When Van Pearlberg was asked to raise money for the Cobb County Legal Secretaries Association's charities, he decided to put on a play. Little did he know that idea would spark a passion for acting that landed him the lead role of Willie Clark in Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boysa role that would lead to numerous other plays for various community theaters and charities.
Pearlberg, who is Cobb County deputy chief assistant district attorney, says acting is a fun way for him to support the community. He also served the community as a Marietta city councilman from 2006 to 2012, but gave up his seat for an unsuccessful bid for Cobb County Superior Court judge in November.
Pearlberg's more recent theater appearances helped raise funds for the Earl Smith Strand Theatre in Marietta. In 2011, he reprised his role of Willie Clark in The Sunshine Boys and, in 2012, took the role of Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple, starring opposite Marietta attorney Bert Reeves.
While Pearlberg waits for his next curtain call, he offered his thoughts with the Daily Report about acting and his time onstage.
Tell me about your interest in theater.
I love the theater. I really do. I love performing, making people laugh and seeing people have a good time. I enjoy doing it for charitable organizations and nonprofit organizations and assisting their fundraising efforts.
You've been doing this for how long?
I think the first one I did was around 1980. Then I got involved with the Jewish Community Center in Atlanta and with the Polk Street Players in Marietta.
Have you ever been paid to perform?
I've had two paying roles. One was at OnStage Atlanta in a play called Breaking Legs where I had a comedy lead. It was basically about a Mafia family who backs a college professor who is putting on a musical. It was a very, very cute play. Then I performed in the Aurora Theater in Duluth and we did The Sunshine Boys.
You've done The Sunshine Boys a couple of times.
I've done The Sunshine Boys about three times. I just love the role of Willie Clark in that setting. It's basically about two elderly men who had been Vaudeville comedians and get together for one last show. It's just a very funny and touching show.
What is it that you like about performing?
I enjoy seeing people laugh. I enjoy the opportunities to be onstage. I enjoy everybody's common desire to put on a good show. I enjoy the opportunity to put on a play from beginning to end where not only are you the actor, but you're helping build the set, you're helping paint the set.
When I worked at OnStage Atlanta in the show Breaking Legs, not only did we perform, but for the period of time that we worked we all had chores to do after the show which was either cleaning the seats in the auditorium, taking out the garbage or cleaning the bathrooms. We all had different jobs to do so you're not only performing, you're actually working there as well and maintaining the area.