Julie Imhof, 73, from Brookdale Grants Pass in Oregon, has had a lifelong passion for theater. At the age of 12, Julie’s mother took her to her first play. Julie said “I was dazzled by theater from that moment on! I have only built upon that 12 year olds bedazzlement.” Since then, Julie has attended local theater plays and performances throughout her life, but didn’t become involved in theater until later in life. In her 40s or 50s, Julie returned to college to get a degree in English and Literature. About 4 years ago, a local college was threatening to shut down its theater department. In an effort to keep the theater department up and running, Julie signed up for an acting class. She has since taken 3 acting classes through the college, saying “after the first class I was bit by the acting bug! I was 70 years old when I began acting. It is so much fun. You just get caught up in it.” Unfortunately Julie has never been to New York City or seen a live Broadway performance. Julie dreamed of visiting New York City to see a Broadway show and experience the exhilaration of the Big Apple.
Not only has Julie been dedicated to theater, but also arts and culture in her community. Julie is currently a volunteer at the Grants Pass Museum of Art and Grants Pass City Committee of Public Art. Julie has been volunteering with the Museum of Art for 3-4 years as a greeter. As a greeter, Julie mans the gallery and explains to patrons what the art exhibit is. As part of the Grants Pass City Committee of Public Art, Julie looks at types of art to be displayed at various locations around the city.
Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale Senior Living were excited to send Julie and the Brookdale Grants Pass Resident Program Director, Melissa, to New York City from July 12-15, 2017. For years, Julie said she has been intrigued by “the beauty of writing and the characters. You can see the same play in two different places, and you will see two different interpretations. I’m also in awe of the process. All of the backstage workings, the set building and design, choreography. It’s more than memorization – it’s like a dance.” Julie couldn’t wait to experience the thrill of the city and see a live Broadway show. On July 13, Julie visited MoMA, where she got to see the work of artist Robert Rauschenberg. Later that evening, Julie had the opportunity to attend Wicked. Thanks to volunteers from DaVita, Julie also had the opportunity to meet Wicked cast members, including the lead, and tour the venue. Juile said “At Wicked we got to go backstage. I’ve got my 84 seat theater at home to compare. It was huge. I got the casts’ autographs too.” DaVita volunteers continued to make this wish a once in a lifetime experience when they organized a meeting between Julie and the Founder of Camp Broadway, Susan Lee, on July 14. Julie said “We were like a couple of college dorm mates! Sometimes the anticipation is better than the actual experience, but in this case I become speechless when trying to describe how fabulous it was.”
Airport Photos: Steven Glaser
Times Square Photos: Jonica Moore, Jonica Moore Studio