Remembering David Vogel
Elmwood Playhouse…the place where magic has happened for decades. Elmwood can and does make you believe anything, anywhere, and for any time period. Actors, directors, designers, technicians, and crew all do their part to produce that live yet make-believe world of Theatre.
David Vogel was one of these Magicians. But he was never onstage…except for one time as he said when, during intermission, he stepped onstage and announced “Will the owner of the green Chevy move their car out of the fire zone”. That was his onstage time.
David came to Elmwood because of his wife, Elaine, who was involved with productions in the early 70s. On seeing the 2 level set that was barely held together with a few nails here-and-there, he realized that the set could fall down onto Elaine!!
He very quickly introduced Elmwood to the stage construction practices of drilling, bolting, reinforcing, bracing, and engineering the sets so that they don’t fall. What a concept! All the set construction workers through the decades now learned to do set construction the right way.
He then got very involved in set construction where he specialized in flying, turning, opening, closing, revolving, rolling, spinning, elevating, popping, smoking, but most times remaining still. His standard building was an education for what can be done with simple, thin wood and still hold up to a full cast for weeks. But it was his ingenuity in creating all those effects of moving set pieces, turntables, and so many special effects, which made him say that “this Jewish guy’s Patron Saint is Rube Goldberg” (everyone under 50 yrs. old will have to research that name).
He was the answer to every Director and Set Designers dream. Whatever they thought, he built. At Elmwood he was Technical Director for an unbelievable record-setting 100 Mainstage productions, finishing this extraordinary record with Les Misérables, which was directed by the love of his life, Elaine.
David was a very friendly and kind soul, always telling another stale joke, but we chuckled every time. He also was on our Board of Directors in 1974 through 1977. He also served as Theatre Manager for years.
He and Selma Sorkin were awarded Life Membership in 1984 by Elmwood. They were the 10th and 11th Life Members. In 1997 David was the sixth member to receive the Golden Elm Leaf Award for meritorious service to Elmwood. He received a 2nd Golden Elm Leaf Award in 2014 for achieving his 100th set as Tech Director, a record that will be difficult to surpass.
Elmwood recently began a tradition of dimming the stage lights with applause at a membership meeting after the passing of a Life Member. We honored him in this Tradition in December.
Here’s to the One and Only David Vogel.