Posted by Bruce Miller
In conjunction with the 20th Anniversary of the release of The Little Mermaid (the Disney animated feature), it has been announced that our own Pat Carroll will be named a Disney Legend in December of this year. We couldn’t be happier for our dear friend Pat. She’s always been a legend in our eyes, so it’s about time Disney stopped and smelled the coffee.
It’s fun to remember that 2009 also marks the 10th Anniversary of Pat receiving Richmond’s Key to the City from then Mayor (now Governor) Tim Kaine. When I learned of Pat's upcoming Disney honor, I asked for a search through our photo files to see if we had anything commemorating her Richmond honor. Look what was found.
In 1999, Pat was in town to co-star with Irene Ziegler in Theatre IV’s production of Grace and Glorie at the Oates Theatre at Collegiate School. Prior to his election as Mayor, Tim was our City Council representative—he served the district in which the Empire Theatre and Theatre IV’s offices are located. Ten years ago, we knew Tim pretty well.
Phil and I wanted to honor Pat for her great work on Grace and Glorie with Theatre IV, so we asked Tim if he’d consider granting Pat the Key to the City. Turned out our then Mayor/now Governor was a big fan, so he immediately agreed.
We knew that Pat's original connection to Richmond was all through Barksdale, so we called together some faithful Board members from the Theatre IV Board (Tracy Schwarzschild and Sara Belle November) and the Barksdale Board (Neil November and Carrie Galeski), and asked Barksdale Artistic Director Randy Strawderman if he would join us. Pete and company were tied up with something or other and unable to make it. We bought Pat a corsage, and together we all trundled down to City Hall for a ceremony in the Mayor’s Office.
Turns out the Key to the City (at least in Richmond) is more of a plaque than an actual key. Nonetheless, Tim was very gracious and Pat was quite taken with him. She predicted great things in his political future. It was a very festive afternoon and everyone, including the Mayor and Pat had a grand time. We even got a little TV coverage on the evening news.
This was two years before the events of 2001, when Barksdale and Theatre IV struck up our current strategic alliance. Turns out it presaged the wonderful cooperation that was soon to come. And Pat's predictions about Tim's future also came true--first with his election as Lieutenant Governor and now Governor--and an outstanding one at that!
We offer many, many congratulations to Pat for being named a Disney Legend. In addition to the Key to Richmond, she will always hold the key to our hearts.