Dan & Ginny Emerson are longtime IRT supporters. Dan is also a former IRT board chair and current IRT board member. The couple were Artist Sponsors of Marcus Truschinski in this season’s Every Brilliant Thing. We asked them a few questions regarding their experience with the IRT and what makes them continue to attend and support each season.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE AT THE IRT. WHAT SHOW DID YOU SEE AND WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS AS YOU LEFT THE THEATRE? Billy Bishop Goes to War in 1982, and we were completely blown away by the quality of the production and the story. Dan was pretty well-versed in the actual history of Bishop and was captivated by the notion of making a musical based on his exploits. Our seats were in the back but we were completely drawn in and mesmerized. We wanted more!
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE IRT PRODUCTION? That is a tough question, almost impossible to answer, but we’ll give it a shot. Ginny: Possibly Around the World in 80 Days but it only out-ranks others because it was such a fun play. The set and props were incredibly creative. It may have been the first time that I really paid attention to how much talent it takes to set the scene and how much that adds to the effectiveness of the actors telling the story. Dan: There’s not enough space to mention all my favorites. I can’t think of many instances where we’ve come out of the theatre after a show without being enthusiastic. For some reason, Rob Johansen’s hilarious one-actor performance in David Hoppe’s After Paul McCartney in 2010 particularly stands out in my memory.
WHY DID YOU MAKE YOUR FIRST GIFT TO THE IRT, AND WHY DO YOU CONTINUE TO GIVE? We became convinced that IRT is a tremendous organization, and we decided to be as supportive as possible. Over the years, as our involvement has grown, our belief has been absolutely confirmed, largely because we’ve seen first-hand the IRT’s extraordinary level of talent, dedication, and professionalism. Selfishly, we also want to be able to see first rate productions as long as we are able, and we recognize that ticket sales cover only a small portion of what it takes to maintain the level of excellence.
ARE THERE DONOR BENEFITS THAT YOU ENJOY MOST AND WHY? Ginny LOVES the donor benefits and routinely takes advantage of what is offered. She has especially enjoyed the behind the scenes learning experiences as well as the next season previews. She’s always sad to see a season come to a close but then is always excited to anticipate the next season by getting a glimpse of what is to come. We both appreciate and admire Janet (IRT Executive Artistic Director), Suzanne (IRT Managing Director), and their staff more than words can express.
WHY DO YOU THINK THE IRT MATTERS TO THE CENTRAL INDIANA COMMUNITY? Music, theater, art, museums, parks, zoos, festivals (and sports)…the qualities of these community assets help determine a community’s quality of life. IRT is a pillar of downtown Indianapolis and, as such, plays a critical role in fleshing out what Indianapolis and Central Indiana really mean. Moreover, the unparalleled efforts made by IRT to reach and teach students throughout Indiana, by way of superb theatrical productions, may be the most important activity of the IRT because drama can help define a culture and provide common cultural denominators for all of us to share.
FROM THE WINGS
From the Wings is a biannual newsletter exclusively for donors to the Indiana Repertory Theatre.
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