Remembering Steve Koek
along with another great friend of the theater Sharon Place
We are saddened to hear of the passing of our friend and fellow board member Steve Koek.
During his short time with Summer Place, he made some wonderful contributions to local theatre.
Steve as Bienstock opposite former Board member Cynthia Lauren-Grant as Sweet Sue
We met Steve when he auditioned for the cast of Sugar in 2018. He told us how he was involved in theatre in school "so many years ago" and had “that itch” to come back. After getting the role of Bienstock, the manager of Sweet Sue’s Society Ladies, he jumped in with both feet. Board member Sara Blankestyn, who met Steve while performing together in Sugar, said "his endless enthusiasm and wit will be greatly missed, along with his love for life and the theatre. My deepest condolences to his wife Andi and their family."
Not only did he perform in Sugar in 2018, he filled in at the last minute to help the next month’s show, Footloose, as Ren’s uncle, and did a bang-up job in both roles. Steve was once again bitten by the theatre bug.
Steve arranged for real-life SeaBee Glen Shadwell to address the cast to give their acting authenticity.
After that season, Steve joined the Board of Directors, where he helped plan the 2019 season. One of the shows, South Pacific, was a favorite of his, having performed it in high school. Steve took it and ran with it, serving as Producer and playing the key role of Captain Brackett. He also created a new position just for this show: Production Manager, which he made so that his wife, Andi, could be a part of it, and they made a great team producing the show.
Because of Covid, his most treasured production was never realized. The Diary of Anne Frank was very special to Steve. His own father and his aunts experienced a very similar situation to Anne, hiding from Nazis until they escaped to America. His father had been speaking around the country of his experience, and after his father’s death, Steve began doing the same. Steve wrote a very complete and compelling article on his family connection here on this website; just one of the 40 articles Steve wrote for us to promote his shows. Read his list of articles here.
Cast photo of Sharon Place for 2016’s 50 Years of Musicals from Summer Place Theatre
It’s been a difficult time for our Summer Place family. About a month ago, we lost a long-time friend of the theatre, Sharon Place. She and her husband, Roger, began their relationship with the Summer Place in 1973 when Sharon played Cora in "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" and Roger had the lead in "The Last of the Red Hot Lovers." They were hooked...from then on their Summers revolved around the Summer Place. They were either acting, directing (Roger), or assistant directing (Sharon.) Their daughters, Susan and Jennifer were involved as well. As a matter of fact, all four Places managed the theatre for two summers while the performances were still at the pavilion.
Sharon and Roger were on the board of directors for many years. They performed together in "Mary, Mary", "The Odd Couple", "42nd Street', "Mame" and "Into the Woods." When Roger passed away, Sharon took a hiatus for a bit and then after a few years returned to perform in "How to succeed in Business", "The Man who came to Dinner", and "Spamalot."
Sharon tread the boards doing a number from Mame in our 50th anniversary show 50 Years of Musicals in 2016. During a rehearsal for the show, Sharon reminisced: “I recall one Spring clean up at the pavilion when 6 baby opossums were found in a couch on stage...Yipe!”
She, like Steve, will be greatly missed.