Wayne Martens was once a successful professional “working”
stage actor. While in New York City, he appeared in the Off-
productions of Roots, Plain and Fancy, Arms and the Man, Earnest in
Love, An Evening with Garcia Lorca, The Island of Symmetrical People,
The Immoralist, How to Steal an election and The Fantasticks. He is now
retired and receiving a well deserved pension from his union, Actors
In Summer Stock and regional theatre, he has appeared at the Petoskey
Playhouse, Sun Parlor Playhouse, Eaglesmeer Playhouse, Timberland
Playhouse, Reading Playhouse, Kennebunkport Playhouse, The Triangle
Repertory, and a few
places he can’t remember.
From 1954 to 1960, before moving to New York, he produced, directed and
acted in Detroit, Michigan. After being named the artistic director of
World Stage, a very successful semi-professional theatre, he opened a
nightclub named The Critics Club, where he produced musical revues. He
founded Detroit’s first full-Equity professional theatre, The Vanguard
The Mayor awarded Martens the key to the city for his contribution to
the cultural life of Detroit. The Vanguard was a beautiful old
proscenium theatre. When the new Tiger Stadium was built in downtown
Detroit, the Vanguard Playhouse was in the way and five blocks of the
city had to be leveled so that the theatre could be moved. It is in the
Guinness Book of World Records as the largest building to ever be picked
up and moved in one piece.
Martens opened The International Theatre Festival across the river in
Windsor, Ontario. He also opened a branch of World Stage in San
Francisco where he attempted to open a nightclub. The club was denied a
liquor license and Martens lost the little money he had.
In 1960, he moved to New York City with the hope of becoming a star. His
first New York job was directing a production of The King in I at a
theatre in the Adirondack Mountains. He married the leading lady.
In 1968, Mr. Martens was playing the role of the Girls Father in The
Fantasticks when he discovered that his own daughter, Michelle, was
developmentally disabled. He was divorced and became a single parent
after the court gave him custody of his daughter. He gave up his theatre
career and opened a photography lab in his apartment so that he could stay home and care for her.
In 1987, when Martens returned to a theatre career, his photo business had 5000
Sq Ft in Mid-town Manhattan and 16 fulltime Employees. His Clients included
Madison Square Garden, Harper and Row, Scholastic Publishing, Children's Television
Workshop and many of the worlds foremost photographers. He currently teaches a
Master Darkroom class at the Burlington Fire House Center for the Visual Arts.
Martens remarried and had three more children all of whom now live in
the Burlington area. He became the artistic
director of the Harold Clurman Theatre on Forty Second Street in New
Martens retired and moved to Vermont to help care for his grandchild. He
returned to the stage as an actor after a 35-year absence to appear in
the Stowe Theatre Guild production of The Fantasticks. In June of 2004,
he produced, directed and performed in two one act plays by Chekhov and
received rave revues (See Local Revues). He then played Grandpa in You Can't Take it
With You and the drunken porter in Macbeth, both at Lost Nation Theatre.
To Email Wayne: Wayne@WaynesWorldStage.com