Sue McCollum was one of the “45 stagestruck participants” that attended an organizational meeting of HLT at the Sebring Art Center, on April 11, 1974, almost thirty-one years ago. Her name appeared in the article that reported on that historic meeting and noted that she was named to the Planning Committee with “other persons of theater experience.”
During her first five years with HLT Sue was involved in 9 of its 16 shows. In Pure As The Driven Snow, the first show put on by HLT in July of 1974, she made her debut as Imogene Pickens. In the playbill of that show the audience was told that she portrayed Sabrina in Sabrina Fair; Lorraine Sheldon in The Man Who Came To Dinner, and the Conjur Woman in Dark of the Moon while attending Livingston State University in Alabama.
Sue also acted in the second HLT production Dear Phoebe, and was on the Production Staff in charge of advertising. The first play of the second season, Come Blow Your Horn, found her back on the stage as Mrs. Baker and in the second show of the second season, Deadwood Dick, she was in charge of make-up, the third show, Barefoot in the Park, found her involved in advertising again.
Sue was in charge of publicity in two of the three third season plays, Ten Little Indians, and Blythe Spirit. Harvey opened the fourth season and it’s advertising and publicity was deftly handled by the seasoned Mrs. McCollum. The fifth season brought HLT’s first musical to Highlands County, Fiddler on the Roof, and Sue was once again involved in advertising. She had contributed to every season of the first five years, either acting, or in make-up, advertising and publicity, and as this wasn’t enough, from January 1975 to April, 1976 she officiated as the group’s third President.
During the Second Five Years of HLT (1979-1984) the organization presented 21 shows and Sue was involved in 16 of them which included: South Pacific, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, No Mother to Guide Her, Anything Goes, Teahouse of the August Moon, Camelot, Auntie Mame, Guys and Dolls, Deathtrap, Heaven Can Wait, Oliver!, Annie Get Your Gun, Born Yesterday, Can Can, andThe Owl and the Pussycat. HLT had now put on 37 shows and the active Mrs. McCollum had been involved in 25 of them.
The Third Five Years (1984-1989) presented 25 more shows and the tireless Sue was involved in 24 of them: The Lion in Winter, Pajama Game, The Man Who Came To Dinner, Brigadoon, Once Upon a Mattress, Annie, No, No, Nannette, Arsenic and Old Lace, I Do, I Do; Vanities; Forum, You Can’t Take It With You; Fiddler #2; The Fantastics; The Odd Couple #2; Cabaret, Barefoot in the Park #2; Carousel, Damn Yankees, Man of La Mancha; Harvey #2; The King and I, Sweet Charity, and Mr. Roberts #2. At this point out of the 62 shows presented by HLT, Sue had something to do with 49 of them.
During the Fourth 5 years of HLT’s existence (1989-1994) Sue was involved in 13 of the 25 plays: The Unsinkable Molly Brown; On Golden Pond #1; My Fair Lady #2; Hello Dolly; Don’t Drink the Water #2; Oklahoma!; Steel Magnolias; The Music Man; Little Shop of Horrors; Funny Girll; Nunsense, Nunsense II; and Meet Me In St. Louis. Sue won her first Zenon as Best Supporting Actress in Nunsenseas the well meaning, but still not quite ready for final vows novice, Sister Leo.
At the 14th Zenon Ceremony in October of 1999, Sue was presented her second Zenon for her many efforts on the Scholarship Committee. It was during this Fifth 5 years period (1994-1999) that she was involved in 6 regular presentations: Play It Again Sam; The Secret Garden; Forever Plaid; Godspell; Rumors; and The Wizard of Oz; plus two “extra” shows: The CAT production of The Left Footed Princess, and Sounds of the Season, Christmas, 1998, which brought her participation in theatrical presentations to 70.
The 26th year involved Sue in 5 “regular” shows: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Annie Get Your Gun #2; Bye, Bye Birdie; Run For Your Wife; and Oliver!, and the “CAT” production ofRumplestiltskin for a total of 76 shows in all. It was at the end of this year that Sue added two more Zenons to her collection for a total of 4. She received one for her production work on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; and the other, the most coveted of all Zenons, when she was named the 15th recipient of The Janelou Buck Significant Achievement Award for her 26 years of selfless service to HLT.
During the 27th Season (2000-2001) she was involved in 5 more HLT shows: On Golden Pond # 2; The King and I #2; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; Moon Over Buffalo; and West Side Storywhich raised her participation level in shows at HLT to a glorious 81. It was also her pleasant duty at the 16th Zenon Ceremonies to present the Janelou Buck Significant Achievement Award to that season’s winner, Helen Curcio.
The 28th Season (2001-2002) saw Sue working in Anthony’s Lounge during Guys and Dolls #2 and Foxfire; the Production Assistant of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; working again in Anthony’s Lounge during the runs of Move Over Mrs. Markham and Peter Pan.
Sue directed her fourth play during the 29th Season (2002-2003), a revival of the longest running Off-Broadway musical, The Fantasticks, in August, 2003. Her other three productions includedVanities (1986); Godspell (1997); and Bye, Bye, Birdie (2000). Earlier in the season she had either worked as a sous chef in the Gourmet Division or as part of the staff of Anthony’s Lounge for the four earlier shows.
During the 30th Season (2003-2004) Sue worked with the staff of Anthony’s Lounge during all five main stage shows and was involved in the Patriotic Review given at the Lakeside Playhouse on the Fourth of July.
In November, 2004, at the first Membership meeting of the 31st Season, Mrs. McCollum was unanimously voted by the membership to join the ranks of HLT’s most exclusive club, Life Members. Sue became the tenth person in the theater’s 30 years of existence to attain this splendid honor. Her name now appears with the names of Tena Conyer, Holly Elliott, Goldie Garnich, Jim McCollum, Frank Oberhausen, Beverly Padgett, Peter Pollard, Judy Sutter, and Larry Wollangk, as proof of her many contributions to HLT.
So far in the 31st Season, Sue’s name has appeared in the program of Frank Oberhausen’s reprise of The Music Man, as a member of the staff of what remains of Anthony’s Lounge. She has now worked in or with 96 HLT productions, which amount to 70% of all the presentations made at Highlands Little Theatre.
Congratulations Sue on your latest honor which is an emblem of the uncountable hours of effort you have devoted to HLT and also to your contagious excitement which has done so much to make the organization the outstanding treasure it has become in Highlands County. You are one of its jewels and you certainly deserve this gem of an award in your crown which you so assiduously have earned.