With a hit show like “Chicago” on the boards, it’s unusual for major drama to happen before the curtain goes up, but that was the case Friday, March 6, 2020 at the Robert Frost Auditorium.
Culver City Education Foundation Interim Executive Director Wendy Hamill took to the podium to make a brief speech about a very beloved teacher who had been the first to produce a show at the Robert Frost when it originally opened.
Hamill noted, “His name is Sanford Bodger and he was the beloved drama teacher at the high school from 1964 until 1982. Mr. Bodger was the first theater teacher to direct performances in the then newly built Robert Frost Auditorium. Mr. Bodger passed away in 2018. As a tribute to his dedication to Culver City students, Mr. Bodger’s family has chosen to make a leadership gift to CCEF’s Art’s Endowment fund in the amount of $250,000. Tonight, we would like to honor Sanford Bodger’s legacy as we formally dedicate in his name the stunning proscenium arch that is a focal point of the recent renovations of this incredible building.”
As round of applause went up from the audience, many of whom had attended the “VIP Reception” earlier that evening, where actors in costume served ‘mocktails’ and appetizers, chatting up guests Chicago-style.
The crowd included many former students of Bodger, as well as friends and relatives who had traveled to attend the Frost that evening, and they were pleased to hear that the Sanford Bodger Proscenium Arch would now be “forever be smiling down on our students for years to come.”
Hamill continued ” I know that we can all think back and remember a special teacher who connected with us in a profound way that helped shape our future selves. Sanford Bodger was that teacher for many. His students say he was caring, kind, accepting, that he really listened with his heart. He believed in his kids and in turn helped them to believe in themselves. The Culver City Education Foundation has launched its Arts Endowment campaign to build a long term funding resource to ensure the sustainability and expansion of arts education in all our schools. This leadership gift helps pave the way toward that ambitious goal.”
When the curtain rose on the notorious Velma and Roxie, it was all red curtains and dancing black shoes, and the Blurred Vision Theater Company turned in an outstanding performance.
Every old theater has a few ghosts; now the Frost officially has Bodger as a the spirit in residence.