And The Monte Goes To… Tune In Saturday, May 14, at 2pm

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on May 9, 2011

Mrs. George L. “Monte” Narber was the very first good soul to help us continue here on the corner of Franklin and First. Her dearest friend, the late Grace Cunningham, had written to her friend “Monte” that a theatre had opened. That was in 1983.

I remember that first winter when we would turn the thermostat down for just enough heat to keep the pipes from bursting (one time they did anyway), while rehearsing in overcoats. “Monte”‘s check, at the time, was like a million dollars. We paid our gas bill, which the late, dear Dan Stark let us pay off in increments until we got it up-to-date, rather than close us down (which turning off our gas would have done).

“Monte” helped us do so much good. She once asked what we needed, and I said, “A follow spot,” which we had borrowed from APSU. So she bought us one. As for the scaffold we had on loan from the Catholic Church that over the years we had abused with nicks, dents and drops of paint, she bought us a new one. When it was delivered here, I said, “No, take it to the Catholic Church.”

She always was proud that we presented Shakespeare. She liked the educational component of our program and paid for the scripts. At Christmas, we would lay out a roll of paper across the stage, and every child would sign it as a thank-you note for her generosity. She was pleased to be remembered.

We honored her every year with our production of Shakespeare and have named an award after her — “The Monte” — given each year to the person or persons who have given, done or been that extra something to help us continue. Past recipients have included: Debby Dowlen-Noyes (1985), Stacy Turner-Olson (1986), Marge Lillard (1987), Cinders Murdoch-Vaughan and Gene Wolf (1988), Linda Ellis and Paul Flaten (1989), James Mann and Kathy Sitton (1990), Richard Gildrie (1991), Alice Cortner (1992), Jim Mann and Richard Gildrie (1993), Gene Wolf and Mary Harpel (1994), Conrad and Alison Edington (1995), Jim McDonald (1996), Peg Harvill (1997), Dr. and Mrs. Bill Grabenstein (1998), Mike Fink and Greg Williamson (1999), Susan Bryant (2000), The Leaf-Chronicle and Riverview Inn (2001), Leslie Greene (2002), Joanne Anthony (2003), Nelda Steeley and Jon Prudhomme (2004), The Eichhorn-Kitterman Family and The Boen Family (2005), Maria Rice McClure and Walter Marczak (2006), Paige King and Meredith Gildrie (2007), Bruce and Debra Jobe and Judi Sinks (2008), Katie Kennedy, Kitty Madden and Beverly Fisher (2009), Mary Nell Wooten and Nancye Britton (2010).

“Monte” always wanted her husband, George, to be honored more than she — much like Fred Landiss always defers being mentioned first in any thanks or honor to his wife, Judy.

The Montes will be awarded during the matinee of The Civil War on Saturday, May 14. The Civil War continues on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7pm and Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, through May 21.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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