Honoring Women's History Month with Marilou Jorgenson, Seattle Theatre Group's dedicated volunteer
The theme of this year's Women's History Month is "celebrating women who tell our stories". This theme is continually relevant, in that highlighting women's stories empowers other women to pursue their passions and realize their dreams. While there are countless incredible women involved with Seattle Theatre Group (STG), we would like to share the story of Marilou Jorgenson, a volunteer who has contributed over 400 hours at STG's Paramount, Moore, and Neptune theatres over the past year. Read Marilou's personal story below, told in her own words, to learn about her journey to STG and dedication toward helping others.
"Marilou can be found at all three of our theatres for every imaginable genre of show as well as other venues across King County. She gives back so much to the PNW arts and entertainment community, and we absolutely adore her. Thank you so much, Marilou!"- STG's Volunteer Coordinator, Xaviera Vandermay.
From my earliest memories, I have always had a passion for musical theater. When I was in junior high, my class went to see "South Pacific" at the University of Puget Sound. The music and performances completely awestruck me, and that memory has driven me to attend as many performances as possible ever since. My mother was also a lover of music, and she sang every day at home. She even claimed to have been a "torch singer" in the Philippines during WWII, entertaining POWs with her beautiful voice. My mother has always been an inspiration for me, instilling in me the importance of education and a strong work ethic.
After retiring from working at Boeing and my own business, and after my daughter was grown up with a life of her own, there was a new void in my life. I sought fulfillment, through researching volunteer opportunities. The Paramount Theater had an excellent reputation for great shows, so I looked into becoming a volunteer there. Volunteering for the Seattle Theater Group has been a joy for me. I love the variety of shows and cultures that the theater attracts, and the rapport between the STG staff, volunteers, and the audience is heartwarming. I have made many new friends who I know will be a part of my life for a long time.
My favorite shows to volunteer for are Broadway productions, especially "Hamilton," which I have volunteered for over 50 times. As an immigrant, I have a great deal of respect for Lin Manuel Miranda, a Puerto Rican immigrant who has written one of the best musicals of all time. "Wicked" is also at the top of my list, as well as "Moulin Rouge." I also enjoy volunteering for comedy shows, old-time crooners like Tom Jones, and even K-Pop groups.
I intend to continue volunteering for STG until my body or mind decides to quit on me. I have been a licensed Zumba instructor for over 12 years and have been teaching two to four classes a week for Seattle Parks and Recreation for over eight years. By staying physically active and ushering shows 10 times a month, I hope to extend my life.
I am delighted that this country is celebrating Women's History Month, but it is frustrating that women's contributions continue to be overlooked and undervalued. However, I am beyond grateful for all the women who have inspired me throughout my career and in my personal life. I hope that I can inspire others too, into finding what fulfills them most in life and into giving back to their communities. If I had one piece of advice for others, It would be to be kind. I truly believe that by sharing an act of kindness, others will follow and then multiply.