – what a great role for a black leading actress!”
Norgie’s role as Gabe in Things My Mother Taught Me is what he calls “a love letter to my parents.” He says he can relate so strongly to Gabe and his relationships with his parents and with his girlfriend. “It’s a loving story about family,” he says. “With my background, I know how important parents are and how we should treasure their love. Every character is flawed, but they don’t really realize it until circumstances expose their weaknesses. The whole story is very special to me, and Nate is a wonderful director, getting so much out of everyone in the cast.”
Norgie currently works as a postal carrier, but would love to find another job that would allow him to work fewer hours, so he’d have more time for theatre. “I wish I could find more time to volunteer for more shows and do back stage work too,” he says. “I love the RTG because it gives me a sense of belonging to like-minded people. We all work together to put on the best possible show. And what is seen on stage is a reflection of all the hard work of the crew and back stage people. I will keep coming back to the RTG to share the dedication of other theatre lovers.”