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January 30, 2006
posted online February 9, 2006

Cairo actor, Jeff McGoy, returns to stage for Black History Month

Shawnee Community Colleges' Humanities Committee and McGoy Entertainment, Inc. will present a play entitled "Bridging the Gap: Understanding the Generations" on Friday, February 17, beginning at 11 a.m. in the SCC Performing Arts Center on the SCC main campus near Ullin. Admission is free and open to the general public. The play will feature SCC Recruiter/Admissions Specialist Jeff McGoy. The performance marks the stage debut of Janet McGoy and Brittany Matthews. The play is in honor of Black History Month.


Jeffery McGoy

As a child, Jeff McGoy had a big imagination. He loved to imitate people he watched on television. His first play, while still in grade school, was a Christmas production in which he played Santa Claus. His performance moved the audience and allowed the community to see the potential in this once shy, young boy. It became apparent that acting was his calling.

Jeffery L. McGoy, 29, is a life long resident of Cairo, IL and the only child of Ms. Janet A. McGoy and the late Thomas Gordon. He is a 1994 graduate of Cairo High School and a 1998 graduate of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Communication. Jeff works at Shawnee Community College, Ullin, as a Recruiter and Academic Advisor. He is working on his Masters degree in Speech Communication at SIUC.

McGoy's first loves are acting and motivating people.

While in high school, Jeff continued acting. He was on the drama team his junior year and became the team president his senior year. Jeff placed 5th in the Southern Sectional IHSA competition.

He decided to attend SIUC so he could learn more about acting and gain more experience. He chose Speech Communication, with an emphasis on Performance Studies, for his major.

During his second year in college, Jeff made his debut in a lead role. The play was called "An Evening With Ira Aldridge," which was written by a Ph.D. student. Jeff was nominated for the Irene Ryan Scholarship Award for his performance in the play.

Performance opportunities grew during his junior year. He acted in nine plays and showed no signs of slowing down. Jeff, along with three other college students, formed a registered student organization at SIUC called Oops! Entertainment Group. The purpose of the group was to give those interested in performing, directing, writing, design and other areas in theater a chance to work in a group and showcase their talents through productions on the campus and in the community. The group is still active at SIUC.

By Jeff's senior year, he had been in a total of thirteen productions between the Theater Dept., Speech Dept., and Oops! Entertainment. He was the recipient of the Ira Aldridge Award from the Black Affairs Council at SIUC for excellence in the performing arts. He was also the recipient of the Support Black Undergraduate Education Academic Scholarship (SBUE) for students with outstanding academic accomplishments and contributions to SIUC and the Carbondale community. Both were received in 1997.

After graduation, Jeff faced the difficult decision of where to begin his career. He decided to stay in Cairo to work with troubled youth. His work with youth increased his desire to inspire and motivate others.

In 1998, sponsored by The United Front, Inc., Jeff directed a black history play with participation from youth in the community. Afterward, Jeff was asked to write a skit for a group of students at a community college to be performed for area high school seniors. Jeff also gave acting workshops, read poetry at local church events, performed storytelling and participated in workshops. His love for children and his community remained strong as he used his talents to work with youth, as well as adults, in many activities.

On June 19, 1999, Jeff put on a one-man show for the community, in celebration of his mother's 50th birthday. The focus of the play was problems facing African-American men in society today. He created and performed twelve distinct characters, in order to communicate problems and solutions that people can relate to.

After the show, Jeff received offers from agencies and churches, locally as well as in Missouri and Kentucky, to use his unique style of inspirational/motivational speaking through the performance of his characters. He has performed in seven one-man shows since 1999; the most recent was in February of 2005.

McGoy will join his mother and cousin for the first time on stage in a February 17, Black History Month, performance at Shawnee Community College. The play, entitled "Bridging the Gap: Understanding the Generations," consists of ten scenes focusing on the past, present and future generations. Each scene will focus on discussions between the characters contrasting the differences and similarities between the generations. The performers will bring laughter, inspiration, historical information and fun to their performances.

McGoy hopes to act, produce and direct for an even larger audience.

"If I am given an opportunity to use my gift to touch someone in a positive way through my acting, I will give it everything I have and keep moving on to touch someone else who just might need it. I want to use it to teach, educate, entertain, enlighten, and show people that we are all alike and we all have drama in our lives. But if we live to see another day, that is the time to find out the answers to our problems and never give up on life."

© 2005 The Cairo Gate