Dr. Bruce Scranton and David Ross hatched the idea for a local theatre one summer evening in 1965. It had been discussed before by some of the founders of TCT, but it took Bruce and Dave to get things going. The first meeting drew an attendance of 65 interested people. The second meeting was at Hobart Technical Center, which became the initial home of the theatre. Bruce Scranton was the first board president and “You Can’t Take It With You” was TCT’s the first show.
The theatre was fortunate to have had a home at Hobart Tech Center. The Hobart Brothers company helped give the theatre a good start. Most shows were presented in the Tech Center from 1965 until 1973. By the 1974-75 Season, Troy Civic Theater moved from the Tech Center to its present location in Troy Community Park. The Barn was originally the Waco assembly plant on Staunton Road, where the present football stadium is located, until it was moved to the Park. Shows had been done the season before in a sort of open-air, unfinished version of the barn, but TCT’s official opening at the new location was 1974’s repeat performance of “You Can’t Take it With You”. This move changed many things: There was no grand drape, the theatre went from a proscenium stage to a three-quarter (thrust) stage, and from a house that seated 300 to an audience of 120-130.
At the beginning of the Second Decade The Rainmaker was outstanding. Audiences took great pleasure in The Fiddler on the Roof and a great show about a mysterious lady named Anastasia. At the end of the second decade there was ‘Annie’ the musical. There were loads of costumes, especially a 1920’s beaded dress that was a fast change behind the curtain.
One of the highlights of the Third Decade was Gypsy, which is memorable not only for a multitude of set changes, but also for truly great music, by Steven Sondheim and Jules Stern. The decade also saw Man of LaMancha (1987), which was staged in the round, and Sly Fox (1990). Dr. Richard Burk as the court clerk in Sly Fox was inspired – he won an award for excellence in acting from the Ohio Community Theatre Association (OCTA). TCT has been a member of OCTA for many decades.
In the summer of ’91, the theatre took on Shakespeare’s “A MIdsummer Night’s Dream”, with loads of colorful costumes and a traditional set in the court yard at Hayner. What a great success! Cap Ross and Larry Rich translated “The Visit” from the original German for the 1991-92 season. For her part in the show Cap received an award for excellence in acting at OCTA regional. Another production was the outstanding original musical “The Sky’s the Limit”, about the Wright Brothers. It was written by Tom Wissen, a professor. at Wright State University.
As TCT entered the Forth Decade, they tried various marketing techniques: Floats in parades, Melodrama’s during Strawberry Festival, and Christmas programs for the community as well as their rep theatre productions. The program book took on a different look with advertisers and corporate sponsors starting to support
individual productions. Workshops were held for actors and crew members, directors, producers, and stage managers. The theatre doors were opened for other
groups for their shows such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in 2005 to support Partners in Hope and in 2008 “Love Letters” for the Miami County Abuse Center.
When the Fifth Decade began, “The Barn in the Park” had a new look. With
the assistance of the City of Troy and Grant funds, as well as support from loyal
patrons, the porch was enclosed to make a new lobby, and the city built public restrooms for audiences. Comfortable seating with new risers was added, along with new back sound panels to enhance the atmosphere in the Paul G.Duke auditorium. A few years later, a permanent raised stage area for better viewing of the productions was built. The theatre continues to be improved, such as updated light and sound systems, and renovating the behind the stage areas.
To celebrate the new century, the theatre brought new and different types of productions to the stage, such as The Vast Difference, Fright Night, Clue, the Musical, and The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged, along with some old favorites like Wait Until Dark, Steel Magnolias, Little Shop of Horrors, and You Can’t Take It with You for a third time. TCT’s vast collection of costumes and props were moved to a storage area called “The Gerri Nichols Annex”. Now the real work begins – doing the inventory!
During the Sixth Decade, TCT Seasons have had a variety of veteran actors as well as new faces for our stage. We finished a Broadway-inspired season with the hit Neil Simon comedy, The Odd Couple, with a cast including many TCT favorites on stage and also some premier performances from Mike Beamish, Bob Beavis and Chuck Fox, who reprised the role his father, Jerry Fox played in the production in 1968. For the 2008-2009 season a fourth production was added to the season, with the Rep Theatre producing “Christmas Quilt”, a collection of short stories and holiday music.
Audiences love comedies, with a little drama added in, but had been missing musicals, so musicals came back: “The 25th Annual Putnam Co. Spelling Bee” in 2012, followed by “Annie”, “Nuncrackers” and “Oliver” in subsequent years.
In 2013, audiences were treated to a magnificent production of Angel Street directed by Mike Rousculp.. The production closed with nearly sold out performances and received numerous awards from OCTA. The cast was invited to present an excerpt at the OCTA State Conference that year, and moved on to represent Ohio at the AACT (American Association of Community Theatre) Region 3 competition in Michigan.
Over the past several years, TCT productions have received OCTA awards of merit and excellence for acting, set design, props, lobby display, and performance. The theatre has also been granted numerous awards from the regional community theatre organization, DayTony, including awards for costumes, sound design, hair/makeup, set painting and design, ensemble, direction, performance, and a special award for the live band during the Jonathan Larson musical, tic, tic…BOOM!.
TCT celebrated its 50th Anniversary Season in 2015-2016 with the audience selection “Arsenic and Old Lace” and the fourth reprise of the first production, “You
Can’t Take It With You”.
We are Troy Civic Theatre are all volunteers who enjoy providing live theater for the community. With more than fifty years in Troy, Ohio, it is a comfort to know TCT is
still around and thriving in the era of action films and the internet. We’ve seen several theatre companies struggle and sadly a few have disappeared, but thanks to our members, friends, volunteers, faithful patrons, advertisers, and sponsors we are able to continue to bring live theater full of local talent to our audiences. Thank you for your continued support – here’s to 50 more years!