MASSILLON — Twenty-year-old Molly Marie Crock is bringing theater back to life in the city.
The 2017 graduate of Fairless High School started a limited liability company theater group in February called The Luminescent Moon Theatre Co. She is crediting a higher power for helping her bring the idea to fruition.
“Theater has been a dream of mine, but I was never feeling myself at 20 as this being something I’d be able to do,” said Crock. “I’m spiritual, so I think God was like, ‘Go do it girl!’”
At 6 years old, Crock took part in her first live performance, playing the role of a backwoods character in a play at the Forty Corners Church of God in western Stark County. That, she said, may have been where she caught the acting bug.
“I really don’t remember too much about it,” she said with a chuckle. “I remember dressing up in a costume, and hoping I didn’t have to wear (fake) hillbilly teeth.”
Being in front of people and entertaining them was a good experience, Crock recalled.
Over the years, she has been involved in more than two-dozen live performances, and she’s studying the art now as a sophomore at Cuyahoga Community College. She’s hoping to grow her theater company, so it can offer live shows for many years to come.
“I’ve been doing theater most of my whole life, and I wanted to bring one to (Massillon),” said Crock, who resides in Tuscarawas Township.
Crock, who is a member of the Orrville Community Theatre Board, said she attended Fairless because she liked the school’s theater program. She said starting her own company is also a way to give back.
“I figured I’d get going right here, so people like me could have an opportunity to do theater,” she added. “I’m super pumped about it.”
Local historian Margy Vogt said it’s been decades since a theater company has been active in Massillon. She said the Ten-Star Theatre Group — the most recent one she could think of — likely operated as late as the 1970s.
“They were around for quite a long time,” Vogt recalled. “I hope this (new company) is the start to something new and good. I’m all for anything that promotes the arts in our community.”
Overall, about a dozen local performers have been cast as actors under Crock’s direction of “The Diary of Anne Frank.” The play is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at Lions Lincoln Theatre, 156 Lincoln Way E. Admission is $10 per person.
Crock said she has invested $1,500 of her own money into the show for rental of the theater and to pay for costumes, scripts and props. The actors are all volunteers, as is Anna Piper, who serves as the show’s assistant director.
Crock took to social media to help build the Anne Frank show. She said a posting on Facebook and networking with friends and acquaintances brought together a dedicated and hardworking group.
All actors earned a role via an audition, she noted.
“Theater is a small world in Stark and Wayne counties,” Crock said. “So we all kind of know each other.”
The Luminescent Moon group practices and auditions at St. John United Church of Christ in Massillon, where Crock often attends services.
Other performances planned for down the road at the Lincoln Theatre are “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Our Town,” according to Crock.
“I’d like to focus on the classics, and eventually do some children’s shows,” she said. “I think those things would be pretty successful here.”
Reach Steven at 330-775-1134 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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