Act 1, Scene 1 happened in 1981 when Saranac Lake's own professional theater group, Pendragon, performed its first season. Now the founders of Pendragon Theatre, Bob Pettee and Susan Neal, are turning the spotlights on new management as they exit stage left. They have much to be proud of - building an award-winning theater that has entertained a loyal and growing audience for three decades.
This energetic and spirited couple made their dream come true. As Neal said 16 years ago when celebrating the 15-year anniversary of Pendragon, "If you've got a dream, follow it." They confirmed that if you do something you love and never give up, your dreams can come true.
They started out in a meager performance area upstairs on Main Street where Salon Mirage is today. Then in 1986 they got what Bob described as a "shell of a garage" on River Street, now Brandy Brook Way, where Pendragon is still located today.
Actors would dress behind a sheet in the hallway that separated them from the audience filing in to see the show, much like many of us did as kids in our basements for our parents. The place was painted and fixed up, and later the seating was increased from 80 to 132.
Bob and Susan nurtured Pendragon and raised the caliber of performances to exceed that of many New York City theaters. Since the beginning, there has been a steady stream of rave reviews.
These founders have said they feel lucky to be in a community where they were accepted for doing bold, challenging theater that wasn't "fluff." Striving for excellence is what won them the 1994 Governor's Arts Award at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.
This community will be sorry to see their final scene here, but glad their legacy will live on as we continue to patronize Pendragon Theatre.
Bob and Susan, we salute you for your fortitude, talent and strong vision in establishing Pendragon. The community applauds you for the years of top-shelf entertainment, as well as the side benefit of being an economic draw to the North Country. We sincerely wish you the best of luck as you move on to the next act of your lives. We know you will leave Pendragon in good hands to live on for us all to enjoy in the years to come. Break a leg.