Carol and Ed Michaelsen are the Friends of the Month. They are a long time married couple who began ushering for the Playhouse after Carol retired from her position at a co-op nursery school in Sierra Madre. They are residents of Temple City where they have lived for 40 years.
Carol arrived in California as a child as both her Dad and her uncle were in the Navy and the family came to California to be close to them when they returned from the war and the family settled in the San Gabriel Valley.
Carol graduated from San Diego State and Whittier College where she majored in sociology and became a social worker at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles.
Ed studied at Santa Barbara State University after attending college in Los Angeles. His specialty was bio-engineering which he studied post college at Control Data Institute.
Ed and Carol met at work. They have two daughters and a son. They came to the Playhouse through the encouragement of their friend, Virginia Browning, a life-long friend of Carol’s. They have a large garden and both enjoy gardening their mostly native California plants. They also have 5 cats and a dog.
Both are involved with Operation Christmas Child. They collect items like stickers, cards, magazines and catalogs we get in the mail to which they add
stationery supplies, t-shirts and more to put in shoe boxes decorated for Christmas and sent to children around the world. The total number of boxes distributed each year exceeds 6 million. Both of their
mothers also help with this project.
Carol volunteers at City of Hope 2-days a week while Ed continues in business as a computer trouble shooter. One of their daughters has joined Ed in his computer business. They also volunteer with the Special Olympics at local events. Carol and one of her daughters are regulars at a local ceramics workshop. This gives them time together and is a wonderful way of unstressing.
The Michaelsens volunteer for each play and when you meet them, please ask about Operation Christmas Child: it is their favorite activity and they would love to spread the word.
Barbara Cruse and Raquel Burgess are the dynamic duo to contact if you would like to take a tour of the Playhouse or if you have a group that is interested in seeing the backstage workings of the Playhouse.
Barbara Cruse had retired in February from a 31 year career with LAUSD (mostly in special education). She was encouraged to join the Friends by her neighbor David Waller. She and Raquel, who had not met before, were given the opportunity to help out as the Tour Coordinators. Right now they are giving tours on a monthly basis with a maximum number of 50 people per touring group.
As a vacationing native New Yorker who was educated at Boston College, Barbara decided to relocate to Southern California and moved here permanently in 1980. Most of her family is still back East, but a niece has recently taken Barbara's lead and has moved to San Diego.
Barbara, who has a Master's Degree and has National Certification in Special Education, has found travel around the world one of her greatest pleasures. She has been to six of the seven continents and hopes to eventually visit Antarctica. Meanwhile, a trip to Thailand is in her plans.
She currently lives in Pasadena and helps out with mailings, Hospitality and the Merchandise Cart for the Friends of The Playhouse. Among many of her interests is her love of Words with Friends, an on-line Scrabble game. She is looking forward to learning chess at Pasadena City College this fall.
Our other Tour Coordinator is Raquel Burgess. She is a native of Los Angeles and lives in a house she bought many years ago in Montebello.
Raquel went to school to become a legal secretary and worked in many firms in the area for 45 years.
You will find Raquel at The Playhouse at least once a week to check on upcoming tours. They have had as many as five tours in any given month. People learn about the availability of taking a backstage tour from the program, the Playhouse and the Friends of the Pasadena Playhouse web sites.
Raquel's long time hobby has been to be part of a sewing circle in Monrovia, which makes quilts. They have been getting together weekly to enjoy the company and the art. She is also a regular in
an aqua aerobics class. Since she has retired, Raquel has gone back to school to learn photography. She has taken classes at East LA College in Developing and Printing, Beginning Digital and is going to take Digital 2 this fall. Right now she does not know what path she will take as a photographer, but she has recently learned that one of her photographs was chosen for an exhibition which opens in September at the Vincent Price Art Museum in Monterey Park.
If you are at The Playhouse or one of our events be sure to introduce yourself to Raquel and/or Barbara for what promises to be an interesting conversation.
Our Friend of the Month is a most interesting, multi-lingual woman, Catherine Donoghue. She can speak to you in one of several languages from her native French and Russian as well as English.
Catherine was born in France, the daughter of a Russian woman who emigrated with her sister. Her mother married a native-born Frenchman who was born and raised in Paris as was Catherine.
Catherine’s love of theater comes from her father, who was an actor in Paris, and her grandmother, who always had a love for theater whether from the performing or intellectual side of things.
Catherine met her husband in London on the set of a movie. He worked in publicity on both the original Superman movies in which Christopher Reeve starred. They married in Europe and traveled until they settled with their four children in Normandy before they came to the United States.
They came to the Pasadena area in 2010, and Catherine joined the Friends of The Pasadena Playhouse in the spring of that year.
She loves the thought provoking and eclectic side of theater. She also enjoys the friendships she has made there.
Catherine completed her Bachelor’s Degree at UCLA and went on to get a Masters in French at CSULA.
Catherine is currently teaching French at California State University Los Angeles and Pasadena City College. She also teaches in summer at Alliance Française de Pasadena.
Her husband has retired from his work and is currently writing a screenplay. They consider themselves to be very fortunate because their children and grandson live nearby.
