Dan McMahon, right, and Joe Rhodes
Admit it , we are all thinking about “no snow” and as such, thoughts turn to June, a season of sun, summer and of course, weddings.
And in the wedding category, June 2014 will include one starring a well-known Goodspeed theater staffer and his partner, an equally well-known shoreline realtor/broker.
Dan McMahon, marketing and public affairs director at the East Haddam theater is marrying Joe Rhodes III on June 6.
“Isn’t love great,” said a happy McMahon who reports the wedding will include friends and family from as far away as Hawaii and Florida, as well as a welcome “invasion” of McMahons from his native Chicago.
The ceremony and reception will be at the Great Neck Country Club in Waterford.
And doing the “I do” honors?
Longtime Goodspeed executive director Michael Price will take center stage and officiate at the nuptials.
Price, who retires from the theater this year, is not a justice of the peace, but McMahon said his boss has assured him he will have the proper credentials to make it all legal by the time the wedding rolls around.
“We can’t wait to celebrate our wedding with our family and friends, ” said McMahon. “We wish everyone could be as happy as we are.”
It was a trip down memory lane at the Goodspeed Friday and we aren’t just talking about the season opener” Good News” a 1927 Jerome Kern musical based on a book by Laurence Schwab and B.G. DeSylva.
It was a special season opening night, the one marking the start of the 50th anniversary of the East Haddam theater and it was done with style and lots of good stories about the “old” days.
Special guest for the evening was Ann Pretzat, and if anyone should know about the start of the Goodspeed, it is she. She was in its very first production in 1963, “Oh Lady, Lady.” “I was doing some singing and small things in New York City and was thrilled to get the call to be in the show here,” said the now 83-year-old who attended with Goodspeed supporter, Edward Cape. Pretzat recalled the production marked a return for famed dancer-turned-choreographer Paul Draper, whose career was sullied after he was accused of being a Communist and included on the Sen. Joe McCarthy’s infamous list of alleged Communist-sympathizers.
“Michael Price was a gofer at the theater then,” she said smiling as the now executive director stopped to chat. “That was before I was fired,” he said,” referring to a five –year “sabbatical” he took before taking over the reins at the landmark riverside theater.
Price made an unusual pre-curtain speech to the opening night crowd, lauding the people and shows that contributed to the success of the theater, and reading a 1963 telegram that called the theater opening “an occasion which should be hailed by all.” It was from then president, John F. Kennedy.
Also reminiscing about his decades at the theater was facilities manager Ed Blaschik, who started his career as an usher in 1972 and never looked back. “I was just looking for a high school job when I started here,” he said. “And then I just liked it here and stayed.”