An exciting new year lies ahead for the Bobcat Players, but before we fully immerse ourselves in the 2020 season, we thought it only appropriate to take one last look at the decade we leave behind. And what better way to honor the past than by reminiscing?
Enjoy these favorite memories of some of our board members as they review their experiences over the last 10 years with the Bobcat Players!
Joshua Antoon: One of my favorite memories from my years with the Bobcat Players actually does NOT involve the stage! A few years ago, the Bobcat Players had to find a new storage space for all of our props, costumes, furniture, and set pieces. Believe me, it was A LOT of stuff. I’d say about 16 years worth of theatrical accoutrements. After several months of searching, we found a perfect spot. We planned and plotted how we would attack this great endeavor. The entire board came together and worked to sift through all of our items. One weekend a team went through and tagged what was staying and going. The following weekend a team of muscles loaded EVERYTHING into trucks and hauled it to our new storage home. After those couple of weeks, we accomplished our goal! It was great to see the Bobcat Players theatrical community come together to climb this mountain as a team. By the end were all exhausted, dusty, and sweaty, but we were awarded with a new storage space... and pizza & beer!
Heather Bixler: Being part of the Bobcat Players community theater has enabled me to form bonds and friendships with others in a way one rarely finds in life. The people with whom I've performed have become part of my family. Traveling cross-country with Patti Ross in Harps and Harmonicas, struggling through relationships with Josh Antoon in Old Love, and training the WASP women in Decision Height – all of these people, and many others, have made me a better actress and a better person. Serving on the board only enhances that sense of family; no one quite understands the quirkiness of a theater person better than a bunch of theater people! Being able to serve my community through the arts is an honor and a gift, one I will always value and treasure.
Valerie Boyce: I know Decision Height will probably be a popular memory for anyone who was involved, as it is for me. I’ll always hold that show near and dear to my heart. But my other favorite memory would be my first show with the Bobcats, Boeing Boeing. My experience in that show, branching out to a new theatre group, making friends--everyone was so welcoming and kind. I loved being in that show! It was fun and refreshing.
Shelly Cary: I am completely indebted to the Bobcat Players! Over the last decade, I have grown so much as a performer, director, and person because of this group. They (mainly Patti) gave me my first shot at directing, and I fell in love! I have had my best roles with the Bobcat Players (Ruth in Calendar Girls and Rose in Enchanted April) and have directed some great shows (The Foursome, Don't Dress for Dinner, Foolish Fish Girls and the Pearl, and Blithe Spirit). I was truly honored to be voted onto the Board of Directors almost 5 years ago and recently voted on as Secretary. I also was given the opportunity this past year to direct a show for us at the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, which was an amazing experience with some wonderful people! But most importantly, the friendships I have made with the people in this group are worth more to me than any applause or accolades. My best friends are a part of this group! The Bobcat Players are a fantastic group of people of whom I am humbled and honored to be a part. Thank you for everything!
Pat Depenhart: I have had the privilege of working with many wonderful Bobcat Player productions, so finding only one or two that stand out proves a challenge! However, I have narrowed it down to two distinct memories. My various roles in Love, Loss, and What I Wore received praise from many who attended the show. It was such fun, and we had a terrific cast; I was so proud to be part of production. My second important memory would have to be Calendar Girls in which I was cast as Lady Cravenshire. I appeared on stage in elegant costumes, and I didn't even have to remove any articles of clothing! (I am in awe of all actresses who did agree, though!) Although I was only on stage for short periods of time, the Beaver County Times put two pictures of me in their review of the play. It was a wonderful production with an awesome cast and director.
Patty Hamilton: As a stage manager for the Bobcat Players since the group began, I have done many scene changes over the years. Of course, the excitement of live theater means that you never know what could happen at any given time--and there are times when I might have forgotten to remove something for the next scene over the years. The one memory that sticks in my mind the most is from our production of The Cemetery Club. Throughout the play, scenes would change back and forth between the cemetery and the living room of one character. Once, I forgot to remove the headstone, so it stayed in the character's living room through the entire scene. Obviously, the actors were dumbfounded as to why a headstone was in their living room!
