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Hangar Theatre Company to Host TOM NIEDERKORN MEMORIAL CELEBRATION

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The virtual event will be presented at 7:30 PM EDT on Saturday August 15.

Hangar Theatre Company to Host TOM NIEDERKORN MEMORIAL CELEBRATION

At 7:30 PM EDT on Saturday August 15, the Hangar Theatre Company will host the Tom Niederkorn Memorial Celebration. This will be a virtual event that will be available for free on the Hangar's YouTube page.

The memorial, featuring stories and words from many special guests, will celebrate the late Tom Niederkorn's stewardship and advocacy of the Hangar Theatre. Tom Niederkorn passed away in June 2020 at the age of 92. Tom was the driving force behind establishing the Hangar Theatre as a local cultural asset and highly-regarded regional theatre. His passion and drive are largely what made the Hangar Theatre what it is today. Lisa Bushlow, the Hangar Theatre Managing Director from 2000-2012, describes Tom as "...the visionary, the birth parent of the Hangar Theatre."

In addition to Bushlow, special guests of the evening will include Michael Barakiva, Barbara Blanchard, MaryBeth Bunge, Andrea Clardy, Peter Flynn, MJ Herson, Linda Mack, Bob Moss, Dana Mueller, Jerry Smith, Carol True-Palmer, and Thys Van Cort.

Tom was best known as a city planner and community arts leader. Born on August 7, 1928, in Greenville, Ohio,Tom graduated from Greenville High School and went on to earn degrees in architecture and city planning from Miami of Ohio, with advanced degrees in planning and urban design from the University of California at Berkeley. He served in the United States Army from 1955-57 in Japan, and was then hired as Ithaca Resident Planner by the Greater Ithaca Regional Planning Board.

In 1967, Tom secured the funding for complete redesign and development of the Cass Park complex into a major regional recreation and cultural facility. A principal feature of the complex was the concrete block building that had been the old Ithaca Airport, a Depression- era public works project dedicated in 1934 and eventually used extensively in WWII as a pilot training base. Tom saw the opportunity presented by the abandoned building and it was there that the Hangar Theatre was born. In 2010, the theatre was converted into a year-round facility, and Hangar leadership acknowledged Tom's contribution by formally naming the Mainstage the "Niederkorn Stage." Tom was also named "Champion of the Arts" by an organization that he helped found, the Community Arts Partnership.

Bushlow states, "Tom was single handedly behind every improvement...any renovation over the many many years. He was very humble, he did not ask for a dime for his services, and he did not want recognition. In fact, we had to convince him to allow us to name the stage for him. ...Tom was so kind, he would attend every Mainstage production. In fact, every Mainstage dress rehearsal, every KIDDSTUFF dress rehearsal, every KIDDSTUFF show, and all education programs. He was passionate about the future, and passionate about arts and education, and making sure the theatre was around for many generations."

The Hangar thanks the Alums, Chums and Emeriti who made this event possible, with sincere gratitude to Greg Bostwick and Laurel Southard.

The memorial event will be posted to youtube.com/hangartheatre on August 15th at 7:30 PM EDT. There is no cost, but donations can be made in memory of Tom at hangartheatre.org/donate.

If you would like to join the live, post-show chat, registration is required. Please e-mail rsvp@hangartheatre.org to register. The event will also be archived on YouTube.


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