Theater Enhancements Made Possible by the Generosity of Two Families

A beautiful, royal blue curtain, in keeping with the colors of the state of Israel, now adorns the Harold Eisenstein Stage, thanks to a donation by former JCC Board President Ruth Ann Blank and her husband, Ron. The curtain system was made possible thru the William & Sally Glick Fund of the Columbus Jewish Foundation. This gift was made in memory of Ruth Ann’s parents, long-time supporters of the JCC and Gallery Players, along with the Columbus Jewish Foundation.

Blank fondly remembers her time on the Gallery Players’ stage, which made her want to contribute in such a way. “When I was 11 years old, Joyce Friedman and I were in a [Gallery Players] production of Alice in Wonderland. Everyone couldn’t have a part, so they made Joyce and I dress up as ‘pages,’ and we would pretend to pull the curtain open and closed between acts. [So] I have a fondness for curtains. It was the best of my acting on stage,” she said.

The contributions of two dedicated Gallery Players Committee members, Pam and Ira Scheer, provided a state-of-the-art wireless headset communication system. As long-time volunteers and former Gallery Players crew members, the Scheers wanted to provide a modernized system that would allow for more efficient communication between crew members during productions such as Bad Jews.

“We’ve probably spent more time backstage doing technical work than anything else. There’s a little meaning there,” said Ira Scheer. “We wanted to do something for Gallery Players specifically, and we knew there were some physical needs.” After spending more than three decades working on Gallery Players productions, first meeting in the control booth of the former building and later getting married in the first wedding to be held in the new building in 1983, the Scheers truly understand the importance of having modern equipment for the stage crew.

“It’s just great to have the flexibility now. We’ve both been stage managers a lot. And we know the seconds you shave off a scene change by not having to dash off stage to grab a headset…those little seconds make a big difference. It’s a little thing, but… that makes me happy,” said Pam Scheer.

It was also especially meaningful when the Scheers noticed that the headsets had the initials ‘HME’ written on the side. These were the initials of longtime Gallery Players director Harold Eisenstein. “[Harold] was very important to us. We had a very close relationship with him,” explained Ira, while Pam added that it was Harold who walked her down the aisle on their wedding. Out of sheer coincidence, the company that manufactured the headsets is called “HME.” “This was totally unplanned, but really cool,” the Scheers pointed out.

“Both contributions will create a more immersive feeling for audiences and a better performance experience for everyone,” said Jared Saltman, Gallery Players Managing and Artistic Director. “These wonderful contributions will greatly enhance the functionality and the aesthetic beauty of the theater,” added Joan Fishel, Gallery Players Committee Chair.