Love Letter to Jack Coyne

You were an obese man round, florid face with elfin eyes few teeth and fewer hairs on your head

You were not notable you were no ones idea of a leading man film idol Broadway star

But you could make them laugh with a raised brow a look of wonder a lengthy sigh.

You would stand upstage beneath the spot and all eyes were on you and stayed on you, Jack Coyne.

You left Christmas Day

After the gifts were opened

And the love was given

You left the stage and the spotlight and the laughter behind

But not me, you didn’t leave me.

You never left me because now I stand upstage beneath the light and raise a brow and they laugh.

 We still make them laugh.

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Click any photo below to see more pictures.

 

Susanna Hiltmann Rich was born in Wiesbaden, Germany on December 25, 1928. She died on June 20, 2018 in Neotsu, Oregon, at the age of 89.

The year Susanna was born the Rhine River was frozen over and her parents walked across the river to take her home. When Susanna was 16 she met an American GI and married him two years later. In 1946 Susanna followed her husband to America with her first son and settled in Albany, Georgia. They had two more children. Shortly after moving to American, Susanna was able to move her parents from Germany as well.

“I was always-over kind of person; you do what has to be done. Accept what there is and do the best that you can.”

After Susanna’s first husband passed away she remarried, however that marriage did not last and she divorced her second husband. She met her third husband, Ted, at a square-dance in Lebanon, Oregon. They had a square-dance wedding in 2000 and shortly thereafter they bought a house and moved to Neotsu, where she lived until her death.

Susanna held many interesting jobs throughout her adult life, the most interesting of which was four years as a hospital controller in Saudi Arabia.

Susanna was long drawn to the stage as she started her acting career at three years of age and became a ballet dancer by six.

She and Ted were in a number of musicals at the Performing Arts Center in Newport, Oregon. They then became involved with Theatre West of Lincoln City in 2001. Susanna’s many credits at Theatre West include Boeing, Boeing;  Nana’s Naughty Knickers; The Whales of August;  Love, Loss and What I Wore and The Trouble with Summer People.

Susanna is survived by her husband, Ted, her children Butch, Ann, and Johnny who live in Georgia, and her stepchildren Teddy, Melinda, Eric, Penny and many grandchildren.

There will be a Celebration of Susanna’s on Sunday, July 15th at 2:00.  

 

Stina Seeger-Gibson was born on Oct. 7, 1952 and she died on March 21, 2018. She was born in Eugene, Oregon to Hartley Seeger and Rena White and was the oldest of five siblings. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and attended Los Gatos High school and San Jose State University, completing a degree in acting/directing with a minor in Women’s Studies.

Stina was a beloved wife, daughter, sister, foster mother, aunt, cousin and friend. She was a vibrant soul who brought life into a room. She was a talented actress and director who brought laughter to the stage. She began her acting career in high school as the White Queen in Alice in Wonderland. She later worked with a Shakespearian company in Los Gatos, taught children’s workshops and ran a vaudevillian/melodrama theater in San Jose. While acting at the Old Opera House, she met the love of her life, Dennis Gibson. Dennis ran the lights and sound and together they brought the house down at Big Lil’s Cabaret. Dennis and Stina were married in 1992 and they moved to Lincoln City, OR in 1994. They became involved in Theatre West that same year and became close friends with Jack Coyne, the artistic director of Theatre West.

Stina directed more than thirty plays and acted in more than fifteen plays. She was Artistic Director at Theatre West and the president of the Board of Directors. She was involved in many city wide events, including the Pixieland Celebration and Lincoln City’s 50th Birthday Parade. She was the manager of The Book End for 5 years; she and Dennis opened up the Serendipity Tea Shop in Lincoln City and has been the secretary at St. James/Santiago Episcopal Church for 7 1/2 years. She enjoyed the many children who she met through St. James/Santiago Church School. Stina was known by her class and by sassy wit. Stina lost her husband, Dennis, in January of 2017. She is survived by her brothers, Eric and Pete, and her sister, K.C.


Dennis Frank Gibson

7/4/1946 - 1/20/2017

He was the treasurer at Theatre West. He designed the posters and sets for many years. He did so many things for the theatre. He was a lover of Jazz and had a radio program to prove it. He also taught a class on jazz at the community college in 2015. He will surely be missed.






Melva Rondeau Love passed away on Friday June 19th, 2015.

Melva has been in many plays at Theatre West over the years and was a member of the original gypsy troop. She was in Ten Times Table, The Octette Bridge Club, Who’s In Bed With the Butler, Murdered to Death, Murder is a Game and many more. Melva has been the theatre’s historian, keeping scrapbooks about the plays for over 30 years. She loved miniatures and collected little turtles. She often would make ornaments for each cast member, a keepsake for the character they were playing. Melva was in the Marines and later worked in the Post Office until she retired. She had two children.  She was charming and sweet and a great friend. She will be missed.




Dan Roberson passed away January 16, 2015

Pirate. Magician. Santa Claus. A man of many talents. What does that mean to you? He meant many things to many people. He had many circles of friends... a few overlapped. But he was a ray of sunshine and never ending smiles to all.

To the pirates, he was “Dagger Dan, the DragonHearted”... he was the “Bard”; he always loved to tell a grand tale. At the Treasure Hunts, he would tell the tale, spin the mystery, and pose it to the pirates to solve.

Magician. “Dan the Magic Man”. It was always a pleasure to watch him pull a rabbit out of a hat, as it were.... One night he actually pulled me out of nowhere... it was interesting being one of his props, and to see a show from behind the scenes.

The biggest Elf of all, Santa Claus, he brought happiness to so many people, from the youngest to the oldest, it was really his time to shine. Storyteller, gift-giver, cheer spreader. I only really had one opportunity to watch him as Santa, but when he was brought out to the crowd, I could just feel the happiness of Christmas spread throughout the room. It was... Magic.

