After a 30-year corporate career and seven cross-country moves, the stage was set for my personal “Second Act.” A recent retiree, I decided to take a chance and audition for Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s Ragtime. I was looking for a new adventure, and I knew Civic Theatre was a safe and welcoming space for anyone interested in trying new things.

At the audition, I think I blacked out on my feet, as I don’t remember anything about it. To my shock, I received a call two days later, welcoming me to my first role at Civic Theatre. I can honestly say there are few things in my life that I am more proud of than being cast for the first time – at 56 years old!

Civic Theatre has given me the opportunity to do something I fell in love with over 35 years ago, but never thought plausible. I am now in great physical shape (learning to dance next to a group of 20-year-olds is hard work!) and stay mentally sharp from memorizing lines. Civic Theatre gave me a chance to pursue my dreams, no matter how unlikely they seemed.

I am truly grateful for what Civic Theatre has done for me in my Second Act. As a volunteer and Board Member, I know that my life is not the only one impacted. Every day, the lives of over 1,600 students and 700 volunteers are transformed at Civic Theatre.

None of these transformations – from increased confidence to courageous Second Acts – would be possible without you as a donor. Your support is vital to ensure Civic Theatre remains a community treasure.  Please make a financial gift today, and help give the gift of transformation to another individual like me.


Eddie Stephens is an actor, volunteer, and Board Member for Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. If you believe in the power of Second Acts, please make a year-end donation to Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. Every donation makes a difference in bringing the magic of live theatre to our community!