This non –for- profit charitable fellowship,
open to all religious affiliations and theatre
professionals, claims Basil Rathbone, Tallulah Bankhead,
Peggy Wood, Joan Fontaine, Rex Harrison, Charlton Heston
and Sam Waterson etc. as past officers or on council.
Elowyn Castle, the Guild’s current President is aided by
V.P. Peter Von Berg. The executive director is Karen
One of its numerous past programs, a benefit
for actors in need, continues to this day.
Ken Starrett, North American Director of the
Noel Coward Society, joined the Guild’s Ms.
Lehman, Ms. Castle and staff in presenting the Spring Event
Series, with Elizabeth Parrish (Betsy) and Alice Evans,
Two Broadway Divas Celebrating Life and Love with
musical director icon Paul Trueblood in a stellar musical
evening, directed by Annette Jolles.
Betsy Parrish was featured in Broadway hits
La Cage Au Folles and Deathtrap;
Off-Broadway’s Little Mary Sunshine and
Riverwind; Summer and regional leads including
The Yale Repertory where she was associate professor
and a fellow of Davenport College. Meryl Streep said in
interviews what she learned from Betsy at Yale. Her New York
Cabarets she creates and performs while being the Master
Teacher at the Stella Adler Conservatory.
Alice Evans blossomed in 10 Broadway shows
that included Man of La Mancha, How to Succeed in
Business and Sweet Charity. This
student of Julliard co- starred with Howard Keel in I
Do, I Do, and received The Buffalo Courier Express
Performance Award for Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well
plus a nominated Best
Actress, Connecticut, Critics Circle Award for
Suddenly Hope, at the Rich Forum in Stamford.
They compliment each other, with Paul
Trueblood’s strong supportive, music direction that groomed performers like Sally Ann Howes,
Anne Francine, Matthew Broderick, Judy Kaye, Karen Akers,
Nancy Dussault, Opera star Youngok Shin, Etc. and two
Carnegie Recital Hall programs with Michael Feinstein, His
list goes on.
What pros! These three are still here, doing
what they do, even better, under Annette Jolles direction.
Annette Jolles received an Emmy for the TV
9/11 Memorial from Ground Zero plus six past Emmy
nominations. Symphony Spaces’
Wall to Wall Sondheim is one of her diverse body of
works that includes writer, director, producer, and
choreographer. She teaches at Yale, The Jerusalem
Syndrome and Wallenberg are two of her
many upcoming projects.
In this musical presentation, songs we know,
we hear for the first time, but, now, their
words tell stories so filled with new meaning, wit, and
nuance they awaken the universal plight of love, pain, and
joy in the audience. Like magnets; they bring to surface our
re-calls. We laugh. We cry, then applaud with the sold-out
house of creative souls erupting into a standing ovation.
A party followed in the Guild room that
looks like a cragged Anglo, neo-gothic style, attic. Ceiling
beams are criss-crossed wooden pliers above a plush red rug.
Cheese and wine flowed through the spirited chatter of
guests that included: hand therapist, Wendy Burnett,
City Planner Dorothy Senerchia, Sally Darling, Letty Ferrer,
performer (in footsteps of her parents Uta Hagen and Jose
Ferrer); Gonzalo Beltram, Sharon Gans Horn; critic,
playwright, Joel Benjamin, Elizabeth Hepburn, Nicholas
Pavlik, Diane Finley, agent,
Barbara Andreodis, etc.
What is here…holds what was. Party goers
circle hung theatrical treasures: A framed White House
letter from President Bill Clinton
honoring actors and the
Guild, next to Governor Pataki’s; Rosa Ponselle’s (ruffled
like Carmen) signed photo near Margaret
(witch in The Wizard Of Oz)
antique cabinet, holding two retired, rhinestone crowns of
stage royalty, remembering “when” to a red
satin slipper. Shakespearian, photos brown with age and faded
importance, face tarnished baby angel props. Across the
The Garrick Theatre 1896 flyer of William
Gillett’s Secret Service leans towards the
Annie and The Fantasticks posters.
Every inch has a story.
What a room to see these theatrical gifted
souls, fill their cup to the brim, in a show that must
I felt pride in being in the arts, in this milieu.
What a long way from 1870 when the most
famous actor of his time, Joseph Jefferson, know for his
Rip Van Winkle, asked a NYC
church rector to do
funeral services for actor George Holland when actors were
among the social outcasts. “An Actor! We don’t do
to the little church around the corner” the rector snapped.
His reply evoked such indignation from Mark Twain writing in
press; it gave the Church of the Transfiguration
its nickname, the Little Church Around the Corner
and thus began its sanctuary-
oasis for theatre artists. “God Bless the Little Church Around the
Corner,” Joseph Jefferson said. I agree!