John Noble to take final bow with ‘Night of the Stars’
Greensburg attorney and champion of high school musicals John Noble is a pretty humble guy when it comes to taking credit for the success of his “Westmoreland Night of the Stars.”
The event held at The Palace Theatre in Greensburg has grown to a two-night celebration of local students representing 18 schools and home-school students across Westmoreland County and their dedication to the performing arts.
“I get too much credit for all of this,” he says. “It’s taken thousands of hours by hundreds of volunteers to make all of this happen.”
His daughter, Elly Noble Carr, politely disagrees.
Decades of dedication
“For the last 23 years, he has dedicated 10-plus weekends a year to ‘Musical Theater Season’ and has seen over 1,500 hours of high school and middle school productions, plus countless hours of rehearsal,” she says.
“For 23 years he has organized the sound/microphones, contracted the lighting, scheduled the Palace rental, designed and printed the T-shirts, purchased the balloon drop, coordinated 18-20 high school/middle school rehearsals and segments, solicited and maintained the sponsors, designed the plaques, organized the programs and personally selected every single seat for every single patron, student and supporter – all on his own.”
Beyond the effort that goes into “Night of the Stars” each year, her father also has an incredibly genuine way of making every student feel important, Carr says.
“He has a way of remembering every kid’s name, what role they played last year, where they’re going to college. He has truly invested his support and pride in every individual kid – and that’s truly special. He is one of a kind.”
Passing the torch
He will be turning over his duties of planning, organizing and running the shows to his daughter, a professional actor who beams with pride when she talks about her dad and his accomplishments.
“I think I’ve always known I would eventually run the Night of the Stars someday; I can’t imagine a May without it,” she says. The event is not a contest or competition, but rather “an arena where students cheer for each other, not against each other, where they applaud a wonderful production instead of trying to ‘out-do’ it.”
“The schools come together to participate in a true celebration of creativity, positivety, fun and hard work. It’s easy to want to be a part of it. It’s a thrilling time of year!
Leading the next generation
Noble, 63, who enjoys acting in community theater productions for Stage Right, says he was 39 when he started “Night of the Stars” and many of the talented “Stars” alumni are now running local school theater programs.
“With Elly returning from New York, it was the right time for me to ‘pass the torch’ to her to lead the very capable next generation,” he says. “Sure it’s hard, but to quote my ‘Father’ line from ‘Children of Eden.’ ‘The hardest part of (something you) love, is the letting go.’”
Noble says it’s time for him to work less, travel more and simply “sit back, relax and enjoy the show.” Asked if he still plans to attend high school productions, he replies, “Of course! I’ll be seen at musicals – just not all of them.”
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.