Ask Phyllis Newell of Westfield what she thinks of her son Tim's status in the theatre world and you'll hear pride in her voice. And, of course, she and other family members will take their seats Friday, Feb. 7, in Eason Hall when Tim stars in "The Dining Room," a play written by A.R. Gurney.
"It all started at school," recalls Mrs. Newell. "Tim was about 10 years old and any of the kids could do whatever they wanted. Tim sang "Tomorrow" from Annie. A little scared, he stood so straight, he didn't even smile. Then, everyone gave him a standing ovation."
Tim's theatrical penchant didn't stop there. "I was living in Jamestown when friends told me I was too good for Jamestown and should go to New York," Tim recalls. "So, I took their advice and left. I lived in New York from 1986 until 1993 before moving to Buffalo. After a couple of years of living there, I came to understand that I didn't have what it took to get work as an actor (in N.Y.), and so, I left the theatre scene to delve into visual art. In fact, I took a 10-year leave of absence."
Westfield native Tim Newell, a member of the Chautauqua County Gurney Players, appears in “The Dining Room” in early February. Two performances will be presented, one in Eason Hall in Westfield and the other at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown. Tickets are on sale now.
A graduate of Westfield Academy & Central School, Tim was born in Westfield Memorial Hospital for which the WMH Foundation is sponsoring the upcoming Feb. 7 staged reading presentation. A resident of Buffalo for 20 years, Tim first worked as a clerk for the QRS music roll company on Niagara Street. "In 1995, the acting bug started nibbling at me. Knowing I had to go back to the stage, I followed my instincts and landed a small role in a play being produced by UJIMA Theatre Co.
That was in 1996. Since then, I've been working steadily as an actor, making a living by doing what I love to do!"
Rather than having an agent to seek theatric roles for him, he considers himself a private contractor. "Theatres call me, offering me roles and, if it's something I'm right for, I take it. I now have a manager who is helping me handle my one-man show, 'Mr. Benny,' and her name if Kyle LoConti. She's not only my manager; she's a very dear friend."
In addition to his mother his father David passed away in February 2001 the rest of Tim's family most likely is well-known in Westfield. Brother Keven Newell, who tends bar for the Moose Club, recalls how Tim played roles in Jamestown Community College and the Little Theatre. As for his Buffalo residence, Keven says, "It's a "good excuse to go to Buffalo to see four or five plays. And, I'm glad for his success."
"We're very proud of him and the strides he's made," says his sister, Kathy Hoyt, who is a teacher's aide for BOCES at Chautauqua Lake Central School. Of Tim's recent accomplishment, his Jack Benny portrayal (Mr. Benny), she exclaims "To be asked to travel around and perform what an honor."
As for Tim's upcoming performance, he says, "I really enjoy coming back to Westfield to perform. I was last here for two performances of 'A Lunch with Mr. Benny,' a spinoff of the two-act play, for the Patterson Library. And as for 'The Dining Room' .it's probably (A.R.) Gurney's best play, and I'm delighted to be a part of it and to help raise money for two very good causes."