Thanks to Connie Hardison, who sent memorabilia from her involvement with JayRob Productions during the early 70s. This is the March 15, 1973 Special Release announcing the closure of JayRob Productions.
This will be the last season for JayRob Productions according to an announcement made last night by JayRob producer-director Robert A. Wyman to a private meeting of JayRob actors at the Playhouse in Sacramento Inn Plaza.
JayRob will close its doors after 18 years of bringing theatre to Sacramento at the end of the last show of the current season July 21. “Last of the Red Hot Lovers” is currently playing Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30 P.M. and will continue its run thru April 14. “Plaza Suite” plays April 20 thru June 2 and the final show “Gingerbread Lady” runs June 8 thru July 21.
“We did not come to the decision to close the theatre without considerable thought,” Wyman said. “Even before my father passed away in January of 1972, we had discussed closing the Playhouse. In fact, he put together the Neil Simon festival, which we have been doing all this season, as a sort of Grand Finale for JayRob.”
“After 18 years, we feel that we have made our contribution to theatre in Sacramento.” Wyman continued. “There are other interests in our lives which we would like to have time to pursue.”
Eighteen years ago JayRob was founded by Justus and Robert Wyman with the purpose of providing at least one play for area theatergoers every weekend the year ‘round in Sacramento.
One of our main regrets in closing,” Wyman stated, “is that even after 18 years, when JayRob closes there will still be no live theatre in Sacramento on a regular year-round basis. We hate to disappoint the many people who have not missed a JayRob Production since we started. And when someone goes out the door after a performance and tells you how much they enjoyed the show and how glad they are that there is always a JayRob show to go to….well, that’s what makes it hard to bring everything to an end after so many years.”
The theatre has always been a “family affair” for the Wymans, with the late Justus Wyman acting as Producer, Robert Wyman as Director-Scenic Designer, and Alice Wyman as Box Office-Business Manager. Diana Wyman, the former Diana Lions, was the leading lady in JayRob’s first play. She has been JayRob’s Publicity-Graphic Arts Director since 1958 when she married the junior Wyman. The fifth spoke in the JayRob family wheel—although they could never get him to change his name—is family friend Philip Bettens, JayRob’s Technical Director-Stage Manager since the first performance.
JayRob originated in the Fall of 1956. The first production was “Oh, Men! Oh, Women!,” which was staged in Elissa Sharee’s Theatre-Studio Playhouse on 18th Street. The group stayed in the Theatre-Studio two years, moving on to the Little Theatre of Memorial Auditorium in the Fall of 1958.
In 1961 the Wymans were fortunate—they fell in having a theatre built for them with the help of Sacramento businessmen William Gannon, Roy Brophy, Elwood Maleville and Francis Cox. The Playhouse, designed by Robert Wyman, was constructed and is owned by the firm of Gannon-Brophy in the Sacramento Inn Plaza adjacent to Maleville’s Sacramento Inn. Cox was instrumental in the organization’s obtaining equipment for the stage of the Playhouse.
“We have discussed our closure with Gannon-Brophy.” Wyman said. “It is their hope that someone in Sacramento will pick up where we leave off and continue to operate the JayRob Playhouse as a community theatre. This is our hope also.”
To this end, Wyman announced that all equipment and materials are available for purchase to interested groups or individuals. The theatre building will also be available for lease from Gannon-Brophy.
Looking back over the past 18 years, the Wymans have compiled some interesting statistics:
Of the last 6,332 days (18 years) over 4500 have been spent by the Wyman family and the actors and technicians at JayRob on a volunteer basis to bring live theatre to Sacramento.
Alice Wyman has spent 5,616 days of the 6,332 in the box office, personally answering in excess of 450,000 telephone calls for reservations.
JayRob has staged 170 regular productions, including 30 Children’s Theatre shows and has played over 1600 performances. They have also presented 11 special productions for organizations and have toured shows to Woodland, Dixon, Nevada City, Redding and Oroville.
The Wymans also presented the musical “The Fantasticks” at the Hotel Senator as part of a dinner-theatre.
In 1966 the Wymans opened a second theater in the Crossroads Shopping Center. The interior stage and seating platforms were personally constructed by Robert Wyman. The theatre operated for two seasons and was later used by the Centerplayers.
Robert Wyman has designed and constructed over 200 stage sets for JayRob and he and the late Justus Wyman personally directed all but 5 of the shows.