WILMINGTON — Why did no one ask me to become a Murphy Theatre member?
The Murphy Theatre became a nonprofit organization in 1989 and soon after started selling memberships.
I didn’t live in Wilmington at the time. I was in Cincinnati and had just helped open Bicentennial Commons at Sawyer Point. In the ’90s I was raising kids and was an event producer for the City of Cincinnati’s Recreation Commission.
However, I still loved The Murphy Theatre. How would anyone know to reach out to me then?
Well, now I am responsible for membership at The Murphy Theatre, and we need members.
I don’t want to leave anyone out who cares about this wonderful special place. Please forward this article to your friends and family who no longer call Wilmington home. It’s hard to forget The Murphy Theatre. Memberships are available for as little as $50.
Why give? Call me, meet me at the theatre … give me 20 minutes.
Membership helps pay for the day-to-day operations at the theatre. Sponsorships, grants and ticket sales are not enough.
The Murphy Theatre and adjacent properties owned by The Murphy Theatre total more than 40,000 square feet. Our utility bills alone are over $30,000 a year.
If just 2.5 percent of our county residents would purchase a $50 membership, we could reach our goal of $50,000. That is 1,000 members.
While doing some exploring through old records at the Murphy a number of years ago, I found a couple of handwritten notebooks filled with names of our members over a 16-year span. The handwriting changed; however, many member names never did.
I thought I would find a handful or maybe a dozen names of people who gave year in and year out to current day, but I found about 50! I secured a grant from the Ohio Arts Council and started a program called The Marquee Project.
If you have given over 17 years and have not been contacted to received your very special gift, call me. Please!
Does your company provide a charitable match? Your $50 membership could be $100! One member who gave $3,000 works for a company that has an Employee Giving Program. Are you a decision maker at your company? Call me about setting up a matching program.
If you have not renewed, please do.
If you have never joined, please consider joining. It is easier than ever through our website at www.themurphytheatre.org. If you want a hard copy mailed to you, call the theatre at (937) 382-3643 and we will get one in the mail immediately.
I reached out to our current members and asked them to share a quote about The Murphy Theatre. The responses have been wonderful! Enjoy:
• “Throughout its history The Murphy Theatre has been a vital community gathering place for entertainment and the exchange of ideas. The building, with its stunning architecture and storied history, is a reflection of all of us who have experienced the Murphy — from those who brought it into existence through today.” —The George and Helen Schilling Family
• “We grew up in Wilmington, and The Murphy Theatre was our local movie house. We are so happy that the Murphy has been restored for its original purpose to have live shows” —Susan & Nial Henry
• “My wonderful memories of the Murphy began when I was a child and Mother took me to see ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.’ Now my children and grandchildren are making memories there. Thanks for keeping the memories alive.” —Joyce Conner Walker
• “One clear memory for me of the Murphy Theatre is that we will be celebrating our 55th anniversary next month, and the Murphy Theatre was where we had our first date.” —Leva Bath
• “I remember the Minstrels performed there. I got to run the curtain one year” —Dr. Ed Bath
• “The Murphy is Wilmington’s gem, a carefully preserved piece of history. Most of the movie theaters in Ohio’s small towns are in decrepit condition, have been torn down, or have been repurposed and are barely recognizable. Hooray for the Murphy!” —Bonnie S. Keller
• “We love the Murphy Theatre for the opportunities it provides us to get together with local and out-of-the-area friends to enjoy live entertainment. Friends are very appreciative of the talent on stage and the beauty of the theatre, often commenting on how lucky we are in Wilmington to have the Murphy.” —Sterling Dean Hall and Joy Hall
• “I am so appreciative of the community-minded folks who sacrifice their time and money to keep the historic Murphy Theatre a landmark not just for Clinton County but for the state of Ohio. We must be vigilant in ensuring this treasure will be preserved for future generations.” —Tim Rudduck
• “I grew up going to the movies every Saturday night at the Murphy Theatre while my dad was grocery shopping. Back then the stores stayed open until 11 p.m. I’m a member because I want to see the Murphy Theatre continue to be open. It’s a breathtaking ‘show stopper.’” —Ruth Stuart
• “Special places help define one’s life. My wonderful memories of attending movies and events at the Murphy as a child help set a context for my life —and now my wife’s and daughter’s lives.” —Mark Miars
• “I love the Murphy because it connects my family across generations, from my mom and dad in the 1930s to my sons and extended family now. For us, the Murphy is family memories.” —Patricia (Rose) Brewer
• “The Murphy Theatre is one of the jewels in our community. It is definitely worth supporting.” —Teresa Rembert
•“I love the Murphy Theatre because it is the heart of downtown Wilmington. It is our anchor in preserving the culture of our fair city. To see it reaching its 100-year mark while the community is more involved in programing than ever, is where the board was pointing when I served on the board. I can’t imagine a healthy, vibrant downtown without the Murphy Theatre to lead the way!” —Bruce Saunders
• “I have very fond memories of the Murphy Theatre from my childhood watching movies through my adulthood volunteering and serving on the Board. It is truly a community gem given to us by a former resident, Charlie Murphy, and preserved by our community for many future residents to enjoy.
• “I remember as a child walking with neighborhood children up to the Murphy Theatre for afternoon matinees, and on special occasions, receiving a little animal, such as a baby rabbit or chick. Every child brought one home, but they all ended up at our house because the other mothers would not allow them.” —Pat Davis Thompson
• The Murphy Theatre is a place for young and old to go to for some good quality entertainment. It is the heart of Wilmington.” —Marie Zitney
• “The Murphy Theatre is a community gem unique to small cities across the United States. Throughout 100 years, national and international stage performers have marveled at the Murphy’s architecture and décor.” —Jim Gumley
Leslie Keller-Biehl is Development and Marketing Director for the Murphy Theatre — and a Murphy Member since 2010.