Howard Magazine - Page 38 - Born To Perform - Continued from Page 38

Howard Magazine
- Page 38
Born To Perform - Continued from Page 38

Help arrived quickly. As he lay on a stretcher, awaiting transport to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma, Biedermann, beckoned a neighbor.

 

“Wendy, I need a favor,” he said. “Call Toby [Orenstein, theater owner] and tell her I’ll be there Thursday for the show.”

 

Then it hit him. This is who I am; this is what I was meant to do.

 

”I didn’t ask her to call my mother or sisters. I was only ticked off about missing performances,” he said.

 

The bullet remains lodged in his skull; removing it would cause further damage, surgeons said.

 

“I know [the slug] is there if it’s cold outside, or if I eat too big a sandwich,” Biedermann said.

 

His assailant was caught and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Ten years later, he died of brain cancer.

 

“Karma’s a b----,” the actor said.

 

The shooting didn’t sideline Biedermann for long.

 

“He was shook up, but back in about a week,” Orenstein said. “Robert has wonderful old-school values and a very strong sense of commitment to his work.”

 

Biedermann is, both personally and professionally, “a fighter, a survivor— and a genuine soul,” said Mark Minnick, Toby’s director and associate producer. “Robert’s portrayals ring true, whether it’s Potter or Kris Kringle or Captain Brackett; it’s honest for the intimate setting up front, yet heightened enough to reach the back row.”

 

Colleagues say Biedermann is known as much for his altruism as for his acting.

 

“He’s a kind, warm and generous person who always shares the stage— and you don’t find many genuine people in the theater,” said Tina DeSimone, 50, of Annapolis. A Toby’s regular (she played the Wicked Witch in “The Wizard Of Oz”) DeSimone has worked with Biedermann for 30 years and said, “I hope to do it for 30 more.”

 

Given his druthers, Biedermann said he would prefer to expire in character.

 

“I’m hoping to find a scene in a show where I die on stage— and actually do,” he said wryly. “I want people to say, ‘Wow, what a performance!’ ”