Catherine continues to enjoy coming to The Playhouse to usher on a regular basis. When you see her and strike up a conversation, it will be lively and
very informative. How fortunate we are to have Catherine Donoghue as a Friend of The Pasadena Playhouse!
Written by Susan Zucker. Photo by Grace Woo.
Victor Johnson, our Friend of the Month, joined our volunteers two years ago.
He is a native Californian, and lives in Altadena with his wife, Cheryl, and their 14-year old daughter, Maya. Victor also has two younger sisters who live close by. After working for the Internal Revenue Service for 28 years, Victor has been semi-retired for 18 months.
Now he does some work as a process server, and has worked in four shows as a background actor, not to mention that he has published a book, “Driving Mr. Charlie”, with more books planned.
Victor’s interest in The Playhouse came about because of his fondness for theatre, old movies and old stars. His favorite play was Fly. Victor has a direct connection to that part of our history. His father was a mechanic and crew chief in the Army Air Corps, with the Tuskegee Airmen during WWII. His dad, who passed away at the age of 87, was a Los Angeles police officer for 22 years, and retired from Union Oil.
We appreciate the time Victor donates to The Playhouse, and are pleased to honor him as our Friend of the Month.
The Friends welcome this month’s Friend of the Month, Bobbi Yost. A more enthusiastic or dedicated member it would be hard to find.
She joined the Friends in 2009 at the suggestion other friend Maureen Whitaker. Since then, she has been involved in many volunteer opportunities. She ushers on weekends, helps with mailings at The Playhouse and Boston Court, and is an opportunity drawing ticket seller at special events.
Bobbi left Brooklyn shortly after high school graduation. In 1971, she and a friend drove to California. What began as a vacation became a permanent residence. She found a job and became a Californian.
In her first job she sold shoes at Leeds in Northridge and moved on to handbags and jewelry and settled in Van Nuys in her own apartment.
Another career change came in 2007. When the company she worked for downsized, she accepted the challenge of returning to school at College of the Canyons to study computers on a program that paid for her schooling.
Bobbi was married in 1986. In 1990, she and her husband moved to Santa Clarita. Since becoming a widow, Bobbi has stayed in a senior gated community, which has meant a long drive to Pasadena to fulfill her volunteer commitments. However, she enjoys her life there and many activities it provides. She is a Starter at their 9 hole walking golf course. She also enjoys participating in a community theater group.
In reflecting back on the variety of Playhouse productions, Bobbi chose The Heiress, A Night With Janis Joplin, the Pantos and the recent production of Fly as her favorites.
Bobbi is very proud of earning her Playhouse pins, including her pin for 150 volunteer hours. She always enters a centerpiece for the Volunteer Luncheon centerpiece competition.
When this persistent saleslady with the Brooklyn accent approaches you to sell you a ticket, just say “yes” and welcome her as The Playhouse’s most recent Friend of the Month.
It is a great pleasure to introduce to the Friends husband and wife team, Janet & Allan Yovanovich. We are honoring them as “Friends of the Month” for September/October.
Janet, a long time volunteer, and Allan a member since his retirement and now both retired are enjoy donating their time and talent to The Pasadena Playhouse.
Our Friend Jayne Thomas introduced Janet to The Playhouse years ago by giving her a ticket to Equus (1997). Janet ushers at least twice during each show and she is a docent at the Pasadena Heritage as well. The home tours are what attracted her to the Pasadena Heritage.
Janet is a native of Pasadena and went through the Pasadena school system, graduated from Cal State LA where she retired from the counseling department as a clerk typist.
When Allan, her husband, retired from architectural drafting, to the Friends benefit they made good use of their talents and hobbies.
Both Janet and Allen are talented craftsmen. Janet honed a talent in upholstery at Monrovia Adult School. Allan talented is talented at most everything. The Pasadena Playhouse, through the Friends have benefited from their talents, they worked together to replace the leather seats and repair and refinish the wood. The results of their labors are on view in the Library.
Allan recently retired from Boy Scouting where he had a leadership role for twenty years. Allan shared his joy of scouting with his two sons, hiking and backpacking together.
In July, he and Joshua Quan, an Eagle Scout Candidate, along with a mighty team of Boy Scouts painted the dressing rooms in the Greenroom. This project alone has taken 194 hours.
Also, to benefit of the Greenroom, Janet cleaned and rejuvenated the age old dinning table where the actors partake of their meals. And Allan hung cork boards in each of the 9 dressing rooms.
Janet and Allen have been involved in many other woodworking projects and repairs for the Friends benefit. The list could go on and on.
We applaud our Friends and appreciate them sharing their time and talents with The Pasadena Playhouse.
Along with spending time with their volunteer commitments, Janet and Allan enjoy their Altadena home and garden. They have a German shepherd rescue dog. And are very pleased to have their grandchildren close by and spend time with two six year-olds, a nine year-old and are looking forward to one on the way. You can imagine this keeps them young and active.
Thanks Janet and Allan for all you do.
The Friend of the month column is written by Audrey Dailey.