The Online Journal for Center Stage Playhouse
Whenever someone discusses the history of Center Stage I can’t help reflecting on the idea that I’ve been connected to this group for more than ¾ of its life. No matter what was happening in my life, Center Stage was a constant. It provided family, gave me an education, helped shape my opinions, informed my career choices, and provided an atmosphere that connected me to people who have been very important in my life — some to whom I still remain connected — and some not.
To the chagrin of those much younger, those of us “of a certain age” like to reminisce about the early days when we bonded (though we wouldn’t have described it as such) around the most tedious activities. We were young, unattached (for the most part), lived in the neighborhood and never looked outside our community for another participatory theater experience.
Times have changed. Single people became couples. Folks left the neighborhood. Economics forced people to focus on their jobs leading to less free time. And finally we all became acutely aware of a bigger world and folks began to look outside the circle for new theatrical experiences.
Center Stage has flourished through the changes and the many different configurations of the board and membership, each group leaving a legacy of some wonderful shows.
Now we’re looking at the possibility of a major change in the way Center Stage operates — and that’s OK.
I probably have a different perspective than most current and former members — I spent the better part of twenty-five years doing what I could to preserve and nurture the cultural ecology of the Bronx. I’ve watched many Bronx organizations go under and it’s almost always sad for the borough. One of the other things I’ve seen in that time is that arts groups go through cycles. Sometimes they reinvent themselves after a downward cycle and they come out with a different focus. It’s neither better nor worse, but simply reflects the prevailing conditions and the way a new group of individuals approach the organization’s mission.
There’s a lot of work to be done, but while there’s still people willing to roll up their sleeves and work, the group has a chance to go on.