SCHERERVILLE | When Peifer Elementary School principal Doug DeLaughter isn't guiding hundreds of students during the day, he's ruling the stage in the evening.
DeLaughter, currently playing King Arthur in M & M Productions' and Ross Music Theater's production of "Spamalot," said one of his greatest attributes is not taking himself too seriously.
"I believe life is short and you just have to have fun," DeLaughter said. "If you're not, you have to rethink your options. No matter what you do, you have to go full throttle."
Final performances of Monty Python's "Spamalot" are set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday, at Merrillville High School, 276 E 68th Place, Merrillville. Advance tickets, at www.m-mproductions.com or (219) 947-4922, are $12 for adults and $10 for senior citizens and students; $2 more at the door.
DeLaughter, of Crown Point, has been in education for 31 years and points to his parents, colleagues and theater friends as the biggest influences in his life. He started his career at Eads Elementary School in 1983.
DeLaughter has been with M & M Productions since he was 15, and considers the Reinhart clan "family." He actually met his wife on the Reinhart Auditorium stage at Merrillville High School. He has played numerous roles, from Harold Hill in "The Music Man" to Toad in "A Year with Frog and Toad."
"It's a great outlet," DeLaughter said. "There are great similarities in acting and teaching. I have an amazing staff of educators and when they go through difficult times, they have to act as if nothing is wrong and continue to shape and mold their students as if life is just grand."
DeLaughter said every time he takes the stage something is different, just like when his students walk through the doors each school day.
"Mr. DeLaughter is so funny and always makes us laugh in school," said Adriana Vizcarra, a Peifer fourth-grader. "When I saw him on stage I couldn't believe it, and I told all my teachers and friends about the play. He is a good King Arthur."
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