Bob Ostrom, Lucille Ball Little Theatre Board president, announced that the membership drive for the Lucille Ball Little Theatre this year, and for future years, will have a unique and well deserved flair.
From now on it will be the ''Sam Paladino Membership Drive,'' honoring the late Sam Paladino, who for many decades graced its stage, headed up numerous campaigns and who was the driving force in raising the funds to establish Little Theatre's home today on East Second Street.
In 1968, Paladino and others raised funds to purchase and renovate Shea's Jamestown Performing Arts Center on East Second Street. The vaudeville facility had 1,600 seats with elaborate balconies, stage boxes, domes and several levels of storage area. The theater had been closed for five years, and the roof had begun to leak, damaging the interior. Paladino aggressively headed up a group to raise funds to renovate and revise the giant auditorium into a more practical 400-seat theater. However, the theater still has remnants of the Shea's Theater stretching several floors below the theater to make rooms for a dance, studio, workshop, costume storage, dressing and makeup rooms and other various theatrical storage rooms.
Anita Paladino purchases the first membership for Lucille Ball Little Theatre’s 2012-13 season from board president Bob Ostrom to honor her late husband.
Many people have attended and enjoyed theatrical productions at the Lucille Ball Little Theatre. It also houses Children Sing and the Junior Guilders, which Sam sponsored and participated in. Sam was even deemed the ''oldest guilder.''
At a tribute for Sam in 2009, ''A Night at the Oscars'' at the theater, Sam was honored for all his accomplishments and for his passion and dedication to the theater. Before leaving the stage that night Sam told the master of ceremonies, longtime friend and fellow actor, Bob Ostrom, ''God Bob, I love this place.''
At the annual board meeting in June, Ostrom announced, after a unanimous vote, that the membership drive would now be called the ''Sam Paladino Membership Drive.'' Ostrom stated, ''Since the passing of Sam this past year, it seems only fitting and proper to name the membership drive after Sam to honor this outstanding gentleman.''
With the ''Sam Paladino Membership Drive'' ready to go, Ostrom said, ''We have over 900 members, but we would love to see the membership double. Sam would be thrilled to see the theater thrive."
A variety of membership options are available. The season is filled with entertainment for the entire family. The membership drive will run through Dec. 1. Individuals who purchase a membership now will receive free admission to the final musical of Little Theatre's present season, ''Forbidden Broadway,'' a comedy. In this long-running off-Broadway hit musical, Broadway's greatest musical legends meet Broadway's greatest satirists in a hilarious, loving and endlessly entertaining tribute to some of theater's greatest stars and song writers.
Located at 18 E. Second St., the Lucille Ball Little Theatre can be reached by calling 483-1095 or visiting lucilleballlittletheater.org.