Marji Dodrill, Actress, Model, and Talent

May 12, 2017

By Janet Dodrill

Tribute to Marjorie “Marji” Dodrill

Marji Dodrill, 1931-2004

Marji Dodrill, 1931-2004

 

Marji Dodrill, A Little Night Music (Mme Armfeldt), (Cain Park Theatre &) St. Louis Repertory/Great Lakes Theatre, Cleveland, 1998

Marji Dodrill, A Little Night Music (Mme Armfeldt), (Cain Park Theatre &) St. Louis Repertory/Great Lakes Theatre, Cleveland, 1998

 

Marji Dodrill, Driving Miss Daisy (Miss Daisy), Lakeland Community College, Cleveland, 1995

Marji Dodrill, Driving Miss Daisy (Miss Daisy), Lakeland Community College, Cleveland, 1995

 

Marji Dodrill, Follies (Phyllis), (Baldwin Wallace College &) Cain Park Theatre, Cleveland, 1988

Marji Dodrill, Follies (Phyllis), (Baldwin Wallace College &) Cain Park Theatre, Cleveland, 1988

 

Marji Dodrill, My Fair Lady (Mrs. Higgins), (Lyric Opera &) Cleveland Opera, Cleveland, 1989

Marji Dodrill, My Fair Lady (Mrs. Higgins), (Lyric Opera &) Cleveland Opera, Cleveland, 1989

 

Marji Dodrill, Rape of the Belt, Dobama Theatre, Cleveland, 1962

Marji Dodrill, Rape of the Belt, Dobama Theatre, Cleveland, 1962

 

Marji Dodrill, House Hunt (Hostess), weekly real estate television show, Cleveland, 1968

Marji Dodrill, House Hunt (Hostess), weekly real estate television show, Cleveland, 1968

 

Marji Dodrill, Donald Bianchi's Memorial Service, Dobama Theatre, Cleveland, 2003

Marji Dodrill, Donald Bianchi’s Memorial Service, Dobama Theatre, Cleveland, 2003

 

Marji Dodrill, AFTRA talent guide head shot, Cleveland, 2000

Marji Dodrill, AFTRA talent guide head shot, Cleveland, 2000

 

Marji Dodrill, Modeling shot, NYC, 1950s

Marji Dodrill, Modeling shot, NYC, 1950s

 

Testimonials About Marji Dodrill

My grandma, Marji Dodrill, taught me many important lessons. She taught me how to take pride in my falls, and to recover from them. She started off my career in acting at the Marylin Bianchi Kid’s Playwriting Festival at Dobama Theatre. She also taught me to enjoy life. Not until she died last summer from a reoccurrence of cancer did I realize she was and will be the most important person in my life. – Max Krieger (age 12)

MARJI – If there is any one thing to say about Marji – and there never was just one – it is that she made everyone feel good about themselves. When you talked to her you always knew you had a friend. On stage with her you could feel your own star shine. No play was insignificant, no role too small and a supporting role was often more important to her than any lead. Family and friends came first in her life and a friend could always count on Marji. At age seven she wanted to be an actor. With the Curtain Pullers and Cain Park she practically grew up in theater, but then she moved to New York City to begin her work all over again. “It’s going to be a long hard process,” she wrote home to her childhood friend, “but someday we’ll be great –and you’d better hurry up and get here so you can be great, too.” It is so wonderful to know we have friends like Marji and can all be great together. That’s how Marji made us feel. – Everett Dodrill

…Often after work I’d stop at Nighttown and have a drink with brand-new Cleveland friends – like Marji Dodrill, who worked at Marcus and was vital in helping us do run-throughs of the Cash Explosion show in the office to make sure the game worked. She was one of the best actresses I’ve ever met, and after I settled here three years later I saw her onstage many times in such plays as Driving Miss Daisy, Medea, and The Perfect Ganesh. We remained friends until she eventually lost the toughest and bravest fight I’ve ever seen anyone wage against cancer. She was my personal hero, and I was flattered and moved that her husband, Everett, asked me to be one of speakers at her memorial service. (By the way, the Dodrill house and the Alexander house were used as settings in my future novels. In my first Cleveland book, Pepper Pike, my descriptions of my detective hero’s former home, the one in which his ex-wife still lives, is reminiscent of Marj and Everett’s place in Cleveland Heights….) Source: Les Roberts, Author, We’ll Always Have Cleveland

Career Highlights

MARJI DODRILL
AFTRA, SAG, EQUITY
Height: 5’6” Hair: Blond Weight: 123 Eyes: Green

The Early Years: Cleveland & NYC
Dramatic Training:
Curtain Pullers: Cleveland Playhouse 1943-49

Cain Park Theatre 1943-49

Western Reserve College, Oxford, O. 1949-51

Tamara Daykarhanova, N.Y.C. 1951-52

Dramatic Experience:
Civic Little Theatre, Allentown, Pa. 1960, lead in “Once More With Feeling”

Pennsylvania Playhouse, Bethlehem, Pa. 1960, lead in “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs”

Taught drama to crippled children in summer 1960, camp, Allentown, Pa.

