Even The Wave Makes Mistakes
The Wave is a really good local newspaper, but it does occasionally make mistakes ... in this case it was in the obituary of my friend and colleague, Mace McCarthy, who died before Christmas in 2009. The obituary was pretty accurate, but it kept referring to him as “she” – I don’t know how that happened, but I did know him and he was a man, a very good actor, and, incidentally, also a good singer – when he was younger, he was the baritone in a doo wop group, whose name escapes me.
I first met Mace in 1974 when I moved to Rockaway, and, desperate to do something to keep myself occupied during those dreary Rockaway winters, I joined a theater group that rehearsed and performed at the First Congregational Church.
At that time, he was at the top of his game, and an excellent actor, who, with more drive, or luck, or backing, could have definitely made it as a professional actor. He had a fine resume, and had done theater in Manhattan as well as some commercial work. I was in a few productions with him and then, as those things go, I got involved in family, work, and managing the house, so I wasn’t in any productions for 15 years.
One day, as I was leaving the house, he stopped me and asked if I wanted to read for a production that he was involved in.
Luckily, he didn’t tell me it would require an Irish accent, otherwise I would have declined. So, I read for a part in an Irish play at John Baxter’s Playhouse, and I got started once again, acting in community theater. Then, I read for a part next door, at Mary Park’s Playhouse, for a part in “A Shayna Maydel.“ Due to a fluke, I got the part of a lifetime and then continued acting, until our group got closed out of the Playhouse. That led to rehearsing in Gateway National Park in Breezy Point, which led to
Letters my friend, Kevin Spillane, discovering an abandoned movie theater in the park, which we got the Parks Department to let us open up, clean up and use. That was the beginning of The Rockaway Theatre Company.
So, thanks to Mace McCarthy, Rock away now has a beautiful community theater company.
So, Mace, here’s to you and your life – you truly made a difference!