Last month marked the final board meeting for Kearney Community Theatre veteran, Mary Haeberle. After the meeting, the board members marked the event with a toast, and went around the table sharing some of our favorite “Mary Memories.” There are so many memories at KCT that involve Mary — too many to count!
One of the most notable things about Mary is her energy. Whether it’s the enthusiasm she exudes on stage (playing a character or the House Manager!) or the incredible energy she expends on Kearney Community Theatre as an organization, one thing’s for sure: Mary Haeberle is a KCT icon.
Mary has been part of KCT since 1980, when she played Fonsia in The Gin Game. From then on, she could be found in — or helping with — many productions, and became a board member in the ‘80s. When asked what she’s liked the most over the years, she said:
“Well it’s all just the best. I guess I’m just really happy that it’s going in this direction. What I have liked seeing is how the friendships you make through the theatre are quite lasting. I like the fact that there are new people interested in this kind of art, that there are new people who are still coming in. It isn’t just us “old fogeys” that are interested. The people I’ve met through the theatre, I wouldn’t have met them otherwise, probably. They’re meaningful, they’re fun. It’s just been a good run.”
Though she had a hard time deciding which shows were her favorite, Mary was able to narrow it down to a few. “I would do Gin Game again today,” she said. “And Leading Ladies was so fun, Slapstick, people picking me up and carrying me off, and me yelling! [see below] I was in Wonderful Life all three times that we did it. That’s when you meet the kids and then later those kids grow up, and of course you don’t change at all.”
KCT has gone through many changes over the years, and Mary has been here to watch most of them happen in real-time. Mary was on the board multiple times. The second time she rejoined the board, Stan Dart — another KCT veteran — cautioned her saying, “Now Mary, it isn’t all fun and games. You have to work.” Mary laughed, and I said, “I know that, of course I know that!”
“That was in the really early days, before the building that we have now. That’s when we had shows all over town, and it wasn’t easy! We would build sets in garages. We didn’t have a home. I have pictures of people working on sets all over town. It wasn’t easy, but it was fun. And we all enjoyed it.”
Mary, we could not be more grateful to you! Not only for your service to Kearney Community Theatre, but for simply bringing joy to our lives, and the lives of our entire community. And while we’ll miss you on the board, we hope it simply means that we’ll be seeing you onstage more!
—Lauren Bonk, Board of Directors