BHT Member Memorials – Cynthia Gowen

Cynthia Gowen

Died April 5, 2020

Cynthia Gowen joined the Blue Hill Troupe in 1991. Recruited to be the “gypsy” violinist in the fall production of She Loves Me by friend and Troupe member Joanna Pickett, the show’s music director, Cynthia lit up the stage in the cafe scene. Vigorously encouraged by the cast, she auditioned for the Frontstage and was admitted that same fall.

Along with her fiddling talents (as she liked to refer to the violin), and singing, she was an accomplished dancer, and went on to choreograph and perform in many spring and fall productions. Admired for her patience when teaching BHT’s dance-challenged to move well, her brilliant but accessible choreography enhanced a number of Troupe shows, especially Cabaret (which she also directed), Mr. Cinders, Utopia, and Pirates of Penzance.

No slouch on the stage, she won the Troupe’s Sunny Hayward Center Stage award—given to an outstanding ensemble member—for her hysterical portrayal of Hildebrand’s wife in Princess Ida, a character that Gilbert must have forgotten to add to his libretto. Off the stage, she served on the BHT Board in the 1997/98 season, another Sorcerer year, and co-produced several summer concerts performed by members of the … Continued

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BHT Member Memorials – Kathryn Bedke

Kathryn Bedke

Died March 31, 2020

Kathryn’s story is a miracle of sorts. She survived for years, battling cancer after cancer, on sheer will and an amazing “hang in there” spirit. She had fought off so many near misses that people had come to believe that she might just be immortal.

Born November 3, 1951, and raised in Ravenna, NE, Kathryn Lynn Bedke graduated from Kirkland College, Harvard Divinity School and Case Western Reserve School of Law. She was the most wonderful combination of sophisticated New York lawyer and country girl from Nebraska. She was very proud of her Nebraska roots. In her distinguished legal career, Kathryn practiced law at White & Case, Davidson & Grannum, and Wohl & Entwistle; she also served as an enforcement attorney for the SEC and an adjunct professor at New York Law School.

Kathryn loved music, specifically Gilbert & Sullivan. She traveled to Buxton, England to participate in shows at the International G&S Festival. She also loved entertaining in her lovely Chelsea apartment, where you would meet her devoted feline friend, GC (for Girl Cat, of course). Kathryn, 68, died at home on March 31, 2020, of complications from colon cancer. She is … Continued

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BHT Member Memorials – Don Woodman

Don Woodman was—where do I start?—a lawyer, a decorated Brigadier General in the Air Force Reserve, and one of the best musical theatre/G&S performers ever. He was smart, funny, a sometimes marathoner, a bit of a rogue, and a great drinking buddy.

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BHT Member Memorials – Dan Cammerman

Dr. Daniel Cammerman

Died December 18, 2019

Dr. Daniel J. Cammerman, age 50, died suddenly on December 18, 2019, in Central Park. Daniel was born in England on September 7, 1969. After receiving a BA and MA, 1st Class Honors at Oxford University, Daniel attended the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Daniel was a revered pediatrician at Mount Sinai and Uptown Pediatrics, and he joined the Troupe as a Bass in 1999. Daniel was a Gondolier (2000) and a Dragoon Guard (2001), even as he was undergoing his residency at Mount Sinai Hospital. When he was a chorus member, I was painting sets, so I knew of him, but we were not close friends. All that changed when I became pregnant.

Having had little contact with children, I felt I must educate myself about pediatricians. Daniel was kind enough to set up an informational interview with me. I liked him immediately, particularly because of his calm, honest, often droll demeanor. After many questions, I sheepishly asked if there were ever room on his schedule of clients, might we be added to his waiting list? With an enormous twinkle of an eye, he said “you could be on MY … Continued

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BHT Member Memorials – Margaret Ritter Nicholas

Margaret “Gretchen” Ritter Nicholas

Died December 7, 2019

The Troupe’s longest continuous member, Margaret Ritter Nicholas, always known as “Gretchen,” died on December 7, 2019 at the age of 104. Gretchen joined the Troupe in 1939, when she was married to Graham D. Mattison, who had been a Trouper himself, performing in our productions in 1931 and 1932. She first appeared on the Troupe stage as one of the Contadine (pictured here) in our 1940 production of The Gondoliers. She continued to sing in the chorus of the Troupe’s shows in 1941, 1943, 1945, 1948 and 1949, when her final Troupe performance was as a Rapturous Maiden in our 1949 production of Patience. Gretchen remained a member of the Troupe for the rest of her life, which I believe qualifies her for a record of 80 years of Troupe membership. She continued to support our performances until she was physically unable to do so.

A lifelong New Yorker, who was deeply devoted to music and to caring for others, Gretchen was a highly respected member of the board of the Metropolitan Opera Guild, where she served in many leadership positions over the course of her 62 years of board … Continued

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BHT Member Memorials -Bill Hamlen

Bill Hamlen

Died October 16, 2019

A dedicated and beloved member of the Troupe since 1950, William Thorndike Hamlen died October 16, 2019, at his home in Freeport, Maine, at the age of 95.

Bill was born in Boston in 1924—coincidentally the year the Blue Hill Troupe was founded in Bluehill, Maine. This was clearly a sign that music would have a prominent role in his life. After attending St. Mark’s School and then Harvard, he left college to serve in WWII’s Army Air Corps. He returned to finish his undergraduate degree and then went on to get an MBA from Harvard’s Business School. But business wasn’t his only calling. During his senior year, Bill was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers as a catcher for their Nova Scotia farm team. Who knew he’d started out as a professional athlete?

Bill soon joined the corporate world, working his way up to become Manager of IBM’s Cambridge sales office, finally capping his 45-year career there as a marketing executive in Advanced Systems Development. But Bill always made time to sing. He was a stalwart member of the Troupe’s bass chorus for decades, singing alongside his brother Joe. Serving as BHT President … Continued

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BHT Member Memorials – Tom Ruhm

The Blue Hill Troupe lost a stalwart Frontstage member when Tom Ruhm passed away at his summer home in Quogue, NY on July 25, 2019. At Tom’s memorial service in Bronxville, NY shortly thereafter, his son, also Tom, remembered his father with loving words, among them, “My Dad loved to sing. He had a gorgeous baritone voice. While a young bachelor in New York City, he joined the Blue Hill Troupe…It was there that he would grow intrigued by a beautiful and endlessly fascinating young woman, Michèle Wood. After a short courtship, they were married in a memorable wedding in Oyster Bay, NY.”

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BHT Member Memorials – Betsy Goodwin

Betsy Goodwin

Died July 9, 2019

Betsy Goodwin had a gift for friendship. Her memorial celebration in the fall of 2019 was attended by friends and family from all over the country. There were people from childhood, college, jobs, overseas postings, and, of course, the Troupe. Speaker after speaker told about having gotten absorbed by life priorities (jobs, children), and allowing their correspondence with Betsy to lapse. “But she wouldn’t let me go!” they exclaimed. Most had at least one story of Betsy’s brilliance as a raconteur. Her stories often centered on the exploits of one of the Goodwins’ many dachshunds (Dexter, the current charismatic incumbent, is number eleven).

She was game for anything, even if it was outside her comfort zone. Though she wasn’t a horse person, and didn’t much go in for wilderness camping, she jumped right in to join a pack trip in the rugged Wind River Mountains of Wyoming. It turned out she was plagued by shoulder issues that would soon require surgical repair. Which meant that doing what one does on a wilderness pack trip—pitching and striking tents, getting on and off horses, and riding for hours on narrow, steep trails—really hurt. But she … Continued

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