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Smoot show honors John Lee

Josh Martin, R.J. Lowe, Peter Sour and the Smoot Theatre staff deserve applause for last Saturday night’s presentation of “The Story of My Life.”

The wonderful show at the Smoot honored John Lee, longtime theater director in Parkersburg who died in 2016.

Lee had directed Martin and Lowe in “The Story of My Life,” the two-actor musical, 10 years ago at the Actors Guild of Parkersburg theater. Lee, Martin and Lowe later presented “The Story of My Life” at other shows and theater competitions.

About 120 people attended Saturday night’s performance. Proceeds will go to the John Lee Theatre Scholarship Fund at the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation.

One scholarship for a college student studying theater has been awarded through the Lee fund.

A poster from the performance of “The Story of My Life” at the Actors Guild in 2009, signed by the actors, Lee and music director Peter Sour, was auctioned Saturday at the Smoot Theatre, bringing a top bid of $200 for the John Lee fund.

“Thanks for honoring John Lee,” Martin told the audience. “He is sorely, sorely missed.”

For several years, Lee had directed the summer program Camp Broadway for local students at the Smoot Theatre. “It was an honor and a privilege to work with John,” said Smoot director Felice Jorgeson.

Besides acting in the musical, Martin prepared food for the reception in the Smoot’s Wakley Hall after the show. Attendees raised their glasses in a toast to Lee at the reception.

Saturday’s performance of “The Story of My Life” opened with Lee’s voice recorded from the show of 10 years ago. The actors received a standing ovation from the Smoot audience.

The musical brought home the importance of staying in touch with people who are special in your life.

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Last weekend’s Rotary Championships at Greenmont Racquet Club in Vienna raised $10,000 for local charities supported by the Rotary Club of Wood County.

Forty-seven tennis players, 12 to 18 years old, competed in the United States Tennis Association-sanctioned junior tournament. Participants were from the local area, along with Columbus, Charleston, Huntington and other cities outside the region. It was the largest turnout in the championships’ five-year history.

Local winners were Seena Saadevandi of Vienna, boys 18 and under, and Jaxen Ranson of Vienna, boys 16 and under.

“John Barr (director of tennis at Greenmont Racquet Club) runs a first-class tournament,” said Bryen McHenry of the Rotary Club of Wood County. “It is a wonderful event. We enjoy the tournament,” McHenry said.

The two-day tennis tournament is the Rotary Club of Wood County’s main fundraiser, having raised $50,000 over the past five years for local charities, McHenry said.

The Interact Club of Parkersburg Catholic High School helped with registration at the tennis tournament.

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Toys for foster children at Christmas and toys and blankets for dogs at the Humane Society of Parkersburg shelter will be collected from 1-3 p.m. Sunday at Jon Six Hair Company, 1509 Grand Central Ave., Suite 2 in Vienna.

Jon Six, owner of the Vienna hair salon, said he wanted to combine the two collections after learning about the efforts of Ashlen Martin, an eighth-grader at Jackson Middle School. Martin has set a goal of collecting 600 toys to be given to local foster children as Christmas presents. Martin has collected toys for foster children for six years, said her mother, Melissa Wise.

Businesses, individuals, teachers, churches and civic organizations have helped Martin in her holiday toy drive.

Santa Claus will greet those who bring toys to Six’s salon on Sunday afternoon. Food and drinks will be served. A limited number of dog treat bags will be given to those bringing a toy and blanket for the shelter dogs, Six said.

The Parkersburg High School Class of 1970 delivered toys for foster children to the collection area at the Vienna hair salon.

Six said his toy and blanket drive is in honor of Mickey Welch.

Martin will be collecting toys from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Piggly Wiggly in Vienna, her mother said.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com

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