One less hat for Stage Right’s go-to guy Bill Ivins
Bill Ivins’ decision to step down as president of Stage Right Performing Arts and Education isn’t the farewell that might play out through dramatic dialogue in one of his scripts.
In reality, the resignation means he’s only going to wear one less hat.
The 14-year administrator of the all-volunteer acting troupe — a self-described control freak — can’t stray too far from the action. Ivins will remain artistic director and interim executive director. He’ll produce and direct shows.
“I may even have time to audition for some of our upcoming shows,” Ivins said.
The musician, illustrator and graphic designer from Indiana Township said now is the perfect time to alleviate a title from his name because of an amazing group of actors that comprise Stage Right.
Veteran Joe Eberle was voted to take the helm and began his stint as president with the group’s recent valentine-themed run, “Love at The Oaks.”
Eberle and others joked that Ivins doesn’t have a choice but to stay on board.
“He is the face of Stage Right,” Eberle said. “He loves working in the theater and his enjoyment is contagious.”
Nicknamed the “benevolent dictator,” Ivins has long been counted on to decide what’s best for the group, Eberle said.
“It is a term we embrace and encourage because without that authority, things just wouldn’t get done.”
Ivins conceded that the heavy load spurred his resignation. It was time to step back and divide the tasks more equitably among the board members, Ivins said.
“There is a lot that goes on behind-the-scenes to make theater happen, but we believe that organizations like Stage Right are yet another reason this is such a great place to live,” he said.
Longtime actor Deb Wein said local community theater wouldn’t exist today if not for Ivins’ countless hours behind the curtains.
“The tasks of directing, producing, advertising, designing, building, painting, tearing down, hauling and negotiating are among probably many more that I can’t think of,” Wein said. “His ongoing enthusiasm is unbelievable.”
In the past 14 years, Ivins performed in nine shows, directed 14, and designed, built sets and produced another 35. He created 38 show programs, managed the box office for two years and built and maintained the website for 13 years.
“But who’s counting?” Ivins asked.
The workload won’t keep him at bay. He’s already eager for the 2018 season which includes the British comedy “Perfect Wedding” in May at The Oaks, and, a Young Artists summer production of “Once Upon a Mattress” at the Aspinwall Riverfront Park in August.
Dates will be released this spring.
Eberle credits Ivins for creating a supportive atmosphere for the cast and crew.
“I’ve had some of the best times of my life working on shows he’s directed,” Eberle said. ”(He’s) one those people that just makes you feel good when they’re around.”
Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, email@example.com or @tawnyatrib.