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Love and the theater man

by: COURTESY OF PATRICK WEISHAMPEL/PCS - Isaac Lamb (with Peggy J. Scott) played construction worker Billy Fontaine in A Small Fire, and now directs and stars in Third Rail Repertory's 'Midsummer' (a play with songs). He's part of eight productions this season.For the followers of cool YouTube videos, rejoice: Isaac and Amy are getting married.

The nuptials of the couple who had one of the more memorable proposals, documented online, will be Aug. 31 in a barn in Canby and, yes, Isaac Lamb wants to do something special to commemorate his marriage with Amy Frankel.

“We’re thinking about it,” says Lamb, a Jesuit High School grad who toils as one of Portland’s

hardest-working show biz types, both acting and directing. “It’d be hard to beat the proposal. Everybody in the wedding will be waiting for something to happen. It might be normal.

“What was lovely about the proposal was it was a genuine expression of who Amy and I are as people, and included all our friends and a beautiful, big, outlandish gesture. That’s who we are, and you wouldn’t expect anything different.”

Lamb’s six-minute video from the elaborate, cast-of-thousands May 2012 proposal video has received 25 million views on YouTube, the couple has appeared on the NBC “Today Show” twice and they have been interviewed countless times by media entities around the world.

“We still get calls,” he says.

Lamb still enjoys the attention. “You figure out how to navigate together through (the attention),” he adds. But, he clearly wants to be known for his acting and directing.

Lamb just concluded a role in “A Small Fire” for Portland Center Stage, and he stars in Third Rail Repertory’s “Midsummer (a play with songs),” March 28 to April 19 at CoHo Theatre. After that, it’ll be a role in Artists Repertory Theatre’s “Playboy of the Western World” and a role in “Three Sisters” by Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble.

“This spring is probably the busiest I’ve ever been,” says Lamb, who’s part of eight shows in the 2013-14 season, including most of Third Rail Repertory’s, for which he’s a company member.

The 33-year-old Lamb has always wanted to make his living in the theater world. So far, so good, as he fills in gaps with coaching and teaching.

“If I could be involved in eight shows every season, I wouldn’t have to worry,” he says. “If you’re going to make a living, you have to be forward thinking. ... In a city like Portland, those of us who are able to make a living, you have to plot your schedule ahead of time and spread out among many different companies.

“Third Rail has been super flexible in rehearsal schedule to accommodate overlap.”

Overlap has seemingly occurred all season. He played in Third Rail’s “Noises Off” and directed “Band Geeks” for Broadway Rose at the same time. Then came the overlap with “A Small Fire” and “Midsummer.”

Directing and acting “exercise different parts of the creative brain,” Lamb says. “I also do

musicals.”

by: COURTESY OF ISAAC LAMB - Isaac Lamb's video-taped proposal to Amy Frankel has received 25 million views on YouTube, and they plan to marry Aug. 31.Lamb grew up in Portland and played sports — soccer, basketball, baseball and just about everything else. He attended Jesuit High, where he says the intensity and competition involved soured him on athletics. It stopped being fun and felt like a job.

He tried out for and played in “Pirates of Penzance” at Jesuit, and discovered that he had some talent. Rather than be around sweaty dudes in a locker room, he looked around the room at the dozens of girls involved in theater, and few guys.

“I liked my odds!” he jokes.

Lamb continued to participate in theater at Jesuit, and then at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, which he attended to study filmmaking. His huge break came when he landed the main role in one of the traveling shows of “Defending the Caveman” as organizers took a risk on the young actor. It was his first professional job. The role required comedic ability, and “I showed promise,” he says.

Lamb ended up touring for five years and through 37 states. “That show was kind of a phenomenon,” he says.

He moved back to Portland in 2006 and aligned himself with Third Rail, and he has worked in Portland theater since then. In the future, he sees himself possibly being an artistic director for a theater company.

His world changed when he met Amy Frankel during the 2006 auditions of “West Side Story” at Portland Center Stage. Lamb introduced himself and, apparently, Frankel, a dancer/actor, then forget about him.

“She doesn’t remember me,” Lamb says. Frankel choreographed Lamb in other shows, such as one for Stumptown Stages, and they worked together at a theater camp. They became an item.

Frankel, 35, has taken a hiatus from the stage to focus on a nursing degree. She has started working at a Veteran’s Administration hospital.

How interesting has their life become since their proposal? A TV station in Munich, Germany, wanted to fly the couple to Europe for an interview. They couldn’t go.

“Amy had finals,” Lamb says.



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