Monday, August 9, 2004

With this couple's help, the show will go on

He builds sets, she makes costumes

By Janet Wetzel
Enquirer contributor

By day, the Rev. Jerry Hill and his wife, June, deal with the realities of life as he ministers at Clifton United Methodist Church and she teaches at Oak Hills High School.

Jerry Hill of Clifton helps build the set for Footloose at the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts.
(Enquirer photo/MELISSA HEATHERLY)
But when the work day ends, they let their imaginations soar as they spend hours working on stage shows for Cincinnati Landmark Productions, a nonprofit company that heads Showboat Majestic and the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts.

She makes costumes. He helps design and build stage sets that can consume up to 2,000 square feet.

June didn't bat an eye when she was called upon to help design and make 300 costumes for a recent production of The Wizard of Oz. Jerry has helped build massive sets for that show, for West Side Story, and other productions.

"Jerry and June are really special people. They often know the things that need done before you think of them," said company director Tim Perrino.

Perrino and his wife, Jennifer, run the company, which was founded in 1992 and performs about a dozen shows a year.

Even when the Hills are busy with their full-time jobs, they find time to volunteer weekends and evenings.

"But I've been in the middle of a set construction and I've had to drop everything and go to someone in the hospital or to do a funeral,'' said Jerry, who inherited his creativity from his father. "Our jobs come first, but I'm fortunate, and grateful to have flexibility, and June is off summers, so that helps.''

The couple began volunteering for the center in 1998 when their son and daughter, Jacob and Martha, were in a production. Parents were asked to help, said June, who teaches vocal music and musical theater. Soon she and Jerry, who also helps with her school productions, found themselves hooked. "We love it. We laugh all the time. It's so much fun to spend time with the kids," especially during the large annual production for the Cincinnati Young People's Theater, June said. "Jerry loves teaching them set design and construction, and I teach them how to put costumes together."


Do you know a Hometown Hero - someone in your community dedicated to making it a better place to live and helping others? E-mail Janet Wetzel at or fax to 513-755-4150.

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