Last edited 2:04 p.m., June 21, 2018
Beth Domann says she’s played everything from a nun to a stripper throughout her acting career.
But her greatest part might just be as the executive director of Springfield Little Theatre, where she’s pushing 20 years of encores.
I spent the day with Beth on June 6 for SBJ’s Day in the Life series. After the day was over and I was writing the piece for the June 18 issue, I was impressed with a feeling that my day with Beth was a powerful display of what it looks like when you’re living your passion.
Of the countless times Beth smiled throughout the day, none was bigger than the one she sported when she watched a group of elementary-aged kids learn choreography to the song “September.”
It was easily my favorite moment of the day I spent with Beth.
She bopped her head along to the beat, and with her smile and laugh, it felt like she was radiating joy.
“There’s nothing like watching a kid come in that’s really shy and hides behind their parent and then to watch that light come on,” she says.
“Man, I could do that every day.”
Beth is an immensely entertaining person to be around. She’s bouncing off the walls with energy, always has something hilarious to say and is incredibly talented. From an outsider’s perspective, it’s like she lives her life on a stage. But she admits, she’s actually pretty shy.
“People don’t believe that, but I hide out when I can,” she says.
Beth has worked at the theater since 1996. But Springfield almost lost her as the keeper of the Landers Theatre to the Windy City.
“I was on my way to Second City in Chicago,” she says.
When her mother was diagnosed with cancer in 1990, she moved back to town to help take care of her.
“I never expected to stay in Springfield.”
It’s clear the community’s struck a gold mine with Beth. Along with her team, she’s keeping a theater built in 1909 looking great, pumping out incredible community theater and encouraging supporters to buy tickets and donate to meet the theater’s $1.8 million operating budget.
She admits that’s not easy.
“Who are you going to give your money to? Kids with cancer or kids with tap shoes?” she asks. “I get it – but we do give kids a voice. These are the kids you are going to want to hire.”
Another of my favorite parts about my day with Beth? It wasn’t planned until about 20 hours before it started. That’s improvising for you.
My original Day in the Life executive got stuck at a Chicago airport while trying to make it back to Springfield.
So the day before deadline, I needed to convince someone to allow me to follow them around for a day. It’s not an easy ask.
I had never met Beth before, but I walked from SBJ’s office over to the downtown theater and asked to chat with her. I told her about the series and asked if I could follow her around to all her appointments the next day.
Without hesitation, she immediately said yes.
Beth – you are one awesome lady. Thanks for letting me spend the day with you.
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