December 31, 2018 Article from the Statesville Record & Landmark by Ross Kiever:
She doesn’t tower over anyone in a room, but she walks with a confidence and purpose. When she talks it is with a graceful, yet powerful, diction.
Even more commanding is her resume. Sigler debuted on the Metropolitan Opera stage at age 4 with a small appearance in a dance recital. After high school she was scouted by the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute while performing in a summer residency with the Pasadena Playhouse.
She has played such roles as Katherine Minola in “Taming of the Shrew,” Carrie in Jean Kerr’s “Lunch Hour” and Madam Acarti in “Blithe Spirit.”
Recently she added the title of artistic director for Theatre Statesville to that list.
“It just feels right,” Sigler says. “It’s a very comfortable thing to just slide right into. My play-reading committee and I have an incredible season for next year already set.”
Before coming to Statesville, Sigler acted as chairwoman of the board for the Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance where she directed awards and grant programs.
In 1998, she moved back to her home state of New York and began directing plays at the local high school. Sigler said that teaching students succeed was a driving force for her.
“I mean that’s the most amazing (thing) you can do is touch a child’s life and really see them grow into what they want to do,” she said. ”I felt this is where my energy had to go at this point, to plant the seed in the young ones.”
Sigler moved to Statesville in April 2017 and stayed true to form by immediately auditioning for a production with Theatre Statesville.
She eventually directed a few shows herself.
She said she was happy to accept the artistic director position because she thinks Theatre Statesville is growing in a positive direction, which she credits to having a talented staff.
“Two shows ago we did ‘Rumors,’” Sigler said. “It’s a two-story set with bedrooms on the upper level. Obviously we don’t have to go into them, but (there is a) full staircase and it’s supposed to be a gorgeous Westchester, Rockland County house. We have an incredible set designer (John Myers) who was able to put that set in Twisted Oak. Nobody could believe what they saw, and it was acted incredibly. So if we can overcome a challenge like that I think that we can do just about anything.”
Part of Sigler’s vision for Theatre Statesville is finding a permanent home. Currently the organization relies on various places in the community like Twisted Oak American Bar and Grill, the Sharpe House and Mac Gray Auditorium at Statesville High School to house their productions.
Sharon says she’s grateful for the help, but a consistent venue would help.
“Bless Twisted Oak for allowing us to use their facility,” Sigler said. “But it’s a challenge; I mean you can’t do a good drama in a dinner theatre. You just can’t do “Death of Salesman” as Willy is talking and a dish drops. It just doesn’t work.”
And finding a home does more than sell a play.
“I think that all arts touch people,” she said. “But I think there’s something magical about walking into a theatre and having people transform into other characters and inviting you to be part of that. An audience is always the last character in the show and you need that audience for those actors. It’s a synergy; you give and take the whole two hours you’re together. I don’t think you find that in any other artistic endeavor.”
Many community theaters across the country are struggling to survive. Low ticket sales, closing doors and playbills that fall flat are some of the real-life horror stories floating around stages.
With a lifelong career centered on theater, Sigler says it hurts to see her second home face hard times. But she stays optimistic.
“Part of me is Pollyanna, we can fix it, we can do something about it,” she said. “I think that people we really want to enjoy theatre. A few years ago Broadway was really on a downslide, and now even though people are paying $150 a ticket, people are still going in throngs.”
Sigler also mentioned that movie theaters are struggling too. Bloomberg reported in January that movie theater attendance in the United States and Canada hit a 25-year low in 2017.
Looking at Theatre Statesville, Sigler said that she wants it to be a source of pride for both actors and audience.
“If it’s a first-timer I want to give everybody an opportunity to be in the theater,” she said. “But my goal is to make Theatre Statesville the kind of theater where people say ‘Oh you got to go see that show, it’s a great show!’ It’s really well done and technically it’s amazing and the acting is great. I want to give everybody a shot, but I want us to have a really good reputation for putting on stellar shows.”
Part of that is playing a bigger role in Statesville itself, she said.
“I think community theater brings a community together,” Sigler said. “I think every community should have a theater. It’s a place where people can go escape for a couple of hours, a place where people can leave the outside world behind. Being a nonprofit, there are limitations, but there’s no reason why we can’t have a bigger voice in this community.”