Many Lessons Have Been Learned

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April 8, 1948 – According to the script, the date Jefferson was to be executed, by order of the State of Louisiana.
April 8, 2017 – A Lesson Before Dying closes to applause, tears, and even some laughs!

After a final weekend filled with enthusiastic and appreciative audiences, A Lesson Before Dying closed, teaching us many things – like James Davis, Governor of Louisiana in 1948, claims to have written “You Are My Sunshine”… the Coca Cola logo hasn’t changed in almost 80 years… “under God” was not added to the Pledge of Allegiance until 1954… and how lucky we were to assemble this incredibly talented cast and production team!

The skill and passion our cast showed on the stage moved the audience to tears, applause, and hugs in the lobby after the curtain call. Extra special thanks to Steve Taylor, who went above and beyond by stepping into Sheriff Rick Levi’s boots when he unfortunately had to step down two weeks before we opened – a true “welcome to live theater!” moment!

And then there’s our dedicated production team – Bill Mentz and Crawford Deyo, who designed and created the moody and beautifully effective set, with help from John Bradley, John Gray and Wendell Wahren; Mike Gnazzo and Larry Wilbur, who created a lovely “ballet of light and sound”, and Janet Fenton for her perfect costumes and mad hair and makeup skills. Many thanks, too, to our lovely stage managers, Evelyn Russo and Kathy McCarthy Simpson, who kept things running smoothly; our light board ops, Marissa Abreu, Paul Russo and Ralph Felice; and our wonderful ASM Allison Schneider, who spent her evenings backstage packing picnic baskets, shackling Marquis, and, most important, ALWAYS knowing where the handcuff key was!

Everyone worked together to realize the vision of director Kathy Gnazzo, assisted by Larry Gabbard (soon to be seen on the OTHER side of the stage in La Cage!) – to quote A Man of No Importance – “It’s a collaboration, and you’re part of the creation!” Thank you, one and all, for helping to create this important piece of theater here on the Elmwood stage!

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