“STARR Theatre” honors Bill Starr

Mitchel Sommers thanks Linda Starr for her capstone gift.

Mitchel Sommers thanks Linda Starr for her capstone gift.

In May 2013, Linda Starr, a longtime patron of CTG, made a capstone gift of $250,000 to the organization’s capital campaign in memory of her late husband, Bill Starr, who died in 2007 at the age of 78.

To honor Mr. Starr, who loved attending CTG shows, the organization will name its 160-seat theatre at 520 South Elm Street the “Starr Theatre.”

Local sculptor Jim Gallucci will design the theatre’s new marquee to incorporate the Starr name. The marquee will be lit for the first time on Friday evening, September 27, 2013, when CTG’s 64th season will open with a production of Smokey Joe’s Cafe. Linda Starr herself will throw the switch.

Mrs. Starr’s gift brought the campaign total to nearly $1.75 million—only $250,000 shy of the $2 million needed to purchase the property at 520 South Elm, finance minimal renovations, support CTG’s educational programming and operating funds, and seed an endowment.

From the News & Record

Former Broach Theatre to be Renamed in Memory of Bill Starr

GREENSBORO – For a quarter-century, the venue tucked into the 500 block of South Elm Street had been known as the Broach Theatre.

The Broach Theatre Company, and now Community Theatre of Greensboro, have drawn fans there with comedies, dramas and musical productions.

Come fall, the theater’s marquee will display a new name: Starr.

Linda Starr at the former Broach Theatre, now renamed the Starr Theatre and CTG's new home. Photo credit Jerry Wolford

Linda Starr at the former Broach Theatre, now renamed the Starr Theatre and CTG’s new home. Photo credit Jerry Wolford

Linda Starr will donate $250,000 to Community Theatre, which in December bought the building at 520 S. Elm St.

With the gift, the 160-seat theater will be named in memory of her late husband, Bill Starr, who died in 2007 at age 78.

“I can hear people saying, ‘We are going to the Starr tonight,’” said CTG Executive Director Mitchel Sommers. “It has a nice ring to it.”

“I wanted his name to be remembered and to do something in his honor,” Linda Starr said about her husband of 20 years. “He did so much for me and for so many other people.”

Bill Starr would have enjoyed his name in lights, say Linda Starr and Sommers.

“Bill was a character,” she recalled. “He made friends very quickly, mostly with his sense of humor.”

Among his jokes: Telling tall tales about how he lost the tip of a finger. “He would make up some elaborate thing – shark attacks and various accidents,” Linda Starr said.

The truth: At age 2, he stuck his hand in a chain saw while a tree was being cut down in his yard, his wife said.

A native of Baltimore, Md., Bill Starr founded Allgood Construction Company. He was active in several community causes, including serving as president of the Gate City Kiwanis Club and the Temple Emanuel Brotherhood.

At Temple Emanuel, he established the Bradley Jay Starr Memorial Fund in his late son’s memory to enable children to attend sports camps.

He played drums and delighted in sitting in with the band at weddings.

And he liked theater, particularly CTG’s big musicals, Sommers said. The Starrs were season subscribers and hosted CTG fundraising events in their home.

“He was a little gruff, with a heart of gold,” Sommers said.

The $250,000 gift will go to CTG’s ongoing $2 million fundraising campaign. It brings the campaign total to nearly $1.75 million, which will help the nonprofit organization pay down the building’s mortgage, finance renovations, expand its youth program and start an endowment fund.

The gift also reflects the Starrs’ interest in children’s causes, Sommers said. Linda Starr formerly owned Creative World of Greensboro child-care centers.

“It’s wonderful when someone makes a gift like this, not even solicited,” Sommers said. “It has strengthened my conviction that you do the right thing, you do the good work, and you will be blessed.”

Local sculptor Jim Gallucci will design the theater’s new marquee with the Starr name.

It will be lit for the first time on Sept. 27, the season-opening night of CTG’s production of the musical revue “Smokey Joe’s Cafe.” Linda Starr will throw the switch, Sommers said.

“Bill would have loved ‘Smokey Joe’s Cafe,’ ” she said.

Contact Dawn DeCwikiel-Kane at 373-5204, and follow @dawndkane on Twitter