Andrew Mayle: My favorite Bobcat memories have to come from The Boys Next Door--what a fun cast and director to work with! Honorable mention would have to go to the outreach shows with Patti Ross; it's wonderful to have the chance to perform with fellow board members on shows who don't typically perform. I also enjoyed very much working with Frank Meyers as stage manager of Decision Height...a monumental show. There are many more, but far too many to list!
Casey Novak: There are so many fantastic memories that I would love highlight, but I believe I can narrow it down to just three--and I promise to try to be brief. In 2014, Patti Ross reached out to me after their lead actress dropped out of Born Yesterday. I hadn't been onstage since 2012 after a bad experience with a professional company and had fears about returning, but I am so grateful that she asked me to audition. Billie Dawn was one of the most fun roles I have ever had the pleasure of playing, and it was the last show my grandmother was able to see me in. In 2017, we performed Decision Height and were incredibly fortunate to have a WASP in attendance. That inspiring experience is quite simply unforgettable. And this year, we dove headfirst into Tennessee Williams' award-winning masterpiece, A Streetcar Named Desire. I was honored to take on the role of Blanche DuBois and I'm having a terrible time letting her go. Thanks for the memories, Bobcats--you have changed me.
Patti Ross: 2010 was the year I retired from my role as a teacher and took on one of my two favorite roles onstage. I had the opportunity to play Cynthia in Harps & Harmonicas opposite one of my very best Bobcat - and forever friends - Heather Bixler. Four years later I shared the stage again with Heather in my other favorite, as we played the same woman on different ends of the age spectrum in Old Love. We were joined in this show - the ranking special in terms of audience numbers, by the way - by two other good friends. Keith Zagorski and Josh Antoon. To me, this defines community in community theatre: the privilege of working creatively toward a memorable end while making and maintaining fast friendships with some extraordinary people. My best memories revolve around that. When the lights dim and the shows end, the friends remain. Better than any sellout or standing ovation!
Beth Spence: Since I take the photos for the group, my favorite memories from the past decade revolve around meeting so many people in our wonderful shows. One of my favorite people that I met was during Decision Height in the fall of 2017. I had the opportunity to meet Florence "Shutsy" Reynolds, one of the ladies on which the show was based, when she made the trip to Beaver on the afternoon of the final show. Shutsy shared her love of the show and a few memories from her days as a pilot for the US in a time when women had not really had that opportunity. I was sad to hear that she passed away a short time later. We have lost many WWII vets, and she was a special one to meet. I think seeing that show had to bring back so many memories for her and I know it made her very happy.
Tom Dowlin: I have to agree with Beth. One of my favorite memories of the past decade took place during the closing performance of 2017's Season Special Decision Height. It was a thrilling ending to a perfect run of shows! In the audience of the Sunday matinee performance was 93 year old "Shutsy" Reynolds, a local WASP Veteran! She was announced before the play began and received a rousing standing ovation, as well as numerous requests for autographs during the intermission and immediately following the show. I had the perfect seat to watch her reactions during the play, and more than once could see her singing along with the many WASP marching songs that were featured in the show. She was as sharp as the lines of a P-51D and it was wonderful to hear the many stories she shared with the cast and crew. The Bobcat Players presented her with a framed copy of the attached graphic. It was an honor to meet her and add her autograph to my collection! So happy in the knowledge that she lived to see the day where the public understands the contributions and sacrifices of the WASP's during WWII. The daring deeds of Shutsy and her sisters with wings will echo through eternity!
Keith Zagorski: Personally, I view the last decade as a period of time where the Bobcat Players really hit their stride and went from a group that wasn’t well known locally, to one where our name spread beyond the local community. My memories are focused on 3 shows I especially hold dear to my heart, Harvey, Old Love & The Drawer Boy. They were shows in which I got the chance to play great characters and make them my own. Finally, the casts & the shows were all top notch and we got great tremendous responses/feedback from our audience.
We hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane with us! We'll be back next year with information on our 2020 season auditions. We hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season!