For over 40 years, the Lyric Theater reigned the weekend ‘moving picture’ scene in tiny Fairport Harbor, Ohio. It shut down in 1962 and fell into disrepair, joining the village’s many empty storefronts.
As theatre director at Fairport Harding High School from 2011-2014, LEC alumnus Joe Fath ’11 became entrenched in the community’s creative health. He recently started a production company, LytHouse, LLC, to funnel more community theater into Fairport – and to “Lyt up the Lyric.”
On May 4-6 and 10-11, a Fath-directed production of “August: Osage County” will be first in “Lyt up the Lyric,” a campaign to renovate the treasured Lyric Theater in partnership with Fairport’s alternative school, the Diamond Fine Arts & Sciences Regional Institute.
“The Diamond Regional Institute met with me and loved the idea of bringing a community theater to Fairport Harbor, Ohio with an opportunity for supplemental education for their fine arts program,” he said. “The collaboration between the Diamond Regional Institute and LytHouse, LLC needs a sponsorship of $200,000 to get it to code and ‘safe’ and at least $2,000,000 for a full renovation.”
When he graduated from LEC in 2011, Fath was recommended as director of theatre to Fairport Harding by LEC Associate Professor of Theatre Jerry Jaffe, PhD. During a brief hiatus from that post, Fath sought expertise in a related field. He earned his M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Kent State University in 2017.
“After a break from the creative world, I have returned with my business LytHouse, LLC, with a mission ‘To Build, Grow, and Entertain; A guiding light for artists,’” he said. “I have been fortunate to maintain wonderful relationships in the Fairport Harbor area that allow me to have the creative freedom as a director and as a businessperson with the hope to grow a community of theater in Fairport Harbor.”
His upcoming production of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning tragicomedy by Tracy Letts will run in the former WindSurf Ohio, now Diamond Gallery located at 225 High St. Tickets will cost $10.
Opening weekend will feature a “post-show talk-back” with keynote speaker Annaleise Lessick, a Counseling Education Services Ph.D. candidate from Kent State University. She will discuss mental health, substance use and hope: central motifs in a play about the repressed darkness of a Midwestern family in America.
Meant for mature audiences, “August: Osage County” is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.
The group’s next production will be an adaptation of “A Midsummer Night's Dream” set to run from Friday, June 29 through Sunday, July 8, 2018.
In a flurry, Fath’s career has been empowered by the hope and care that guide LEC students and graduates.
“The liberal arts education I received at LEC helped me become the kind, knowledgeable person I am today,” he said.
He has shown that Lake Erie College’s regional and academic heritage can form the basis of lasting transformation for people and for the Arts.
For more information about “Lyt up the Lyric” or its upcoming production of “August: Osage County,” contact Joe Fath at LytHouse2018@gmail.com.
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