The Playhouse

The Rogue Playhouse is located at 94196 Moore St. in Gold Beach.

Meet Melissa Johnston, administrative assistant

A year and a half ago, Ellensburg Theater was granted funding for an administrative assistant. Having an office assistant to help with things like our member/patron database updates, donor thank you letters, annual gala mailers, email updates, the never ending filing, poster distribution, working box office/concessions during productions (where she has encouraged new memberships), bookkeeping and deposits, has been a god-send, contributing to our charity's overall well-being, and smoother functioning in the secretarial/office realm.

Grant writer and OCF to the rescue

This all came about because of Cindy Myers' diligent pursuit of granting assistance in this area, and through the Oregon Community Foundation (OCF), ETC has been the recipient of funding to make this all possible, for which we are truly grateful. We might be a small area population-wise (under served, I've heard it called), but this type of non-profit organization is a pretty big deal and encompasses many areas of ongoing need for a board of directors and numerous volunteers.

Not only do we set policy and strive to fund the charity, we are also building stewards for a roughly 120 year old building, and we are a theater production company, which includes assisting with all aspects of production, from producing to directing, acting, backstage crew, set building, publicity and promo, and much more. The inability to offer any paid positions has been a difficulty, but now we are blessed with this valuable assistance.

So who is Melissa?

Born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Melissa's family moved to southern California after the parents' separation. Eventually they wanted to get away from the chaos of big city life and fell in love with the beauty of the Oregon coast, especially Gold Beach. Melissa's mother came here first. Then she followed several months later arriving here in June of 2018. Her then 13 year-old daughter Mariah saw the poster for Ellensburg Theater's Performing Arts Camp for youths and wanted to join in the fun.

Several instructors taught many skills in the performing arts, and Mariah particularly liked the martial arts combat training used for choreographed stage fight scenes. Sergio Martinez taught this art form, and you may recall his work in “Camelot” where he filled the stage with many actors showcasing that art form. Swashbuckling! Mariah has worked with Sergio again since then at last year's “Night Before Christmas” where she was the narrator. I think you can look forward to more of Mariah on stage.

Melissa was present during that camp, and mentioned she was looking for work. Cindy asked if she'd like to work as our administrative assistant, and the rest is history, as they say.

Welcoming personality

Watching Melissa invite new memberships as people arrived at box office, I asked how that seemed to come about so naturally. She's worked in retail where you seek new customers to sign up for store credit cards, so it just kind of happened. People seem to really appreciate her asking and giving them the opportunity to support this wonderful non-profit charity. I sometimes chuckle at the thought of our theater being a charity, but we are here serving for the public benefit with members. And it's ticket sales, memberships, donations and grants that keep us alive financially. If you haven't yet, please consider becoming a member supporter of Ellensburg Theater.

Making order out of chaos

Melissa likes being an administrative assistant, learning new skills, and enjoying flexible hours since she also has a three year-old son at home. The work is part time, so she's added to her work week by filling in at Spinners a few days a week. Dewey would have to be marvelous to work for, and Melissa is a joyful presence wherever she is. She hopes to go back to school at some point, with the goal of being a counselor or therapist. She currently has an associates degree in social and behavioral sciences. SWOCC on-line courses might be just the ticket. Until then I hope we get to keep her. I know it's brought sanity back to my life, being otherwise inundated with theater work while working full-time. Thank you Cindy, OCF and my friend Melissa.

‘A Streetcar Named Desire’

The renowned drama, “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams opens in less than four weeks, with performances starting November 15 for a two-weekend run. The sets are really humming now with rehearsals, costuming, props and people everywhere. This stage of a production is a little chaotic to me and makes my head sort of spin, but I know the drill after all these years. Don't miss this grand drama. It's going to be amazing. I can hardly wait.

Knucklehead strikes again

The case of the prowler in the night. Or, who's stealing the apples? Who is this mysterious night stalker? Dick put out the live trap for the suspected racoon, but it turns out to be something a bit bigger, still furry, and with antlers. A three- pointer, and big at that. Probably because he's so well fed, being a personal pet and all. The neighborhood mascot. He has walked through the neighborhood in broad daylight, unafraid. Dick was working on his boat, or vehicle, or mower, or some piece of equipment one day, when who should walk by but a not-so-tiny deer. He even ambled past our neighborhood party around the picnic table back when it was warmer out.

Happy hunting grounds

Then the other morning, before dawn, as Dick was departing to his favorite hunting grounds, he saw the motion detector light come on in front of the garage. And what to his wondering eyes should appear, but Knucklehead, sauntering out of the garage with an apple in his mouth, chewing away without a care in the world. Looks at Dick. And slowly strolls on past him.

Those apples aren't much good now, all slobbered on, and disappearing at that. Dick laughs and says the “parent” of this juvenile delinquent owes us a pizza.

See you at Theater!


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