Musical staff

Woodland Opera House celebrates retirement of longtime staff member – Daily Democrat

Eva Sarry joined the Woodland Opera House about two decades ago after her son starred in a play at the historic venue.

It was then that she met Angela Baltezore, executive director of the Woodland Opera House, located at 340 Second St.

“I found out that she had danced professionally in San Francisco and had a life as a dancer,” Baltezore recalls. “It intrigued me, and I said, ‘have you ever thought about teaching dance?’ And there the conversation began.

On Wednesday, former students, cast and crew members, staff and friends of the theater gathered to celebrate Sarry’s retirement. More than three dozen people gathered just outside the Opera House doors with balloons, personal cards and signs as they waved Sarry off and wished him luck on his move to San Francisco. A gift basket was also presented to him on behalf of the Woodland Opera House Board and Staff.

During her time at the Opera, Sarry held many jobs, working as a dance teacher and show director and choreographer for productions such as “Fiddler on the Roof” and “The Brigadoon.” She has also appeared in several productions, including “White Christmas” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie”

Sarry also started the education program at Woodland Opera House. Beginning as a ballet program with just a few classes, the program has since grown exponentially, teaching 300-400 children each year. Along with Baltezore and James Glica-Hernandez, a longtime teacher, mentor and recently deceased musical director, Sarry helped form the Broadway Bound Performing Arts Group, the elite performing group that serves as an ambassador for the Woodland Opera House.

“She has been such an important part of growing our educational program and the choreography and artistic development of our main stage,” Baltezore said.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Baltezore said Sarry decided to take a step back, taking semi-retirement before recently deciding to make retirement permanent.

Baltezore said Sarry’s work for the Woodland Opera House is integral to so much of what happens at the Opera House, citing his favorite parts about working with Sarry as his creativity and the ease with which it is possible to work with her.

“His creativity is phenomenal,” Baltezore said. “She is one of the best storytelling choreographers I have ever worked with. She tells the story of the character in her dance choreography in such a brilliant way.

“She’s also so easy to collaborate with,” Baltazore continued. “So as a director, when I work with her, it’s almost like we don’t have to talk, our thoughts are connected.”