AKRON, OHIO: After 17 seasons, the Actors’ Summit Theater has announced that it will be closing permanently. The decision came after MaryJo Alexander, the theatre’s longtime artistic director, announced her retirement.
“The theatre has been a remarkable asset to Akron,” said board president Sarah Beth Emberger in a statement, “But the board felt that without the artistic and managerial leadership of MaryJo, the theatre couldn’t continue.”
Founded in 1998 by Neil Thackberry, the theatre produced more than 141 shows under the leadership of Thackberry and Alexander. An Akron staple, the theatre hired more than 741 artists during its years of operation. Thackberry retired last year.
“It’s been a wonderful opportunity,” said Alexander in a statement. “We’ve had the good fortune of working with some of Northeast Ohio’s most talented actors and artists, made wonderful friends, and been part of an amazing community. I am extremely proud of the work we have done and the arts jobs we have created.” The theatre will be closing debt-free.
Thackberry and Alexander, who are married, also mention that they have been able to employ their daughters and sons-in-law at various times, as directors, choreographers, and more. Says Alexander: “The stock phrase when someone retires is: ‘Spend more time with my family.’ I have had the honor to work every day for the past 17 years at the theatre, with my partner, and not everyone is that lucky.”