The Suburbanite
  • To the extreme: Theater runs deep for McManaway women

  • Mary McManaway loves the theater. So do her daughter and granddaughter.

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  • Mary McManaway loves the theater. So do her daughter and granddaughter, Elizabeth “Lisa” Paynter and Dana Marie Anderson, respectively.
    “Theater should be part of everyone’s education,” said McManaway, one of the founders of the North Canton Playhouse, which is located inside Hoover High School. “Theater helps you grow as a human being, gain self-confidence and, most importantly, it is good for the soul.”
    The theater bug, in fact, has caught on for three generations of McManaway women, who have been involved in local theater for the past 36 years.
    Their love of theatre by the numbers
    1972  The year Mary McManaway and her daughter became involved in theater. They heard about a new theater group in Massillon called the Massillon Ten Star Theatre. Lisa Paynter auditioned for its production of “South Pacific,” got the part of the little girl and McManaway was asked to join the chorus. The rest is history, the women say.
    11 miles  McManaway and Paynter moved their talents to establish the North Canton Playhouse, when the Massillon theater group decided to begin a theater in North Canton. McManaway continues to serve as director emeritus of the Playhouse. And Paynter, the Playhouse’s executive director, is responsible for its operations and is the brains behind its smaller theater groups, including its children’s workshops, acting classes, voice lessons, and numerous fundraising efforts.
    4  Dana Anderson’s age when she became involved in the theater company. She now serves as a director, following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother. She started acting and then continued to learn all of the other aspects of theater, such as stage manager, but she says she especially loves directing. She recently graduated from The Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in theater. Anderson is directing the musical “Chicago” on behalf of the Playhouse at the Canton Palace Theatre, opening July 21 and 22.

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