On Sunday January 21st, 2018 the GLT Board of Directors hosted a celebration for Allen and Suzanne McCalla in honor of their 25 seasons with Greenville Little Theatre. The event was attended by an array of guests including family, friends, patrons, sponsors of GLT, and prominent members of the community.
The evening kicked off with delicious hors d’oeuvres from Saffron’s in memory of Glenn Sawicki, cocktails, and guests catching up in the lobby. Live music was provided by Stringed Keys creating a lovely atmosphere. TALK Greenville and Town Magazine made rounds conversing with guests and taking pictures of those in attendance. To officially kick off the evening Suzanne Miller, the Chair of the Board for 2017 welcomed everyone to the celebration and toasted Allen and Suzanne McCalla and their amazing 25 years.
The celebration was then moved into the Mainstage auditorium where the stage contained a large screen and a beautiful starry backdrop. The Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Jeremiah Dew who immediately had the audience in the palm of his hand as he set the tone for the evening with his witty jokes and sweet memories.
The show kicked off with personal videos submitted by many who have been impacted by the McCalla's work in Greenville over the years, sharing their stories and reflections from days gone by at GLT. These were then followed by a slideshow of production photos from the past 25 seasons causing cheers and reminiscent words to erupt from the audience. Next up was a surprise medley of Guys and Dolls, the very first show of Allen and Suzanne's first season in 1993. The performers included GLT favorites old and new- Todd Weir, John Brigham, Kristi Parker Byers, Janie Dillard, Greg Ellenburg, Katie Rockwell, Meg Foster, Victoria Adams, Rick Connor, Mary Freeman, Tim St. Clair II, Latreshia Lilly, Jamie Ann Walters, Craig Smith, Beth Martin, Sterling Street, Chelsea Street, and Jerry Witty. Special thanks to Mary Freeman for coordinating the performance and Tim St. Clair II for his direction and choreography.
Next up, the audience was able to hear heartwarming and hilarious words from Sydney Timmons Taylor, Tracy Hardaway, John Redmond, who was in charge of the search committee that hired Allen and Suzanne, Ryan Bradburn, and Jerry Dempsey. Mr. Dempsey also announced a generous donation of $150,000 to the GLT Endowment Fund from the Harriet and Jerry Dempsey Family Foundation.
There was also a video from Mayor Knox White declaring January 21st, 2018 as Allen and Suzanne McCalla Day in Greenville. The guests of honor joined Suzanne Miller on stage who on behalf of The Board of Directors at GLT gifted Allen and Suzanne with a plaque stating January 21st 2018 as their day in Greenville, a getaway trip for the two of them to Highlands, and a scrapbook of written memories by the attendees of the celebration.
Allen McCalla then took the stage to thank everyone and recount his and Suzanne's journey to GLT 25 years ago. He spoke of hearing about the job opportunity through friends who had come to support him in a production, the challenges and triumphs they faced in those first couple years, and described the experience of raising their son Sam at the theatre. Allen then went on to announce the upcoming 2018-19 season for Greenville Little Theatre. After he was finished Jeremiah Dew came back onstage to speak about how far GLT has come and to speak personally to the profound impact live theatre has had on his life and now his daughter's life. He brought her to her very first GLT production, Frosty this past December, 2017. He then proceeded to bring the the presentation part of the evening to a close.
Guests headed back into the lobby to mingle and continue to eat and drink as Karaoke was being set up on the stage by Wanda Werks. As the evening grew late, some said their goodbyes and retired while others danced and sang the night away. Memorable performances include the boys of GLT singing "Friends in Low Places" , the group grooving out to the cupid shuffle, and Allen dedicating a song to Suzanne.
We truly had a blast and could not have put on such a memorable celebration without the generosity of so many important people. Thank you to all who were a part of such a special night and congratulations to Allen and Suzanne McCalla! Cheers to 25 years!
©Escobar Photography 2018