Nita Paine
The Good Life|March 2021
‘I love that we provide an outlet to people to express themselves, to find out who they are’

The thousands of people-hours needed to create community theater productions in our region are gladly donated by hundreds of volunteers.

Generally, they’re unpaid but professional, in the spotlight but often humble, ambitious but content to stay here.

This story highlights just one of the many: Nita Paine, the chair of the board of trustees of Music Theatre of Wenatchee.

First, go back in time a year or so, pre-pandemic: picture an evening at the Riverside Playhouse. You sip a glass of wine in the lobby, scan again the photos of past plays, then find your place in the chatty, semi-lit theater and peruse your program. You may ooh and ahh at the waiting sets.

At an invisible signal, the house darkens and conversation stops. Perhaps an orchestra plays the show’s overture. Two actors slip quietly onto stage, a spotlight haloes them and the world changes. A playwright’s words become a suspended reality.

That moment is what theater lovers love most. And in our own downtown, repeated dozens of times a year, that moment has been happening for Music Theatre of Wenatchee (MTOW) since 1961. It’s supposed to look and feel like magic for the audience. But it’s work, and as are so many arts enterprises, it’s a labor of love.

Nita was at first reluctant to do this interview. “I’m not really an artist,” she demurred, “And there are people who know a lot more about this theater than I do.”

Well, possibly. But because she has been instrumental, active and involved in MTOW’s continuous success for over four decades, it seemed like a good bet.

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