I think all of us have known truly great individuals who have passed away, and think, “There will never be another one just like them.”

Of course there will not be another just like them.

However, I believe that when an individual dies, regardless their status or impact on their world, they always leave a spark with each person who knew them. Sometimes, when I work with someone I sense it is much like each of us holding sparklers, or Christmas Eve candles that, when touched, share a small flame or sparkle. I love receiving “light” from others, no matter who they are. I can always find a use for their light, or add it to my own for an even bright glow to share with others.

Yesterday, January 3rd, a brilliant light in The Miami Valley’s theatre/performing arts scene faded. Having enjoyed a directing class taught by Marsha Hanna in the mid-1990’s, I knew her well enough to carry on brief conversations when later running into her at public, or theatrical events. I always loved having my seat in the back row during The Human Race productions because Marsha would often stand behind the half wall and share tid-bits about the production, or life in general.

Once after introducing a newly adopted son, Marsha, with her hands in her pockets, and smiling, asked, “When are you going to adopt a son and actually change his name to ‘Joshua Logan?'” (Marsha was referring to my own directing mentor)

I do sense the void that has been created in Dayton’s performing arts community as Marsha, along with her dearest friends and colleagues, Scott Stoney and Kevin Moore, has long been a theatrical machine in Dayton for thirty-plus years… a triumphant trio of artistic entrepreneurs and cheerleaders that have improved, constructed, reconstructed, designed, encouraged, challenged, planted, nourished, fostered, pruned and blessed our community – and beyond – with something for which all of us can be terribly proud, and truly enjoy.

So many people, both in and out of the theatre community, were touched by Marsha’s generous smiles and numerous kindnesses. My heart goes out to her close friends and colleagues, and to all those brilliant lives and careers in which she had a role in molding.

Knowing that Marsha has touched so many lives makes me confident that she will eternally be with the performing arts world of The Miami Valley. There will be scholarships, programs, and other items named in her memory and honor, but nothing will compare to the legacy of light she shared with countless souls that has been, and will continue to be shared with many more on the continued chain of mentors and students.

I believe the Saints & Bishops of Broadway – George Abbott, Joshua Logan, Edward Harrigan, George M. Cohen, David Merrick, JoAnne Akalaitis, Melvin Bernhardt, and countless others – have raised the curtain for Marsha’s entrance on a brand new stage, accompanied with the greeting, “Well done, Good and Faithful Servant.”

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