Don Scobey wears a lot of Orpheum hats. He’s a donor, a season ticket holder, and a member of FOTO, the Orpheum’s volunteer usher group. We recently talked with him about what he loves most about the Theatre.
You’ve been a Friend of the Orpheum (FOTO) Member for the past 6 years. What do you like most about volunteering?
I just love working the shows! I’m a relationship kind of guy, so when folks come to the Orpheum for the first time and I get to help introduce them to the theatre, it gives me a chance to connect with people. And I’ve developed very close friendships with the other ushers – we’re like a family.
You’re a lifelong Memphian who’s been coming to the Orpheum since the 60s. Tell us more.
Back then, it was a Malco. I remember taking a date to see Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in 1969. I was trying to make a good impression and the Orpheum was so cool, it’s always been one my favorite places. After college, I worked for a company who used tickets to entertain clients. I’ve had season ticket since my children were small and my oldest daughter Samantha and I have a subscription together. All three of my kids enjoy it, but Samantha really loves it like I do.
And you bought those seats through our Name A Seat campaign!
Yes! I wanted to support the Orpheum. But I also wanted to honor my daughter because going to the theatre is our thing – we always do it together. And do you know what I put on my little seat plates? Hers says: “Samantha, my Broadway buddy” and mine says: “Don, Broadway daddy”.
On top of everything else, you’re an Orpheum donor. What inspires you to give to a theatre you already do so much for?
I saw a report in 2018 that only 5% of charitable donations were directed to the Arts. Without public support, the Arts really don’t exist. The Orpheum is a treasure, so I donate what I can. I love that the Orpheum has started programs like Camp SAY and Mending Hearts Camp in the past few years, and all the arts education programs happening at the Theatre – that’s the value theatre brings to the community.