Sneed’s Passion For Theater Recognized With Best Actress Award

By: Russ Allen

Topics: Arts

Sara Sneed.  COURTESY PHOTO

Sara Sneed is a star twice over. She is a star baker and she is a star on many of the community theater stages of Cape Cod. And now she is an award-winning star.

Born and raised in Kansas, Sneed began singing with her church choir at 4 years old and performed on stage in “Peter Pan” when she was 8. She graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a bachelor of arts degree in vocal performance and earned a master’s in business administration from the University of Phoenix, where she taught introductory business courses while living in Washington State. In May 2014 Sneed, her husband Chris, and their seven children relocated to Harwich.

In November 2016, Sneed opened the Bashful Tarte bakery in Chatham before moving the business to White’s Path in South Yarmouth last May.

“The Bashful Tarte began as Sorelle Pie Bakery of Kansas City in 2011.  I opened my pie bakery as a dream venture, but my family relocated to my husband's family home here on Cape Cod and...voila! The Bashful Tarte was formed,” she said. 

Recently, Sneed was nominated and voted by theatergoers as the 2018 BroadwayWorld Boston Awards Best Actress in a Play for her role as Joanne Galloway in the production of “A Few Good Men” at the Cotuit Center for the Arts. She shares this award with “the wonderful cast and crew of ‘A Few Good Men.’ The entire show won Best Drama as well as Best Original Script. It was a truly stellar cast,” Sneed said. 

Sneed has appeared with the American Opera Studio of Kansas City as Lucia in Donizetti’s “Lucia de Lammermoor” and Lucrezia in his “Lucrezia Borgia,” and as Lady Macbeth in Verdi’s “Macbeth.” Among her musical theater roles were Cassie Ferguson in “A Chorus Line,” Mrs. Nellie Lovett in “Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” and Lilli Vanessi in “Kiss Me Kate,” all at the Academy Playhouse in Orleans. This past summer Sneed was Aldonza, Don Quixote’s Dulcinea, in the Cotuit Center’s staging of “Man of LaMancha” and in October she participated in a concert performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore” at the Eventide Theater in Dennis. Last November she performed in the staring role of “Mary Poppins” and is currently appearing as Curly’s wife in “Of Mice and Men,” both at the Cotuit Center. Her next audition will be for the part of Amalia Balash in the Eventide Theater Company production of “She Loves Me.”

Several months of preparation are involved before a live theatrical performance goes public, Sneed said. “Remember the song that goes ‘Another Opening – Another Show?’ from ‘Kiss Me Kate?' That is pretty much the way it is.” Initial auditions with several call-backs and further tryouts lead to endless script readings, rehearsals, blockings and technical weeks before, finally, “curtain’s up and away you go.”

Among the tasks Sneed accomplishes in her various roles, in addition to learning lines, stage movements and the wishes of the play’s director is to identify the nature of her character so as to bring her own understanding and personality to each performance. One time this proved a challenge,

“I had finished my run as the brassy in-your-face Aldonza in ‘Man of LaMancha’ and was rehearsing for the lead in ‘Mary Poppins.’ I put my fists on my hips as I delivered my lines before realizing it was an inappropriate posture for the demure British nanny. That awareness was reinforced when the director reminded me to ‘Use your mom voice,’” she recalled.

Sneed’s involvement with community theater is voluntary and unpaid. Nevertheless, live theater on Cape Cod is facing great challenges. The Academy Playhouse in Orleans is temporarily closed and the future of the Monomoy Playhouse in Chatham is uncertain. Many year-round residents on the Cape are unable to afford tickets to performances such as those in which Sneed stars. More grant and other financial support will be required if quality live theater is to continue a part of the cultural life of Cape Cod year-round, or if free open-air performances are going to be staged for the general public during the summer using one of several venues suitable for that purpose.

Thanks to the loving support of “my husband Chris and my family” Sneed is seeing her “dreams through - for both the bakery and theater. They make a lot of sacrifices – especially when it comes to time together. My children grew up in theaters I have performed in, playing with the children of other performers. I can’t live without the theater. It is my passion and my gift.”