By BRENNA GRITEMAN
People familiar with Findlay know of the incredibly talented cast of characters that has called the city home throughout the years. Soon, through a project initiated by Fifth Third Bank, everyone who visits the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts will know about them, too.
The inaugural class of the Fifth Third Bank Wall of Fame will be inducted during a special ceremony from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the center. The five inductees were nominated and chosen based on their success in the fields of music, dance, theater and visual arts.
“We felt like the five for the inaugural year was the best way to kick it off,” said Mary Beth Hammond, Fifth Third Bank vice president and senior private banker. She said one or more individuals will be inducted into the wall of fame annually, based on the number of nominations received.
As the project seeks to highlight and preserve the honorees’ rich and varied contributions to the city’s artistic heritage, Hammond noted the performing arts center is the perfect venue to display the wall of fame.
“We just think it’s going to be a beautiful way to celebrate this beautiful home for our arts community,” she said.
This year’s wall of fame inductees include:
A Findlay native, Creel has played the leading role on Broadway in “Thoroughly Modern Millie;” “Mary Poppins” in London; “Hair,” both in London and on Broadway; “Book of Mormon” in London and on Broadway, and will perform in “She Loves Me” on Broadway this year.
He appeared in “Eloise at the Plaza” and “Eloise at Christmastime,” both co-starring Julie Andrews, on television, and has also recorded three original albums.
He is the recipient of the Sir Laurence Olivier Award in London for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for “Book of Mormon” and received Tony Award nominations for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Hair.” Creel attended Findlay schools from kindergarten through 12th grade and graduated from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance. He was nominated by Rosanna Palmer.
Cryer, a 1954 Findlay High School graduate, has played Monsieur Firmin in “Phantom of the Opera” for more than 7,000 performances — including six years on Broadway.
He played Peron in “Evita” on Broadway more than 1,000 times — more than any other actor — and has appeared in a total of 13 Broadway shows. He is one of the founders of The American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, and is also a founder of New York’s Mirror Repertory Theatre. Cryer appeared in the movies “New York Stories,” “American Gigolo” and “Escape from Alcatraz,” and played television roles on “Law and Order,” “Dallas,” “Wonder Woman,” “Where the Heart Is” and “As the World Turns.” He lived in Findlay when his father, Donald Cryer, was pastor of St. Andrew’s Church. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from DePauw University, where he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts in 2009, and holds a master of fine arts in directing from Boston University. Cryer was nominated by Barbara Dysinger.
Clifford Leroy Hite (posthumous)
Hite served as coordinator of vocal and instrumental music at Findlay High School, teaching music and conducting the concert and marching bands, as well as the symphony orchestra. He organized and became conductor of the Findlay Civic Symphony Orchestra in the 1950s, directed choirs at two Findlay churches, directed the summer concert series at Riverside Park and, from 1987 to 1990, directed the Findlay Light Opera Co. He taught summer sessions at the Ohio State University and the University of Kentucky and was a faculty member at the University of Findlay.
Hite won the national Mack Award, an Honorary Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Findlay and, in 1988, was enshrined into the Ohio Band Directors Conference Hall of Fame. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from OSU and studied music conducting at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Grove City College. He was nominated by his son, Clifford Hite, Jr.
Dr. William Jack McBride (posthumous)
McBride founded the Findlay Light Opera Co. and was vice president for academic affairs and dean of Findlay College from 1964 to 1984. He attended the Julliard School of Music for one year and earned a professional diploma in music performance. He also held master’s and doctoral degrees in music education from Columbia University and earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio.
Before coming to Findlay in 1964, he was dean of students at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio; associate professor at the Conservatory of Music at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio; and a teacher at Rye Country Day School in New York and Bessemer Public Schools in Alabama. McBride was inducted into the University of Findlay Curtain Raisers Society for the Performing Arts Wall of Fame.
He was nominated by Dr. Micheal F. Anders and his wife, Betty.
Wendene Wilson Shoupe
Shoupe has been a concert pianist and piano teacher in Findlay for more than 50 years. Originally from Texas, she was trained at the Julliard School of Music and is a member of Mu Phi Epsilon, a fraternity for outstanding musicians. At the age of 98, Shoupe still plays the piano almost daily. She was nominated by Joshua Brodbeck.
The wall of fame was initiated by Fifth Third Bank as part of its Fifth Third Day celebration, which promotes service to the community each year on May 3 (5/3).
A mock-up of the wall of fame will be unveiled during Tuesday evening’s community celebration at the arts center and will be permanently installed following the ceremony. The induction ceremony is free and open to the public.
Visit marathoncenterarts.org for nomination information in advance of the 2017 event.