MURIEL'S LEGACY

 

What was it about Muriel Sharon that made her so special to all of us?

To a man and a woman, the response to this query was, "it was the best", "most happiest", "the high-point", "the most magical moment in my life", "it was fun!"

 

She was spectacular, stunning, elegant; a teacher and director of unparalleled gifts who got the best out of us and more, much, much more. She unlocked our imagination. She was our Muse. 

 

Muriel was the Chairman of the Children’s Acting Department of the 92nd Street YM-YWHA from 1947-1970.  She was the Artistic Director of the Junior Program at The Neighborhood Playhouse, taught child drama at Cornell University and Ithaca College and was the founder of The Pocket Players, Inc., a theater company that toured New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and eastern Pennsylvania with adult and child actors. 

 

She produced plays that could rival any Broadway or regional theater with costumes that were works of art, as memorable to the child actors as much as the plays themselves, props that were as hilarious as they were true and scenery that popped out of the world of 3-dimensional Victorian postcards. “It is our tendency today to look askance at anything in our lives which has do to do with make believe or fantasy” she said. That was it folks…make believe and fantasy.  Boy, were we lucky.  “Children are not afraid!”

 

In her Tuesday acting class and the annual plays that directed as part of The Production Workshop at the 92nd Street Y she introduced her students to Commedia dell’Arte, medieval and Shakespearean plays, plays written by contemporary playwrights, working in tandem with set and costume designers, mime and singing coaches and Commedia dell’Arte mask makers and to the stories of Oscar Wilde, Charlotte Bronte and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. 

 

Beyond compare, in a class by herself, and … I’m at a loss for words ... so 

 

Without further ado, let the curtain rise on the Life and Art of Muriel Sharon Tillim as seen through the eyes of her students and everyone who knew her. 

 

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Betsy Hellman and Malcolm Nagin

The Servant of Two Masters Photo Credit: Jerry Pantzer