Newark’s Chapel Street Players Honor Renee O’Leary During 50th FUNdraiser

Professional educator Renee O’Leary celebrates her 50th appearance at the playhouse’s annual summer fundraiser, which was renamed in her honor.

Renee O’Leary, in one way, shape or form, has appeared in every summer fundraiser since we started doing them 50 years ago,” says Scott Mason, president of the Chapel Street Players in Newark. That appearance may have been her legs walking past the portal of a cruise ship, but there have been 49 nonetheless. Which makes it only fitting that when the Players’ 50th FUNdraiser happens June 7, it will begin to be known as The Renee O’Leary Summer FUNdraiser. “It’s just incredible,” says O’Leary. “It’s embarrassing, touching, awesome—all of the above.” This year’s show, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” will feature O’Leary, a professional educator for 52 years, playing old man Erronius, in search of his long-lost children. “I asked if they could re-write the part as a woman,” O’Leary says—as they did last year, when she played the part of Dr. Scott in “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” bawdy costume and all. “They said, ‘Oh no. It must be a man.’” She laughs. “This is social suicide all the way, all the way.” (368-2248,

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