Sandy Campbell Makes Her Directorial Debut in Oceanside Theatre Company’s Good People

Long-time San Diego actress, Sandy Campbell is taking on a new challenge with her directorial debut of Oceanside Theatre Company’s Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire, an emotional, heartfelt drama broken up by poignant moments of laugh-aloud humor. Having most recently worked as assistant director on The Children at the Moxie Theater, Campbell has won multiple San Diego Critics Circle awards for her acting and has worked at most of the theaters in town including the Old Globe, Moonlight, San Diego Rep, and La Jolla Playhouse. Her husband Danny Campbell joins her in this new endeavor as Associate Director.

Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire is the story of middle-aged Margie Walsh, a nice woman from the poor neighborhood of South Boston or Southie, as they call it. Some of her friends might even say she’s TOO nice. When she gets fired from yet another job, her landlord threatens eviction. Determined to keep a roof over her daughter’s head, she turns to a former friend, who made it out of Southie, for help finding a job. From the moment she steps into Dr. Michael Dillon’s office, tensions mount in this reunion of old friends as they navigate the decisions that led them down different life paths. An emotional, heartfelt drama broken up by poignant moments of laugh-aloud humor, Good People will have audiences debating what it means to do the right thing. 

Sharing along a Q&A with Sandy Campbell and the cast of Good People conducted by OTC's Meg Pierce 

What interests you about this play as a whole?

Sandy Campbell - Director

David Lindsay-Abaire is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and it shows: Good People is an extraordinarily well-written play. It’s about life-altering choices and who actually gets the opportunity to make them. The characters strike us as very real, very flawed, and not always likable, but they are trying their best to be “good” people. This play is about class, economic pressures, and race - big ideas, but you’d never know it, because it is so funny.

What do you see as the particular challenges in directing these characters?

Because the characters in the play are so well drawn, it’s made easier, but the most important thing is to avoid them falling into caricature. This is a very realistic play and the acting and the staging must reflect that - real emotion, real motivations, and real interactions.

What do you want the audience to take away from the experience?

I would like the audience to continue to talk and think about this play on the way home. What REALLY makes a good person, what will happen next to these characters, who was right and who was wrong ... and how nice it was to have an evening of laughter.

How important is the setting to the play?

The play is set in South Boston where David Lindsay-Abaire grew up. It is almost a character itself. South Boston is in the locals’ speech patterns, their jobs, their religion, their pride and their prejudice. It is a part of them.

What do you look forward to most about presenting Good People to audiences?

I look forward to bringing the audience a really good story told well by excellent actors and designers. I can’t wait to watch OTC audiences go on this journey with Margie, Mike, Kate, Dottie, Jean, and Stevie. To laugh with them, to strive with them, and to hope with them.

Susan Clausen (Margie)

I grew up in the suburbs of Boston - not right in Southie, where Good People takes place, but only about 10 miles away. So the characters and dynamics of this play are familiar to me - and are something I am curious about. David Lindsay-Abaire, the playwright, grew up right in South Boston - so he does an incredible job of shaping these characters - and showing how humor is used to navigate difficulty. Good People also really examines the topic of choice - if everyone has the same choices to make in life and how we judge those choices in others. I think that topic informs a majority of important conversations we have societally.

What drew you to your character/ In what way do you relate to your character?

Margie is strong - and works hard to provide for herself and her daughter. She also cares deeply for her friends. I connect very personally to both of those two truths. She is also imperfect...yet strives to find humor wherever she can and maintain an optimistic perspective. So though my personal background and life situation is quite different from the character Margie - struggling in South Boston - there are a lot of personal traits where I have common ground with Margie. Finding common ground with people who are different from I am is something I try to do in my day-to-day life. And it is where I start as I explore a character on stage.

Ted Leib (Mike)

You've played Mike in Good People before - Why are you interested in playing Mike a second time?

In the six years since I last played the role I've revisited Mike many times in my mind. It's a role that allows for so many interpretations and I think I can bring something fresh and different to the role. Not necessarily something better - I'm very pleased with my previous performance -but six years can add a lot of experience and perspective.

Is there anything you will do differently in depicting him this time around?

I'm certain there will be! We have a different cast and, perhaps more importantly, a different director. Whenever you have new people in the room, particularly with writing as rich and layered as Lindsay-Abaire's, you have a different energy and nuance with which to play. It's energizing.

What drew you to your character?

I'm drawn to Mike's complexity. As I've gotten older myself, I'm finding that I look back on myself when I was in high school, college, or in my thirties, even, and it's remarkable how different I am as a person.

What do you see as your challenge in representing your character?

