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Monday, May 2, 2016

CCT celebrates its 50th Anniversary

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

John Koser was the Guest Speaker at Saturday's celebration. Photo by Dan Whitney
Guests at the 50th Anniversary of the CCT enjoyed good food, good company and good entertainment as the Cherokee Community Theater celebrated 50 years Saturday night at the Cherokee Community Center. Photo by Vanessa Reusch.
A large crowd turned out at the Cherokee Community Center Saturday evening to celebrate and commemorate the Cherokee Community Theatre's first fifty years. Several former CCT performers and Board members were present to chat with one another and reminisce during a social hour, and then sat down to a great meal. Musical entertainment was provided by the members of the "Pump Boys and Dinettes," who previously performed at a CCT production a couple of years ago, and a Power Point presentation by Vanessa Reusch, highlighting past CCT productions, also ran during the meal. A DVD of this presentation was available at the event for just $5, and sold out. More copies will be made, though, so if you would like one, contact CCT's Sherry Held to place an order.

Following the meal, CCT Board member/actor/director Andrew Linn served as the emcee for the evening's program. He introduced special guest speaker John Koser, whose late parents, Don and Janet Koser, were instrumental in establishing the Cherokee Community Theatre, and keeping it going. Koser spoke of his parents' love of theater, parks and the community of Cherokee in a touching tribute.

Letter from the IRS - Left to right, Amy Sarchet, Dave Hickman, Tony Puffett, Janet Brown, David Zelle, Penny Pingrey, and Andrew Linn read a scene from "You Can't Take It With You," at Saturday night's CCT 50th Anniversary celebration. Photo by Dan Whitney
An audio tribute to CCT from Nick Halder, a former CCT performer who is currently working on an advanced degree in theater, was played for the audience, and Andrew Linn also singled out long-time CCT guiding force Sherry Held in recognition of her many years of devoted service to the CCT.

Next on the program were a series of readings and musical numbers from a dozen of the CCT's productions of the last 50 years, leading off with the CCT's very first production in 1959, Kauffman and Hart's "You Can't Take It With You." Janet Brown, Dave Hickman, Andrew Linn, Penny Pingrey, Tony Puffett, Amy Sarchet, and David Zelle came on stage to read a scene from the 1938 comedy.

Blake Burroughs then came up to treat the audience to a powerful musical performance of the title song from another former CCT production, "Oklahoma," accompanied on the piano by Sherry Held.

...not Prince, not Duke, not Earl ... Ryan Brown delighted the audience aith a reprise of his Cowardly Lion role from "The Wizard of Oz". Photo by Dan Whitney
The music continued with a number from another beloved 1950's musical which has been performed by the CCT, "My Fair Lady," as Enola Grawburg Peters sang "I Could Have Danced All Night" from the Lerner and Loewe classic.

Next up was the performance of "If I Were a Rich Man" from "Fiddler on the Roof," sung by Mark Pullen. Ahhhhh....

Jackie Schmillen then reprised her performance of "As Long As He Needs Me," from the CCT's 1995 production of "Oliver!" showing the audience that, in addition to the sparkling personality she displays on television, Jackie can also sing very well.

Not much to say Mark Pullen (left)and Ruth Hayes read a scene from "Dearly Departed." Actually, Ruth did all the reading. Photo by Dan Whitney
Janet Brown and Lisa Hunter read a scene from "Steel Magnolias" next, then Amy Sarchet brought the music back to the stage with her thrilling performance of the title song from "The Sound of Music."

One of the most memorable performances in recent CCT history was re-created, complete with his great "lionesque" make-up, by Ryan Brown, who sang the wonderful "If I Were King of the Forest" and "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" from "The Wizard of Oz."

Andrew Linn stepped away from his emcee duties to perform his delightful piece on "Ducks" from "Greater Tuna," then presented Jacquelyn Courtright, Mark Pullen, and Ruth Hayes reading a scene from a CCT play he directed, "Dearly Departed." Linn then took the stage himself, with Mollie Loughlin, to read a scene from their 2009 two-character play, "The Gin Game."

The cast of "Nunsense" made an appearance during Saturday's celebration at the CCT. Pictured, left to right, Eileen Tjeerdsma, Lisa Lindemn, Holly Ohlson, and Carolyn Wiese. Photo by Vanessa Reusch.
The cast of the delightful romp, "Nunsense" were next, and then Mollie Loughlin, CCT Board member, talked about the importance of keeping the Cherokee Community Theatre going, as a vital part of the Cherokee community.

The entire group closed the show with a rendition of "There's No Business Like Show Business."

Could there have been a more appropriate finale for the evening? I don't think so.

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