November 3, 2013

The many faces of Portland actor Dustin Tucker

The transplanted Texan, who has just begun one of the busiest stretches of his career in Maine, talks about life off stage.

By Bob Keyes
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

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Dustin Tucker stars in “Vigil,” now playing at Portland Stage Company.

Aaron Flacke photo courtesy of Portland Stage Company

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Dustin Tucker walks his with dog Minnie in Portland’s Evergreen Cemetery. “I liked working here so much, I decided I should live here,” said Tucker, who grew up in Amarillo, Texas. “Portland is a beautiful town, and I have a great circle of friends here.”

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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WHEN: Through Nov. 17

WHERE: Portland Stage Company, 25A Forest Ave., Portland

HOW MUCH: $40 and $45

INFO & TICKETS: 774-0465;

In addition to finding himself on stage, Tucker had another revelation at Interlochen. He realized he was gay. He probably knew as much in Texas, but it took him awhile to come to terms with it. In Texas, he attended an Episcopal school “and it just wasn’t talked about.”

He did not tell his parents until he moved to New York, but they already knew. “How could they not know,” Tucker asked. “I was scared to tell them, but I don’t know why. It was a total non-issue.”

It’s a non-issue in Portland, too. The community has been welcoming, and he appreciates living in a place where he can be himself and concentrate on his work without worrying about being accepted or judged.

Tucker is single. His work keeps him on the road, which makes it hard to have a relationship. Actors are famously self-centered, too, he noted. That’s not a great trait when it comes to long-term commitment, he laughed. “People call me a non-person during the rehearsal and performance process. I don’t talk a lot. I don’t go out.”

Instead, he has a dog. Minnie is a mini-pincher mix, and he takes her on the road with him as much as he can.

When he is not working, Tucker attends plays. A few weeks ago, before he delved deep into the rehearsal process for “Vigil,” he attended four plays in one week. He loves the city’s restaurants, and counts among his favorites Nosh, Boda, Flatbread Company and Marcy’s.

Another dedicated interest is his fitness. He quit drinking three years ago when he realized that alcohol was affecting his life, his relationships and his sanity. “But it did not affect my work. I never, ever got drunk before a performance,” he said.

He enrolled at a recovery center and came out a better, stronger man. “It was the best decision I ever made,” he said. “It was time.”

He quit drinking and threw himself into the gym. He works out at the Bay Club at One City Center, and prides himself not only on how he looks, but how he feels. He has abundant energy and is able to put more of himself into his work.

His personal trainer, Dan Tanquay, noted Tucker’s commitment. “He’s in excellent shape now. His cardiovascular is excellent. He has a good strong muscular base. He’s very fit,” Tanquay said.

“Dustin has incredible desire and passion for whatever he does. He was one of those guys, he came in and didn’t have any basic foundation. We started from the ground up. He wasn’t overweight, but he did not have much of a base at all. We’d work out two or three days a week, and he’d just keep getting better and better.”

Tucker feels grateful for the opportunities he has had in Portland. Being an actor is the only thing he’s ever wanted to do.

“I get to make people feel and look inside themselves. I can make people laugh. I can make people cry. But I can make them think – and that’s what’s happening in the world right now, the possibility to think on your own. It’s an honor to be a part of that process.” 

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:bkeyes@pressherald.combkeyes@pressherald.comTwitter: pphbkeyespphbkeyes

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Additional Photos

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Dustin Tucker in the Portland Stage production “The Santaland Diaries”

Todd Brian Backus photo courtesy of PSC

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Dustin Tucker in the Portland Stage production of “Greater Tuna”

Aaron Flacke photo courtesy of Portland Stage Company

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Dustin Tucker in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” last summer at the Tahoe Shakespeare Festival

Courtesy photo

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Dustin Tucker in Portland Stage Company's "Fully Committed"

Darren Setlow photo courtesy of Portland Stage Company

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Dustin Tucker with Julie Nelson in “Vigil”

Aaron Flacke photo courtesy of Portland Stage Company

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Dustin Tucker, left, with Daniel Noel in Portland Stage's "Bach at Leipzig"

Darren Setlow photo courtesy of Portland Stage Company

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