Harrison Ewing - 2020 Gala Honoree
Pendragon Theatre is proud to announced long time actor and director Harrison Ewing as this year's honoree at our Annual Summer Gala. Ewing has performed and/or directed in over 30 productions at the theatre since he first joined the ranks in 1985. Productions include Arcadia, Dolls House, What the Butler Saw, Marvin's Room, True West and Imaginary Invalid to name a few.
This is the second year the theatre has named an honoree as part of its gala. Last year's honoree was actor, storyteller and founding member Fran Yardley.
"We are very excited to honor Harrison Ewing for his decades as a Pendragon artist from the first inception of the theatre in the late 1970's to his performance in Arcadia in 2015. Throughout all these years and scores of productions, he has embodied the Pendragon legacy of excellence in theatrical arts. Harrison's professionalism and creative approach is a model for the next generation of theatre artists. We are proud to be able to honor a valued professional who has devoted a lifetime of artistry to Pendragon Theatre." - Pendragon's Artistic Director, Kimberley Bouchard,
Ewing's first encounter dates back to the roots of Pendragon Theatre over 40 years ago.
"I suppose, like many actors in those days, I found myself in New York City in the mid-70s. Off-Off Broadway, I was working with Gray McKee and David McKenna in a production of Joe Orton's What the Butler Saw. We had lost the actor playing the character Geraldine and replaced her with a young woman who was, I believe, a recent graduate of the University of Virginia. This was Susan Neal (then McVeigh)," eventual co-founder, with her husband Bob Petty, of Pendragon Theatre.
"During a fairly respectable run at the Nat Horne Theatre on 42nd Street," Ewing continues, "this Enterplay production had a fateful tour to the North Country. Tom Brooks who was playing Dr. Rance had a connection with the Adirondack Mountain School in Long Lake. The Head Master there, Elliott Verner, and Bob Petty, who ran the theatre program, were welcoming and extremely helpful in facilitating this adventure. The following summer David McKenna took a production to the school with other New York actors and I believe it was the summer after that, 1978, when Enterplay had it's first summer season in rotating repertory at the Adirondack Mountain School. The company then included Gray McKee, Michael Howard, Richard Kay, Bob Petty, Susan McVeigh (Neal), Dawn Couch and Anita Montgomery."
Interestingly, following the first summer season in Long Lake, Gray McKee directed Bob and Susan in a production of Macbeth at Adirondack Mountain School. Bob played the king and Susan his lady, and Ewing attributes this to their becoming romantically involved. This was followed by 3 more summer repertory seasons in Long Lake and a December interlude with productions of Dracula and Who's Happy Now in Saranac Lake. The following summer (1981) Enterplay produced a number of shows in rotating repertory at what is now the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. This was Enterplay's final season and an overlap year in that Bob and Susan had already done the initial productions of what would become Pendragon in Saranac Lake. The first of those Pendragon productions being Street Car Named Desire with last year's honoree, Fran Yardley.
Ewing kept in touch, but was not fully engaged in the North Country and Pendragon for a few years. "At one point, Anita Montgomery and I attended Bob and Susan's wedding in their apartment over the Main St. theatre [in downtown Saranac Lake] which had become Pendragon's home, thanks to Elliott Verner, the former Headmaster from Long Lake who was the Main St. building landlord." This location is currently the home of the S'LOVE Health Club.
In 1984, Petty and Neal asked Ewing to come to Saranac Lake to direct them in a production of Educating Rita. Adrienne Ratigan was the stage manager for this production. Ewing and Ratigan met and were married the following year, and he moved to Saranac Lake full time. This was the beginning of an influx of actors from New York and Boston and two years later, in 1986, Pendragon moved into its current location.
Ewing currently lives in the woods of Franklin Falls with his wife, Sylvia Hough, who he also met during a Pendragon production, and a multitude of their "wooly, four footed children." In addition to working at Pendragon, he was a 24 year employee at Adirondack ARC.