Wheeling Women Artists: Melody Meadows

Melody Meadows’ passion for theater blossomed at the age of ten. She is a Charleston native but pursued children’s theater in New Martinsville, WV. She then continued on her acting path via Magnolia High School and West Liberty State College. Melody is still involved with the theater arts today.

Melody is thankful to have such great training at a very young age. “My first theater director, I wasn’t aware at the age of 10 of her background. I worked with Lee Abraham. After she passed away I found that she had a degree from Columbia University in New York for theater,” said Melody. She expresses that she feels very lucky to have worked with great people. “When I got to West Liberty, John Riley was my acting teacher and then 20 years later he was my daughter’s acting teacher. I felt like I really grew as an actor at that time,” she continued.

“I was actually involved with theater from the age of ten to today. I still do community theater and I love it,” Melody laughs. She has done shows at Towngate, The Strand, Ohio University Eastern, and has returned to West Liberty for alumni shows. Melody is also on a rotating cast for Murder Mystery Unlimited where she does a few shows a year for mystery theater.

After West Liberty, she accepted a position at Wheeling Park High School as an English teacher and was the assistant coach for speech and theater. “It’s always a joy for me to work with young actors. I enjoy watching them grow up and pursue a career in acting. It’s amazing to see how theater has impacted their lives,” said Melody. She also expresses how our community is to lucky to have a school like Wheeling Park. “I loved working there. I loved the teachers. One of my favorite parts of that job was working with the talented students.” She currently teaches English at the Harrison Career Center.

Most theater work in the valley is unpaid. Melody believes this is how she can give back to the community. “I hope to bring the arts to the community. If we didn’t have actors who weren’t willing to memorize the lines and go to rehearsals we wouldn’t have Towngate or The Strand,” she explains.

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As an actor, her most rewarding moment is owed to working with her daughter, Tiffany Lee, on stage. They have done three shows together. “You Can’t Take it With You was probably the most memorable. It was Tiffany’s last show at West Liberty. She and I both got to work on a stage that we both trained on as actors,” she said. Melody expresses great love for West Liberty. “That stage is so funny to me. Every time I am on it, I feel like I am home. It’s the most comfortable feeling for me,” she explained. She cherishes being able to share that experience with her daughter.

Even though Melody lives for acting, she expresses how difficult it can be to balance her personal and professional life. “I work all day. I teach all day. I love my job and what I do. I am very lucky that I get to act on my job as well. As an English teacher I get to portray these great characters and stories. That’s one of my favorite parts of the job.” she explains. She is currently working on a show where she rehearses Monday through Thursday 7-10pm after teaching. “I found that whenever I am in a show, I need to be extremely organized. From everything to paying bills, grocery shopping, to laundry,” she continues. She expresses that sometimes you may lose time with family while in a show. She is very thankful to have an extremely supportive family.

Melody stresses that it is very important for young actors to do as many shows as they can. “Every show, you are going to learn more. Don’t be so concerned about you in a show. It’s important to watch what the other actors are doing as well. Especially if you are in a show where the other actors have done a lot of acting,” Melody said. She thinks it’s important for young actors to experience as much theater as possible. “Go to as many shows as you can. Read as many shows as you can. Watch good movies with good actors,” she continues.

Other than acting and teaching, Melody likes to work out in her spare time. “Acting is very physical so you have to be in a certain physical condition to be able to do it,” said Melody. She also enjoys gardening, and spending time with her cat. Melody also loves to spend time with her family and visiting her twin sister and her son in Pittsburgh. She loves to travel whenever she has the chance. She has been to 28 countries. “I got to see theater in London, and the ballet in Russia. It was all very beautiful. I love art and I am very lucky to have been in some of the best museums in the world,” she said. She is currently looking forward to her daughter’s wedding happening this summer.