Stepping in for James Grob, come see
By CHRIS BALDUS, editor
Oelwein Daily Register
First, I want to say a few things about James Grob, former sports editor for the Oelwein Daily Register.
As a young man in the late 1990s, he returned to his hometown after a stint in New Ulm, Minnesota, to make the Register’s sports section “the best in the state of Iowa” as he told Oelwein Rotary on an April afternoon in 1999.
His sports section won awards in the annual Iowa Newspaper Association and Associated Press contest. More meaningful, however, were the cards, letters and thank you notes he received from kids, parents coaches and sports fans, he said in his farewell column in October 2000 as he headed to another job in Ottumwa. Seems he left a little frustrated he was not able to do more.
I gleaned all this only from a cursory search into the newspaper archives at the Oelwein Public Library. I only looked because we are now inextricably linked.
It can be a nomadic life in the newspaper business. I know. My family has tolerated my career that has taken us from Minnesota to Wisconsin to Idaho to Iowa, but that is beside the point.
These days, James is a reporter at a Charles City newspaper, and he and his wife, teacher Michelle Grob, have played key roles in revitalizing that city’s community theater troupe — The Stony Point Players.
Michelle Grob, who directed “The Wizard of Oz” in 2018 — with James in the cast — is directing “The Wedding Singer” this year. Stony Point Players presented “Spamalot” in 2019 and then had to take 2020 off because of the pandemic.
More than 40 people from sixth graders to Grandma Linda have turned out to put on this summer’s musical. They’ve been working on it since April.
James was set to return to the stage again this year, but had to step away. And this is where your erstwhile editor has stepped in.
Oh, I suppose I should add that my daughter, Rosie, is the play’s stage manager, which is how I was recruited. She also drew in two of my college-age children into the play as well. My son, Colton, gets to give the main character an inebriated peck on the cheek while my daughter, Anastasia gets to slug the guy. I’m so proud.
James was going to be a Ronald Reagan impersonator. Now I am. It might have been a role he was born to play. I’ve had to study SNL, squeeze my head into a strange wig and eat lots of jelly beans.
Regardless, opening night for the show was Wednesday, and if you are interested in seeing what the Grobs have done for Charles City’s community theater, there are two more shows left in the run — Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. in the North Grand Auditorium (their old middle school building).
And if you want to see my take on a dancing Reagan, I suppose you can come see that too.
Tickets are on sale at the door: $5 for students, $12 for adults.
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