Debbie Maslowsky was just eight years old when she first watched her older brother, Jerry, perform in The King and I on Rainbow Stage, now celebrating its 60th anniversary. This season the veteran actor will perform on the stage for the 14th time in The Producers.
Maslowsky will be also inducted to the Wall of Fame, joining the likes of Evelyn Anderson, Robbie Patterson and Jennifer Lyon.
"To think that I saw my first show when I was eight, and now these "few" years later I am part of this theatre, a part of this company, I'm honoured to be in a show this summer and to have this recognition is quite overwhelming," she said.
'It's a wonderful testament to our theatre community and to people who come out and support Rainbow.' - Debbie Maslowsky
Maslowsky says she remembers attending Rainbow Stage every single year, growing up. "It was a real family activity, and whoever came to visit, we went to Rainbow Stage."
Her favourite character, hands down, was her first principal role as the eldest daughter Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof. "That was a show where I knew every single lyric, every line even before the first rehearsal. I had done that show at the Hollow Mug and it was important to me in so many ways. It's such an incredible story, the music is absolutely beautiful, I got to marry Robbie Patterson for the first time, and made some incredibly strong friendships that I still have to this day with people I've performed with in that show."
She recalls one performance of Fiddler, pre-dome, when there was a terrible rain storm and the orchestra pit started to fill with water. The performance came to a halt, there was a quick meeting, then a smaller version of the orchestra set up to the side of the stage on the gravel.
"We started it up again and the audience went crazy, I certainly remember that night, it was a real highlight for me," she laughed.
Maslowsky has so many great memories of Rainbow Stage, from sharing a dressing room with Evelyn Anderson -- "I was awestruck, she's theatre royalty" - to the time a family of raccoons in the rafters attracted attention away from the performance of Sound of Music - "the joy of being outside."
She feels Rainbow Stage reaching its 60th anniversary is an incredible achievement. "It's a wonderful testament to our theatre community and to people who come out and support Rainbow. Actors from all over the country know of Rainbow Stage and love the opportunity to work here. It has been such an incredible training ground. We hear all the time about people who've performed at Rainbow Stage and who have gone on to Broadway and Europe and who still come back to perform here.
"And for those of us who are in Winnipeg, we are forever grateful for the opportunity to have an outlet, especially during the summer."
Debbie Maslowsky will be inducted to Rainbow Stage's Wall of Fame on July 4, Opening Night of The Producers. Other inductees include Danny Carroll – creative, Brenda Gorlick – performer, Julie Husband – musician, Scott Peter – Performer/creative, Marian Peter – Volunteer.
The 60th anniversary of Rainbow Stage begins with a production of A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline, June 5 - 15.