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My Bobbi McCrea story

July 5, 2011 - Kevin Sweeney
People all over New Ulm are thinking today about Bobbi McCrea and her daughters, Abby and Savannah. They are thinking about the tragic way they died early Saturday morning, along with three other people in The Bohemian Bed & Breakfast fire, and they are thinking about the many ways Bobbi touched their lives.

Here is my story about Bobbi and the way she helped my family.

Back when my son Matthew was in high school he decided he wanted to take his interest in the theater to another level. Like many actors, he wanted to direct.

Matthew ran into some dead-ends from the grownups around him. His high school didn’t have it in their budget to do another play in his junior year, so he and his friends decided to form their own theater group and put on a play during the summer. Again, it was tough going convincing some of the grownups around that they could succeed.

Then Matt talked to Bobbi, who was on the New Ulm Actors Community Theater (NUACT) Board. “We’ve got to do this!” was Bobbi’s reaction. With the blessing of others on the board, Bobbi worked closely with the kids, who dubbed themselves The Protean Players. She guided them through the intricacies of staging a play, especially the business aspects, like copyrights and licensing.

NUACT agreed to act as the financial agent and bankroll the licensing for the show, and in the summer of 2004, the Protean Players produced “Godspell” at St. Mary’s School in Sleepy Eye. Bobbi even contacted her community theater friends in Oregon, who had done the play before, to get some props for the opening number.

The show was a huge success, and the Protean Players made about $6,000, which they donated to a classmate of theirs, Jenna Langer, who was battling cancer.

The group produced “Into the Woods” by Stephen Sondheim the following summer. It was a great experience for Matthew and his friends, and being able to put that experience on his college application resume helped him get accepted to New York University, which he attended for two years.

All that good stuff happened because Bobbi listened to a bunch of kids with big dreams and instead of looking for reasons to say no, she said, “I’m with you.”

Thanks, Bobbi.


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