The biggest challenge for me is to convincingly play someone from Boston. I grew up in San Diego at the same time that Mike and Margie grew up in Southie, and those two worlds at that time could not be more different. Both our director, Sandy Campbell, and the actor playing Margie, Susan Clausen, are from the Boston area. I'll be heavily leaning on them for insight.

What interests you about this play as a whole? What motivates you to do it a second time?

We had originally planned to do Good People in May of 2020 and had even gotten as far as holding callbacks, but the very next day the pandemic shut everything down, so it made sense to try to bring it back once we reopened. However, it wasn't a decision we made lightly. A lot has changed in the last three years, most notably with regard to heightened awareness of race and equality. This piece explores those themes in a way that I feel is even more relevant now than before Covid.

Amira Campbell (Kate)

I appreciate the way Kate manages to balance being hospitable while also taking no- nonsense. I relate to Kate's kindness and her willingness to do the right thing even if it is the more difficult choice.

One of the challenges I see in representing Kate is making the character more than just the token black woman. Kate is the only character of color, at least on paper, and although it seems to be an intentional choice I hope to create nuance in my work that gives her even more depth than what is on the page. It will also be interesting to play a married mother because I have never been either!

What interests you about this play as a whole?

I appreciate the imperfectness of the characters. I think Margie in particular is a really provocative character, balancing survival and pride, and doing so with what little she has emotionally, financially, and intellectually. Meanwhile, Mike has made his way out of "the hood" of Southie but still maintains some of the ignorance that we see in Margie even with his access to education and financial stability. It is an interesting, and funny, take on how our circumstances shape our understanding and perspectives of the world and how blessings we may consider trivial can give us the greatest leg up in life.

Dennis Peters (Stevie)

There's a big conflict for Stevie in this piece, which is very intriguing. He genuinely cares for Margie, and yet is forced to do his job and fire her in the first scene. Margie was friends with Stevie's mother and has been in his life since before he was born. Their dynamic is very mother/son from my point of view. It's interesting to see the traditional parental power dynamic flipped upside down.

In truth, I think that Stevie is a decent guy. He's hard-working and cares for his peers. In my opinion, he's a bit of a dreamer. He's looking toward the future rather than dwelling on the past.

What do you see as your challenge in representing your character?

Certainly, the dialect is going to be very challenging, but I'm looking forward to it!

What interests you about this play as a whole?

I've always been fascinated with stories that deal with the "haves" and the "have-nots." What contributed to someone falling in either category? Little decisions that seem inconspicuous at the time have ramifications that are seen many years later. For Stevie specifically, he's actively working to ensure that he is one of the "haves." Later on in the play, we see an in-depth discussion between Margie a (have-not) and Mike (a have), and how they may not be as dissimilar as we think.

Sherri Allen (Jean)

Jean sets the plot in motion when she prods Margie to look up someone from her past in order to solicit help.

Jean is a loyal friend who tries to be of help to Margie (sometimes by offering encouragement, sometimes by showing solidarity, and sometimes by running interference). I'd like to think I share those qualities with her.

What do you see as your challenge in representing your character?

Aside from the obvious (attempting to master the very specific Southie dialect), the challenge is to find the balance between what is known and what is unknown; what is revealed through subtext, and what is delivered in a straightforward manner.

What interests you about this play as a whole?

Good People elucidates the class struggles in America. It cuts close to the bone while incorporating humor and pathos. It shows the humanity of people who, due to circumstances beyond their control, exist a hairs-breadth away from tragedy.

Heidi Bridges (Dottie)

What drew me to my character is that Dottie is very funny!

Dottie has no filter, she tells it like it is (or at least as how she sees it). She knows the value of a dollar and works hard (in her mind) to get by. Dottie is fiercely loyal to her son. She loves her friends but believes that business comes before friendship.

I relate to Dottie's loyalty to family,

What do you see as your challenge in representing your character?

I am an optimist, but Dottie is more of a realist, she's definitely more negative than I am.

Some of the things she says come across as mean, but she feels that she's just being honest. I think the challenge with her character is to make her likable despite her harsh qualities.

What interests you about this play as a whole?

I love this play. I love strong women and all of the women in this show are strong in one way or another. I love the friendship between them and how it's a source of their strength. I love how this play makes us question the role of luck vs. choices people make in determining their fate.



May 12-28

Preview Night: Friday, May 12 at 8 pm

Opening Night: Saturday, May 13 at 8 pm

Military Matinee: Sunday, May 14 at 2 pm (2 tickets free for Military with ID.)

Showtimes : Friday and Saturdays at 8 pm, Saturday and Sunday Matinees at 2 pm. Note: There is no Saturday matinee on Opening Weekend.


Tickets can be purchased through or by calling the box office at 760-433-8900. Tickets range from $20-45.

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