So I know I’m a few hours late to #ThrowbackThursday, but this topic is a pretty far throw and deserving of some recognition.
Two weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to return home to participate in the Youngstown Playhouse‘s 90th Gala Anniversary Celebration (What We Did For Love). One of America’s oldest ongoing community theaters, and sharing its anniversary with another theater dear to my heart, the Goodman, the Playhouse has had a major impact on solidifying my love of performing and sharing this love with some amazing audiences (and very good friends). It’s hard to believe my involvement in this institution only numbers at 4 out of those 90 remarkable years, but I am so grateful for that time and hope to spend more there in the future.
The gala featured dozens of Playhouse people, many who had witnessed its many periods of rebirth and cultivated countless memories on its familiar boards. Some faces were quite new, having just performed in recent productions this season. But we all shared a common bond to a place we call home, and I am so glad to share a small part in that legacy.It was quite a whirlwind weekend featuring rapid appointments, fun photo shoots, fall festivities, and much-needed family time. Topping it all was the surrealism of being put-in for a final dress rehearsal (quickly reviewing cuts with the music director, staging my own numbers, and choreographing two additional ensemble numbers in under 15 minutes!), and boy, it was just the rush I needed! I was thrilled to reprise Roxie from Chicago, as well as songs from Funny Girl, Annie Get Your Gun, and A Chorus Line. Sharing that stage with so many friends was just an incredible feeling.
The defining moment of my weekend, however, came at the moment in Roxie’s monologue, at the reveal of the newspaper’s headline, “Roxie Rocks Chicago!” As I excitedly swiveled to display the article, I was greeted with a spontaneous eruption of applause (not present in the original staging) from a house full of dear friends, mentors, and family: A true homecoming. To all those in attendance that evening: Thank you for your love. It means the world.
And to those who weren’t able to come out for the weekend of celebration, I have this to say: I think Roxie and the Playhouse have a lot more rocking to do.
Until we meet again, enjoy this bit of Playhouse history: