Tonawanda News

Local News

June 2, 2013

Acting ... in good company

Non-profit group aims to make theater accessible to kids


Tonawanda News — ”We just piled into my mom’s station wagon and went down by the river,” she recalled. But “we were teenagers, we just kind of lost interest in it. But it was great when we were kids.”

Fast forward. Tober and her siblings are grown and all have children. They were talking about their summers performing by the water when something clicked. She called her brother ... and “he called it a double-dog dare,” she said. A bank account later (and eventually non-profit status) later, In Good Company was on its way.

”That year, we did ‘Godspell,’ because we knew that if nobody auditioned, we could probably still pull it off,” Tober said. “We ended up with 35 people or so.”

The next year, the cast doubled, to about 60 people. Lately, it’s more like 100, Tober said.

”We just love it. It keeps us together; it gives us all a reason to stay in Buffalo,” she said. “And it’s so magical to see how the kids grow from year to year.

”It’s something really special that makes our family really unique. And we just welcome everybody with open arms.”

While the group has expanded over the years, the family still forms the core. Tober serves as president, while one brother is vice president (another is on the advisory board) and her sister is the treasurer. Their children take part in the shows, while Deb Wanecski still helps with shows like the ones she organized back in the 1980s.

It means a lot that her children saw so much value in their childhood activities that they wanted to recreate them for the next generation, Wanecski said.

”It’s more special than words can say,” she said.

Like their mother before them, all three of Tober’s children — Olivia Tober, 14; John Tober, 12; and Allison Tober, 10 — take part in In Good Company productions. Olivia Tober said she’s involved since the beginning, when she was 6.

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