Out of the Classroom: Winterstein wins award for best actor


A small star of Cam High, Mr. Winterstein was honored as Ventura County’s Best Actor for a role he will be performing again tomorrow and on Sunday at the Santa Paula Theater Center.

Cam High Drama and English teacher, Mr. Richard Winterstein, has had his fair share of acting experience, performing in numerous plays, movies and televisions shows. His recent role as a romantic former soldier in the French play Heroes won him the title of Ventura County’s Best Actor for the Ventura County Four Star Network for 2014.

Set in 1959, Heroes follows the lives of three World War I veterans, Gustave, Phillipe, and Henri, who live in a veterans’ home leading dull and monotonous lives. After years of torturous confinement, the trio create a plan to escape. Winterstein embodies the character of Henri, a robust and dashing man who, like the others, dreams of having an adventure. “It was a great, fun play to do and it had very poignant and serious moments in it too as we learn about their lives,” said Winterstein. “It’s a beautiful play.”

A trophy  to Winterstein by the Four Star Theater Awards, a local version of the Tony Awards.
Winterstein was granted both trophy and title by the Four Star Theater Awards, a local version of the Tony Awards.

Wintertstein said that he found himself falling in love with acting and the theater at a young age. “My fifth grade teacher, who directed the very first play I was in when I was ten years old, invited me to come audition for the chorus of the Student Prince by Sigmund Romberg,” he said. “I went and I fell in love with the theater, and the rest is history.”

Heroes was first performed at the Santa Paula Theater Center and ran from Sept. 5 to Oct. 12. According to Winterstein, The play will be on stage again again tomorrow at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center at 7:30pm and on Sunday, Feb. 1 at 2 p.m. Click here for tickets.

The awards ceremony for Winterstein took place at the High Street Arts Center in Moorpark on Jan. 18. “It was a big surprise to me,” he said. “I’m very proud and very excited about going and it’s really great to win a prize.” According to him, the awards ceremony was “like the Academy Awards. It was very exciting, everybody was dressed to the nines. I was impressed with the level of talent that performed on stage.” The awards ceremony showed snippets from each of the 36 productions included in the Four Star Network and honored those that were awarded.

Heroes was also awarded the Best Play of the Year and Best Scene Design. Additionally, Winterstein’s colleague, Tom Puckett, in the role of Phillipe, won the award for Best Supporting Actor. “I have to share my award with my two other colleagues (Tom Puckett and David Ralph). They’re just a joy to work with. They’re very creative, smart, intuitive actors. They helped propel me to this award.”

Winterstein, an actor since 1962, said that he advises aspiring actors and actresses to work hard on their acting skills. “Do not go out and try to find success, let success find you,” Winterstein said. “The most important thing is to practice your art.”