Cayuga Community College is pleased to announce the naming of the Joanne Foresman Lobby in the Schwartz Family Performing Arts Center. On December 21, 2011, the Foresman family unveiled the gift to Joanne Foresman in a private ceremony. The family announced they had made a gift to the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival to name the lobby to recognize Joanne Foresman's many contributions to the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse and the Auburn community.
Joanne first became involved with Auburn Children's Theater (ACT) in the late 1960s. ACT was the beginning of what is now the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse Youth Theatre, and Joanne dedicated countless hours to performing in this program, which brought theatre to children in local schools. She served as the Secretary for ACT and later as the President of the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse Board of Directors from 1978 to 1980. She co-chaired the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse's 50th Year Anniversary celebration.
"Looking back at my childhood (a good part of which was spent at ACT and MGR), my Mom's involvement with ACT and MGR was a constant, one of the things I associate most with her," said son Bob Foresman. "How she did all of this with four children and all of our activities, I don't know," said daughter Pam Foresman.
Joanne hired Ed Sayles who has served as the Producing Artistic Director for the Playhouse for more than 30 years. Sayles is now the Producing Artistic Director for the Festival as well. Joanne and Ed recently had the opportunity to sit down and reminisce about the early days of Merry-Go-Round Playhouse.
"Joanne played a critical role in the success of the Playhouse during the early years," Sayles said. "We are tremendously grateful to the Foresman family for this gift and for the opportunity to honor her."
This gift from the Foresman family to the Festival was a complete surprise to Joanne.
Joanne, who grew up in Auburn, and her husband, Dr. Arthur Foresman, have lived in Auburn since the 1960s. Arthur and Joanne's children, Dr. Bill Foresman, Bob Foresman, Jeff Foresman, and Dr. Pam Foresman, were all raised in Auburn and still have homes here. Dr. Arthur Foresman served on the Cayuga Community College Board of Trustees, and the Foresman family offers a scholarship at Cayuga Community College for Auburn High School graduates.
"We are grateful to the Foresman family for their wonderful gift to the Festival," said Dr. Daniel P. Larson, president of the College. "It is a fitting tribute to Joanne Foresman and her entire family who have been so active, not only with the theatre and the College but also with the Auburn community."
The College will be sharing the Schwartz Family Performing Arts Center with the festival. The planned 384-seat theatre is slated to be built on State Street, where the former Kalet's Building was located, and to open in 2013. The festival will use the space for performances from May to September, and the College will use the space for acting, technical, and related courses and programming during the academic year.