Concord resident, 99, joins cast for sold-out Community Players show
Published: 11-21-2023 2:09 PM
Modified: 11-22-2023 1:50 PM
On Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m., Clara Lemm Brogan, age 99, made a dream come true. Clara appeared onstage as a member of the cast in a sold-out performance of the Community Players’ show “The Sound of Music,” at Concord City Auditorium. “I want to be the oldest Player to have ever appeared in a Community Players’ show,” claimed the music and stage veteran.
A Julliard School graduate and a long-time resident of Concord, Brogan taught music in public schools for 27 years and gave private music instruction to over 700 area students. She was a member of Concord Music Club when she got involved with the Community Players, as a rehearsal pianist for the leading actress in “Oklahoma!” in 1956. She quickly worked her way up to her own leading roles in such plays as The Glass Menagerie and The Lion In Winter and soon began directing plays and musicals such as “Mame” with Betty Abbott (1969) and an award-winning production of “Man For All Seasons” (1968).
Flash forward to Sunday noon, where director Cindy Dickinson staged a quick “put-in” rehearsal for Clara, who picked up her cues instantly and interacted with Von Trapp tykes (played by Hazel and Violet Curren) and a scene full of waltzing “party guests.” A seasoned pro who knows her way around a stage, Clara did not have to be told to wave goodnight to the seven Von Trapp children as they finished their song “So Long, Farewell.” Backstage, a seasoned crew member whispered to her, “I loved seeing you on stage again.”
At the conclusion of the show, Players president Ellen Burger (playing the role of the housekeeper, Frau Schmidt) led the audience in a heartfelt tribute to the guest artist, where flowers were presented to her by Hannah McCauley, a local schoolteacher playing “Sister Sophia,” the same role that Brogan played on the same stage in 1966. Dreams can come true if you’re a survivor, which Clara Lemm Brogan certainly is.