Support of Area Churches Kept Roxy Afloat in Early Days

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on February 7, 2014

I have been unknowingly living with an inflated ego, in thinking I was one of the chosen few who could see the multitude of miracles offered in life.

I’ve been sadly mistaken. It took a child’s baptism to make me see the light.

I had invited myself to attend Tim and Maureen Harvey’s granddaughter’s baptism at First Presbyterian Church. Maureen had appeared in some of our earliest efforts; she and Tim have been our friends for as long as I can remember.

They have two beautiful girls, Sara and Camille, now married. (I had always thought Maureen had named them after Sarah Bernhardt, since Bernhardt had been the first Camille. That information was news to Maureen.)

When her eldest, Sara, and husband, David, had a baby girl (whom they named Charlotte), I slipped into the church to witness the baptism.

Baptisms of babies are usually noisy affairs. I doubt they warm the water, so it usually brings screams as it trickles down the newborn’s head. Trent, Sara’s sister Camille’s husband, whispered to me that Baby Charlotte had just been fed, so she was comatose, which had been food-induced.

Comatose indeed! Full-blown organs, congregational singing, a large choir, an amplified sermon, splatters of water, even being paraded around the church, could not wake the sleeping princess.

And then we were all requested to sing “Is It I, Lord?” Then it hit me how this church and so many other churches had reached out in their own way to keep us (and especially me in particular) afloat in our early days of struggle.

Carolyn Karhu, by way of George Gracey, had called on me to work with their youth group, where we adapted “The Gift of the Magi.” First Presbyterian Church, by way of some good soul, fronted me a stipend … I figured it had been C. David Elliott.

The same was true of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, giving me the opportunity of creating a passion play using its youth group, the C.Y.O. — again, another stipend.

And Madison Street United Methodist allowed me to write and direct a Christmas play loosely based on the Wesley family, three years running.

Early on, T.S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral, directed by Sally Welch, was presented in Trinity Episcopal Church’s sanctuary. Some kind soul had thought of me and, more than funds, my participation gave me recognition in the community; and, in that, I met and grew to love the late Lew Tatham and made a good friend of Ted Jones.

I had not noticed these miracles when they happened, but they were nonetheless miracles — like the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Dover, bringing a brood of believers down to see most shows we produce.

My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra plays its pay-what-you-can preview tonight (Friday) at 8pm. The box office opens at 7:30pm this evening for whatever price you wish to pay.

Tomorrow (Saturday) at 2pm is the final performance of Hans Christian Andersen.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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