But Dan’s first love, was always the Theatre. He spent so much time at Theatre West, it was his 2nd home. I had the good fortune to see him perform in many plays, and I saw a great actor. He was a French/English Con man, a Radio Announcer, a Russian Immigrant, and an Italian Patriarch. An Actor, a Prop Master, a Stage Manager... I saw him working his way up to Director, but made it as far as Assistant Director. He loved every aspect of the Theatre, and I think happiest when he was involved. With all of these things that he was, all of the wonderful things he was done, we all must remember him and honor him. By keeping his memories in all of us, alive, we will honor him. His light will still shine on us. His love will still pour out upon us. His spirit will guide us in our ventures. He will look down upon us, from the front row in Heaven -- and protect us.

Let’s all raise a Tankard -- Here’s to you, Dan -- Huzzah!

by -- Jack Sparrow.


Cindy Wesolowski passed away Oct. 4, 2013.

Cindy had been involved with Theatre West since 2008, when she was in Who’s In Bed With the Butler. She went on to act in Bleacher Bums, The Murder Room, Chapter Two, Blithe Spirit, Murdered to Death, Skin Deep, Opal’s Million Dollar Duck, The Supporting Cast, and The Pearl. Cindy was the director for Over the River and Through the Woods, Saving Grace, and Rose’s Dilemma. She worked lights and sound, designed the sets and helped with costumes on many other plays. In other words she devoted herself to Theatre West for a number of years. She was a talented actor and director and a good friend. She will be sorely missed.




Jane E. Kleinman died peacefully at home Jan. 13, 2013, in Lincoln City from cancer.

She was born July 15, 1947, in Shaker Heights, OH, to Helen and Manuel Kleinman. Jane taught Theatre Arts for 30 years at Ransom Everglades in Coconut Grove, FL. She was a member of the Lincoln City Kiwanis Club for many years. She enjoyed home decorating, theatre, needlepoint, singing, and going to movies. Jane was seen on Lincoln County stages in Theatre West and Porthole Players productions. In her 30-year career as a teacher of Theatre Arts, Jane helped many students develop their interests and talents, with many becoming professional actors. Jane was an extremely gifted actress, singer, director, set designer and mentor. Her role as Aldonza in Porthole Players’ 1999 production of “Man of La Mancha” was one of the greatest highlights of her career. She loved animals. After retiring from teaching and moving to the Oregon coast, Jane recognized a need for in-home pet care and doggie day care. In 2003, she pioneered the first doggie day care in Lincoln City and successfully ran that business until December 2012. Jane is survived by her brothers, Bob Kleinman (Leslie) and Jimmy Kleinman (Lynn) and four nieces and nephews. Her parents preceded her in death. Memorial contributions to the American Cancer Society and the National ASPCA are suggested.


Marj Nylund 1934 - 2012

The curtain came down on the life of beloved Theatre West actor and director, Marj Nylund on Sunday, September 9, 2012.  She will be sorely missed. Marj’s last performance was in “Moon Over Buffalo” by Ken Ludwig. She last directed Opal’s Million Dollar Duck” by John Patrick. Marj had hoped to be cast in “The Whales of August” by David Berry as the blind, older sister, but was unable to audition due to her health.



Of Marj & Magic by Matt Blakeman

For me, the best part of playing on stage is the element that makes theatre so distinctly human. I can't say it happens every time, quite the contrary. It happens only occasionally and, when it happens, it is fleeting.  Every now and then, though, there is an intoxicating moment. Like an improbable, wavering and iridescent bubble; a tentative & fragile moment of magic.

With my friend Marj Nylund passing this week, I wondered about the moments she might have had. She and I were in several productions at Theatre West and I always enjoyed the times we worked together. Marj was a serious and dedicated player. Whether she was directing a show (she must have done that a dozen times), playing the lead, or a making the most of a bit part, Marj was a consummate professional. She prided herself in always knowing her lines (verbatim, of course) and always made clear that her standards were high and unyielding. When you needed someone to deliver a solid, unwavering performance, Ms. Nylund was your gal.

Two of Marj's many roles stand out as favorites for me. In the late 90's she played the elegant widow of an English diplomat in Alan Bennet's absurd comedy "Habeas Corpus". She was so beautiful and polished in the role that I can still picture her character's slightly haughty manner and hear her perfectly measured diction. The illusion was the ideal juxtaposition to a character whose name was Lady Rumpers and who, as the play unfolds, the audience discovers is a woman with a past. Marj's light and poised performance gave the piece all the wit and irony it deserved. I will always see her standing in the stage light, a vision of thoroughly coiffed, softly chiffoned, English bourgeois pretentiousness. To use a phrase that might make Lady Rumpers gasp: She nailed it!

I also have a soft spot for Marj's portrayal of Ethel Thayer in the modern classic "On Golden Pond" by Ernest Thompson. As always, Marj mastered the mechanics of the part quickly and played Ethel with a tender mixture of stoicism, nostalgia and largely unacknowledged fear.   "Ethel" was for Marj that rare gift that comes to most players only once or twice: the perfect part at the perfect time. An opportunity to use one's own experience to cull, confine and attempt to reveal that transcendent moment. How resonant Ethel's words seemed conveyed through Marj's purposeful and prepared choices. The great thing about theatre is that it cannot happen without collaboration.  Even when an author performs a single character play it has at least three souls: the player, the character and the audience.   In an endeavor that manifestly requires collaboration, it is not surprising that magic can occur.   Then again, neither is it surprising that  it so rarely does.  Marj was always game to play her part and let the moments happen where they may.

 

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