Cynthy McCrory: A Volunteer Who Loves to Be Busy

RTG Spotlight

Cynthy McCrory volunteered with the Racine Theatre Guild from about 1975 to 1985 when she was asked to work on wardrobe for Summer of the Seventeenth Doll. She worked show after show, from sewing and designing costumes, to doing props, makeup and working in the booth. She took a hiatus to be with her children when they were small, and her husband died when her children were eight and eleven. “It was time to be a mother with most of my time,” Cynthy says.

Then in 2005, after her “hiatus,” Cynthy returned to volunteer, and she has been a powerhouse around the RTG for the past 18 years. In 2019, she was named the John Maccanelli Volunteer of the Year, for working so many shows that season, in a variety of positions, including stage manager, costume designer, and production stage manager.

As stage manager for Dial M for Murder, Cynthy explains that she is an “old-fashioned” kind of stage manager. “I like to learn everything,” she says. “So I had the sound technician, Kyle Simonson, teach me everything about the sound board, from how to turn it on and off, to running the cues. My light technician is Karen Magee, and I made sure I knew all about her light cues, including turning on and off the light board. So much is computerized now and easier than the old days. I remember having to splice tape when we played sound on reel-to-reel tapes. I’m thrilled that we have Jenny Bauer as our lighting designer. She is calm, reserved, confident and capable.”

Cynthy has many talents all around the theatre, but many who know her think of her sewing skills. She loves to take a pattern and then leap off into her own creative spin. Listing all the costumes that she has designed, altered, sewn from scratch, and modified would take more room than we have.

“I can highlight a few,” Cynthy says. “For Mamma Mia (2022) I sewed the three guys’ satin suits that they wore at the end, one in pink, one in blue and one in green. I was up to my eyeballs in sequins for the mermaid costumes for The Little Mermaid (2022 and 2023), but I loved sewing them this year, with a bit of redesigning for more durability. For Kitchen Witches (2016) I sewed the aprons that were particular to that show. And for Clue (2022) I went with using colors for all the actors to match their names, finding the perfect purple suit in our stock for Professor Plum. And though it was a while ago, I loved doing costumes for The Wizard of Oz, the 1997 version.”

Cynthy’s tools are a sewing machine and an iron, and for several years she has been costume chair or co-chair. She has also served on the board of directors and on the playreading committee, and appeared on stage in Scapino (1977) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1979).

“Theatre provides me with creative challenges,” Cynthy says, “and skills of working well with people. When I stage manage, I learn the script and the cues, of course, but I also get to know the actors, and what I can do to help them.”

“Working with Michael Clickner as director of this show, I want to be as supportive as possible, even running to the props room to get the proper phone or sewing basket. I know things don’t run the way they did in the ‘old days,’ but I keep adjusting to modern times. We have a great group of new volunteers, and if there is anything I can teach them, it’s great.”

And while there could be so many more RTG stories Cynthy could tell (just imagine the costumes!), she was busy, having to get to the RTG for rehearsal. We are lucky to have talent like Cynthy’s, even if she says now, “I’m down to working two or three shows a season as chair, and one or two more shows where I’m sewing something.”