Playhouse Merced Is A True Treasure For City Of Merced

By JOHN M. DERBY
Times Founding Publisher
August 30, 2018

The crowd of people who packed Bob Hart Square on a hot August night two weeks ago were an outstanding tribute to one of the True Treasures of the City of Merced.

Playhouse Merced, a non profit theatre group, which has survived on its own effort for 25 years, was honored by the attendance of a “Who’s Who” of the city, including the mayor and notables from every part of town.

This organization showed what can be done with shear hard work and the will to bring out the best of our community in music and drama. Each season seems to be better than the last.

In our past, growing up in New York, included traveling outside of town to attend Off Boardway shows just like those which Playhouse Merced stages season after season. If Merced were near New York, it would certainly be designed as “Off Broadway”.

Playhouse Merced is the Best of the Best that our town has to offer and it is a tribute to one of its great mentors David Zacharias who passed away this year, but not before he helped put the theater group on the map. David certainly smiled down at the turnout of support who showed up at Bob Hart Square for the annual Gala. His wefe Holly continues her active support and involvement in Playhouse activities.

The list of active supporters is far too long to be printed on this page, but people like Darrel Lingenfelter, who received the Patron Award for the 2017-2018 year, should not be missed, and R.C. Essig, the interim director, is doing an outstanding job.

Now in its 25th season, Playhouse Merced, not only serves the community as a centerpiece, its involvement with our young people is part of the gift it gives each year. Hearing the voices of these young people sing from the balony of the 5-10 Bistro building was inspiring.

The support of the community is also outstanding. Jennie Samuelson, the head of the Playhouse board, said to us that this year for the first time, the Playhouse is out of debt. Out of debt without any government handouts, that is a true accomplishment.

When we got a call from her asking for our support, all we could say is “absolutely!” She was driving her car and selling tickets to the Gala at the same time. With that kind of spirit, how can the Playhouse fail?

Once again the Playhouse Merced has a great season of theatre lined up. Once again, the Gala was an outstanding success, but the success does not stop there. Success is an all year project and goes on year after year.

We rarely get the opportunity to say how much we, the community, appreciate our little “Off Broadway” theatre. Keep up the excellent tradition for another 25 years. You are a True Treasure of Merced.


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