For a long time, I promised myself that when I was financially able, I would become an Off-Monroe Players patron, and I am happy to say that recently I did just that. I had several reasons for doing this:
I have been involved with "OMP" as a performer and director for many years now and it is an important part of my life, the source of much artistic satisfaction and many long-lasting friendships.
The operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan have been on my "cultural radar" since I was a high school student and I have never tired of them. They are a very important (and still entertaining) part of musical theater history, but fewer and fewer people seem to be aware of their work and its worth. I would like to do whatever I can to make as many people aware of them as possible, including young people interested in theater.
My initial patron contribution was specifically in memory of two longtime Off-Monroe Players members, Byron Wilmot and Bob Osgood. Their sudden passing was a shock to the group. At some point, I think they had been involved in every detail of putting on an OMP show, and their love of Gilbert and Sullivan, and their sense of community always seemed to me to represent the very best aspects of our group. I am very pleased and proud to help support OMP in their name.
I am a stay-at-home mother of two young children (ages two and one, respectively). My husband is fortunate enough to make a good enough living for us to get by on, but just barely. With the cost of daycare these days, we decided it was more feasible for our family to have me stay at home with our children, rather than work for the paycheck to simply go right back into daycare. We spend hundreds of dollars on diapers every month, and each pay period we’re stretching our last dimes to make sure we have everything we might need for our family. We haven’t seen a savings account in almost three years.
In this economy, it’s evident that money doesn’t grow on trees, and we’re a prime example of a family that has had to cut down on excessive costs in order to stay afloat.
As members of Off-Monroe Players, both my husband and I have seen what it’s like to be "behind the scenes." This group is full of fun, wacky people that know how to fully embrace diversity without judgement, and sing a few songs in the process. There are bonds created behind the curtain of the stage – a family born each season, with new members being welcomed home.
An OMP show is a rarity: It is free of charge to the audience. However, the money to support this goal of open access to the theater does cost money. We are OMP patrons, not because it looks good on tax returns, and certainly not because we have the extra money floating around in our wallets. We give because we want our children to grow up hearing and singing the songs of Arthur Sullivan, and reciting the witty banter of W.S. Gilbert. We give because we believe in exactly what Off-Monroe Players stands for; that every person, young and old, rich or destitute, should be allowed access to the theater, without having to worry about the price of the ticket. We feel that giving what we can to Off-Monroe Players is giving back to our friends and family. Support like this allows families to survive.
Very few things in life are free anymore, but a show from Off-Monroe Players still is, and the only reason they can still afford that luxury is because of donations given by patrons that believe in this group.
I am a patron. I am a believer.
I give because I know for sure that my money is going directly to the community. The community can participate in any of our shows or they can see them at no cost. I am pleased to be able to directly support the sharing of music to any and all who would have it.
My family and I are patrons of OMP because OMP is our family. After college I moved home and wanted to get involved in something in the Rochester theater community. The first show I saw was Pirates of Penzance and everyone seemed to be having so much fun that I wanted to be a part of it. During my first production (Ruddigore) I met my now best friend and then a year later met my husband through her. The inclusiveness and openness of OMP is unmatched by any theater or community organization I've ever been a part of. Money and time are always short in our lives right now but OMP is worth much more than we could ever give but we give what we can when we can.
I decided to become a patron because the Off Monroe Players gave me a safe place to re-ignite my interest in musical theater. OMP has also given me the opportunity to make friends and establish relationships that will last the rest of my life. Quite simply, OMP is my home and I want to support that in any way I can.
We give to OMP because we love to play with our friends. When you go out with a group of friends to see a movie, you don’t expect your friends to pay for your ticket. Well, when OMP gets together to do what we love to do – Gilbert & Sullivan – there may not be dues or an admission fee, but it costs money. And we who love to act and sing and dance in these charming and funny shows get so much out of it. Each show gives us at least three months of rehearsals to play with our friends, plus the thrill of performing before appreciative audiences. Giving a few dollars to help make it possible is a satisfying way to support our friends and what we love to do together.
I'm a patron because of how much fun the group is. It's fun to do a show, and it's fun to see a show, and I want that fun to continue to be available to everyone.
I first joined OMP in 1981 and had the pleasure of working with OMP Founder Esther Vail. Esther said two things to me early on in the rehearsals that I will never forget so I pass them on as wisdom to other OMPers, on stage or off.
It's about having fun, and if we have a good show too...all the better!
God watches out for Off Monroe.
Two things that mean a lot to me and are part of the charm shall we say of OMP.
The esprit de corps that happens on stage and off means much to the cast and to the audience. That energy makes for great theatre, which OMP has consistently provided over the years. As for the provisions from the omnipotent, I believe that the energy and love for each other, the audience and Gilbert and Sullivan has kept OMP going and going and will keep on going. It may be cliché to "pay it forward" but I want future OMPers to have all the fun and joy that I have experienced.
A little story for the cause. When OMP was on the brink back in 1985 and we weren't sure if we could put on a show because we didn't have enough cast. Jimmie B Lobaugh showed up to play the Lord Chancellor. If we didn't have Pat Alexander to ask her friend Jimmie to stop by, we may not have kept on. Very often we do some little thing and it moves us forward, a new cast member, a donation from a patron, a mention in the press all of these little things add up. For the rest of my life I will never forget entering the sanctuary at New Life, OMP's home at the time, and seeing Jimmie B in silhouette a la Hitchcock. It's having a Jimmie B, a Devon, an Al, an Esther, a Patti; everyone makes a difference and time, talent and treasure all come together for Off Monroe!
Here's to another 40 years!
— Brian Smith
The simple reason that we are patrons is that OMP has provided us with so much. We have the opportunity to sing, dance, act, be silly, and be with friends. This is priceless and well worth any patron level. OMP has also been a major part of our kids’ childhood. Both Dan and Stephanie will attest to the hours spent at OMP as audience members, house helpers, production staff, and finally on stage. Some of you may remember Dan working the lighting board or Stephanie helgrid-itemg people learn dance steps. What other group can you get your whole family involved in? You also never know who you will meet during rehearsals, a run of the show or grid-item at a cast party. How many OMP couples are there........including Dan and his wife Becca, who met during Hot Mikado as teenagers. By becoming patrons, we support what we enjoy doing and who we enjoy being with.