Where does time go? It's the question the Old Globe staff, creators and hundreds of artists who have performed or seen their work stage there must surely be asking themselves. This year, the Old Globe celebrates its 75th anniversary with an exciting open house that's free to the public. Marion Ross, Old Globe associate artist and TV icon of "Happy Days," will preside over the event as Queen Elizabeth.
"This is the second time I've performed this role," Ross said. "The Globe is like my home. I performed in "Ladies in Retirement" when I was 18, then "The Twelfth Knight" at the Globe in 1935. It was one of Shakespeare's plays performed in repertory as part of California Pacific International Exposition."
Following in a tradition much loved by patrons when the Shakespeare troupe would perform Elizabethan-era dances in front of the theater, the new festivities will present short scenes from Shakespeare's plays and Elizabethan dancing at the open house event.
"It was a lawn when I did this five years ago," Ross said, "but now we have a beautiful new courtyard for the dancing and anniversary celebration. I'm going to parade around in my beautiful costume, go up on the balcony and greet everyone, and then lead them to the outdoor theater. There will be wonderful tours of the Globe and the new Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre. People will see the professional dressing rooms, the state-of-the-art stage and even a huge staff that makes shoes and wigs. It'll be more exciting than going backstage for a peek on Broadway."
The Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated Ross has an amazing repertoire of big-screen appearances ("The Evening Star," "Sabrina" "The Glenn Miller Story"), more than 400 TV show appearances ("Grey's Anatomy," "Brothers & Sisters") and many theatrical performances ("Arsenic and Old Lace," "Steel Magnolias") to her long career. She graduated from Point Loma High School and San Diego State University in 1950 before heading off for the spotlight.
Ross and her real-life partner, Paul Michael, appeared years ago together in the Globe's "Over the River and Through the Woods." The couple will return to the Globe on July 30 in the West Coast premiere of "Last Romance," a story about what happens when a man takes a different path on his daily walk.
An actress who gives credit where it's due, Ross says she owes much to Craig Noel, the founding director of the Old Globe who recently passed away at age 94.
"Craig helped me at every stage of my life. He helped me go to Hollywood. I thought I was his favorite," Ross said with a warm chuckle. "Then I looked out over the crowd of maybe a 1,000 at his memorial service and realized they all thought they were. He was a wonderful man."
Going on throughout the day at the celebration will also include kids crafts with the Rad Hatter, face painting, circus performances by Lindley Lopez Productions, giveaways — and free popcorn. Marking the 75th anniversary of the Old Globe is a milestone for the art community and the city of San Diego.