Performer profile: Mark D. Lingenfelter

Mark D. Lingenfelter has a penchant for chocolate ice cream, Carol Channing and music theater history.

And in music theater, Lingenfelter has worn many hats: actor, director, choreographer, stage manager, kids’ wrangler, teaching artist – while almost always sporting his signature bright bow tie.

A native of Mifflinburg and graduate of Catawba College, Salisbury, N.C., with a bachelor’s degree in musical theater, the lanky performer now resides in New York with his current emphasis on one-man shows.

His autobiographical solo performance “The Laughs, The Legend, The Lingenfelter” will be presented at Open Stage of Harrisburg, 223 Walnut St. (the floor level of the Walnut Street garage) in downtown Harrisburg at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

” ‘The 3 L’s’ is a collection of stories, combined with selected songs from Broadway musicals, and tell the story of my life and adventures. In the show, I do talk about growing up in central Pennsylvania, the son of a minister, and my stint working retail for many years at a local mall,” Lingenfelter said. His recent “adventures” include being a funny, free-wielding contestant on the daytime TV quiz show “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?”

Before his love of music theater prompted his move from this area, Lingenfelter worked closely with Williamsport’s Community Theatre League in developing its summer programs and directed the first theater camp. He also directed CTL’s murder mystery musical “Lucky Stiff” and directed for Lycoming College’s Arena Summer Theatre. Lingenfelter also choreographed several musicals for Susquehanna University. Acting in a wide variety of roles throughout the Northeast, including at Mt. Gretna Theatre, Lingenfelter taught master classes for Open Stage’s “Broadway 180” program for high school students.

Having presented “The 3 L’s” privately in New York in September, he contacted OSH about its possible interest in staging his show. The result is his return to the area for two performances.

Lingenfelter said of the show, “It’s about finding the adventure in the every day. It’s about discovering the extraordinary among the ordinary. It’s about finding the humor in what can sometimes look like a humorless, mundane world.”

There’s nothing mundane about Lingenfelter, although it’s sometimes difficult to determine whether he’s being serious or … just his free-spirited self.

“My 2013 word was ‘follow-through.’ My 2014 word is ‘development.’ 2013 is best summed up by ‘done is better than perfect.’ Maybe 2014 will make me embrace that concept,” he said. “I’m a theater hyphenate, prone to neurotic behavior that hopefully you will find more charming than annoying.”

And in summarizing “additional skills” on his resume, he lists “have a valid driver’s license” and that he “can read a map.”

Is it any wonder then that friends and family might suggest that his show “The 3 L’s” be retitled “The 4 L’s”? The fourth “L” will be for “The Looney” – as a definite term of endearment.

For more information or to purchase tickets for “The Laughs, The Legend, The Lingenfelter,” contact the Open Stage box office at 717-232-OPEN (6736) or visit