For some, a hobby can be plucking a guitar or pruning a rose bush.
But Department Administrator Jerome Pokorney is really passionate about acting , his hobby for several years. It was from the stage during a curtain call that he proposed to his wife (still in character…once in character, I am hard to break out of it), luckily she said “yes”. In fact, Jerome’s son is named for the lead character in the popular musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. And the 14-year-old Joseph Pokorney already has shared the stage with his father on many occasions as well at least one television commercial.
In order to indulge his off-hours passion for acting, Jerome spends most of his weekends and nights rehearsing, building sets or running the production company he co-founded with a high school friend. OnOurOwn Productions, Inc. (OOOPs) entertains the Tri County area with a series of stage musicals and plays. Jerome’s wife, Michelle, is a production company board member and is active in the family’s group hobby.
Jerome Pokorney, a Department Administrator on finance team for Sheriff Benny Napoleon, said the production company and his zeal for stage acting “bring family and friends together, as the cast and crew (of friends and family) can be found rehearsing and preparing publicity and other preparations throughout the week, while building sets the entire weekend.”
And while acting and directing have provided Jerome great joy – to himself and others – the fallout at work has left some County security workers scratching their heads. Each play in which he performs calls for a new look, maybe the long red hair of a lumberjack for Adam in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, or a shaved head a black goatee for his stint as the King of Siam in the King and I. Prior to coming to the Sheriff Office in 2003, while working in the downtown Randolph County Offices, Jerome was stopped several times by officers wondering whether his temporary look matched the face on the security badge.
Jerome says theatre enriches his life.
He said “Every show I have walked away with life-time friends, because every show starts with (at least in some aspect) a group of strangers meeting for the first time, and ends with a whole new family.
“The best casts learn to play off each other and become one unit. Truly my best friends have all come from theatre.”
Raised in Warren, Jerome attended Wayne State University on a Presidential Scholarship, finishing with a degree in Corporate Finance. His hobby has led to lead roles in over 100 productions and memberships in Village Players of Birmingham, Park Players of Rosedale Park, Grosse Pointe Theatre, Stagecrafters of Royal Oak, Ridgedale Players of Troy and the Warren Civic Theatre. Jerome has also featured on WDIV (channel 4) for his role in the King and I, and was featured along with OOOPs members as the guest “band” on the Mitch Albom afternoon radio program on WJR-AM, as well as commercials that have aired locally and across the country (however that is not him as PEGGY in the “Hello this is Peggy” in the Discover Card Commercials…he wishes it was though).
OnOurOwn Productions was founded in 1996 by Jerome and a high school friend (both Mott High School 1990 Alumni). After performing in other productions in the area since 1986 Jerome realized he wanted to bring fun professional theatre to the community and yet make it affordable for everybody. Thus the commitment Jerome and OOOPs has made to the community where priority one is creating a professional experience for the audience with a combination of professional and amateur actors, dancers and singers all of which volunteer including the entire staff and director (Jerome himself). Any money received goes 100% into the next production (nobody makes a single cent more then they put in…not a producer not anybody). Jerome has made it OOOP’s mission to provide this live entertainment for the cost of a movie (now less). OnOurOwn Productions, Inc (OOOPs incorporated in 1999, and Jerome is President of its 12-member Board of Directors) has volunteered its time and talents on more than one occasion reading to youth at libraries, collecting food and items for veterans and the needy in the area, and several benefit performances of its hit “Forever Plaid” to raise funds for the South Oakland County Homeless and a Hospital Wing in Macomb County. Most recently Jerome and OOOPs performed successful runs of BIG, The Musical, and Seussical in Fraser, MI. Along its 15 years, OOOPs provided Jerome with something unexpected. The troupe itself is a tight-knit family that has become more then friends. With productions as small as 4 actors and a 2 member band, to most productions of 45 member casts and 15 member orchestras. They are family. “I have stood up to several of their weddings, I have been best man. Been there for their children’s births, watched many relationships/marriages begin in our shows. We have had a proposal in the middle of a scene in our show (in character). Spent several family trips to Walt Disney World with as many as twelve OOOPs family members. I go everywhere with my extended family.”
And while theatre is a passion, Jerome understands there are limits. “If I acted this way at work,” he said, ”people would think I was crazy.’
For further information on Jerome Pokorney’s theatre and tickets/information on the upcoming performances, please visit, www.onourownproductions.com
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FAVORITE ROLES (both in OOOPs and with other companies):
- Freddy Benson – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
- John Adams – 1776
- Frankie – Forever Plaid
- Mark - Altar Boyz
- King Arthur – Camelot
- Pirate King – Pirates of Penzance
- CAT IN THE HAT – Seussical
- Eddie Ryan – Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?
- And ANYTHING I can act the fool in character and get a laugh (let me ad-lib and I am even happier)