Circle Players of Piscataway received a humbling surprise last week, in the form of a call from the family of a long-time patron.
Joyce Ann Macola, who attended many Circle productions over the years and was a long-time lover and supporter of community theater in general, passed away a few months ago. But her love and appreciation for Circle was such that she wanted to give something back to the organization after she had passed.
According to Shawn Michael Macola, Joyce Ann’s nephew and actor, she bequeathed Circle a donation of $10,000.
“Shawn is a lovely person and spoke with great fondness of his aunt, who just loved theatre, in particular community theatre,” said Jessica Damrow-Sherman, Managing Director of Circle Players, who received Macola’s call.
The donation comes in the midst of Circle’s ‘Raise the Roof’ fundraising program, which hopes to raise funds to replace the theater’s aging roof by 2017. With this donation, Circle now finds themselves within a few hundred dollars of achieving the fundraising goal.
“While the family was surprised to learn of the bequeathment, they were overjoyed to share the news of Miss Macola’s generosity with the theater,” said Damrow-Sherman. “It was an emotional phone call, as it started with Shawn saying, ‘I think I can help you replace your roof.’”
Ed Faver, Circle’s Artistic Director, expressed his own thanks to the Macola family for the generous donation and said the organization plans to put the funds to use in terms of both capital improvements and artistic programming. “While the bulk of this generous gift will be directed to our capital campaign, a small amount of the funds will be used to support our mission,” said Faver. “Our goal is to honor the memory of Joyce Ann Macola by enhancing our building and the artistic culture of our community.”
Macola, a professional actor, was similarly surprised and moved by his aunt’s generosity. “It wasn’t until the last few years of her life that I really became aware of her love and appreciation of the arts,” said Mr. Macola. “Truly emotional and compelling, that as an actor, through my aunt, I am able to help “Raise the Roof”. I am pretty certain that she is watching from the same seat, in spirit. I look forward to seeing the betterment of the building with this gift.”
Circle plans to honor the Macola family at opening night of their upcoming production of “Dealer’s Choice” on January 20th, 2017, at 8pm.