Amateur Comedy Club, N.Y.C. 1951-55

One of top 10 national winners in 1st annual scholarship contest: Photoplay Magazine 1948 (dramatic reading)

Modeling:
Penna. Power and Light Co., Allentown, Pa. 1960 (series of color slides of young housewife and Reddy Kilowatt shown throughout state)

Saks Fifth Ave., N.Y.C. – Stag Shop (fashion) 1950-51

Henri Bendel, N.Y.C. (fashion) 1950-51

Garment Center, N.Y.C. (fashion) 1950-51

Photography – William Benedict, N.Y.C. (fashion & demo)

Radio:
Children’s story-telling – Oxford, Ohio 1949-51

Ohio Story – WTAM 1948-49

Know Your FBI – WGAR 1948

Fairytale Theatre (Ester Mullen) – WGAR 1946-49

Television:
Crime Syndicated – CBS, N.Y.C. (dramatic) 1950-52

Herb Shriner Show – NBC, N.Y.C. 1950-52

Agent – Ben Pratt 1950-52

And the Next 30 Years
Commericals, Industrial Films & Live Shows:
Weekly on-camera T.V. spots for Pick ‘N Pay 4 years

Female voice for Halles T.V. and radio 2 years

Dramatic Teacher – 3 yrs. Cleve. Hts. Bd. of Ed.; Chagrin Theatre

Fashion Coordinator, Bobbie Brooks 3 1/2 yrs.: Fashion Shows, Sales, Conventions, Grooming Clinics, Speeches

Broadcast Coordinator: Marcus Advertising

Hostess on weekly T.V. half hour series “House Hunt”, 1 Yr.

Weekly Cleveland Press radio and T.V. spots

News Reporter for Channel 5, 1 Yr. (anchor John Hambrick)

Weekly TV & Radio Voice for Cleveland Newspaper, 1 Yr.

Modeling Teacher – 1 yr. – Patricia Stevens

TV, Theatre & Movie Reviews

Acting Teacher, Children’s Theatre On The Heights & Chagrin Valley Little Theatre, 3 Yrs.

Acting Teacher – John Carroll University, 1-2 classes

Acting Coach, 5 Yrs.

Kronheims TV Commerical Producer

Radio and TV Spots (Local, regional and national)
Radio:
1st Nat. Bank of Cinci.
Bobbie Brooks
Bootie’s
C.E.I.
Central Cadillac
Central National
Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Orchestra
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Dairylea Milk
Dramatic Shows: KYC TV
Drug Fair
East Ohio Gas
Fisher Foods
Fostoria China
General Electric
Giant Tiger
Goodyear
Higbees
Hoover Vacuum
Issue 31 Political Commercial (Arts Tax)
May Co.
National City
Ohio Bell
Ohio Power
Parma Mall
Peninsula Night Club
Pro Toothbrush
Procter & Gamble
Richman Bros.
Sherwin Williams
Sohio
Smuckers
Society National
Spaulding Cleaners, etc.
Spitzer Northfield (Voice)
Star Bronze
Superior Meats
Tub & Sink Jelly
Qua Buick
Westinghouse
White Motor
Women’s Federal
WKYC
Xerox

Slide Films:
Bobbie Brooks
Diamond Crystal
Durkees
Kodak
Memory Lessons

(Industrial) Films:
Carrier Air Conditioning
Dupont
Goodyear
Kirby Vacuum

Additional Slide Narrations, Industrial Films & Live Industrial Shows:
American Greetings
Arkansas Power & Light
Blue Cross of Northeast Ohio
Bullock’s
East Ohio Gas
General Electric
Procter & Gamble
YWCA

Ad Photo:
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Issue 14 Political Commercial (Cleve. Schools)
Issue 31 Political Commercial (Arts Tax)
Ohio Lottery
Richman Bros.
Severance Center
Society for the Blind Annual Fur Sale
Timken Products
Warren-Teed Laboratories (Modane)
White Sewing Machine
Weiss Furs

Industrial Shows:
Bobbie Brooks
East Ohio Gas
Ohio Power

Narrator:
“Arlie The Alligator” Story Book on Tape

Film/TV Features:
Mischief, the mother, 1985
Principal United Artists

Presumed Guilty, the judge (starring Martin Sheen, Brandon Fraser), 1991
Supporting NBC

Wednesday’s Children, the mother
Principal Venture Productions

Unsolved Mysteries, Episode: The Countess, 1991
Principal ABC

Slide Narrations, Industrial Films & Live Industrial Shows:
American Greetings
Arkansas Power & Light
Blue Cross of Northeast Ohio
Bullock’s
East Ohio Gas
General Electric
Kirby Vacuum
Ohio Bell
Ohio Power
Procter & Gamble
YWCA

Special Skills:
TV, Drama & Acting Coach, Character Singing & Dancing, Makeup: Straight & Character, Fashion Coordinator/Stylist, Most Sports, Most Dialects, EAR Prompter

The Domino Heart, Dobama Theatre, Acting Coach, 2003

Stage
Theater:
A Delicate Balance, Claire, Dobama Theatre, 1980

A Kiss for Cinderella, Queen, Cleveland Play House, 1999

A Little Night Music, Mme Armfeldt, Cain Park Theatre 1998

A Little Night Music, Mme Armfeldt, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis/Great Lakes 1998

A Perfect Ganesh, Katharine, Dobama Theatre

A Touch of the Poet, Deborah, Cleveland Play House

Angels in America Part I, Hannah, Dobama Theatre

Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (starring Barbara Eden), Doatsey Mae, Kenley Players

Big River, Cain Park, 1997

Company, Joanne, Cain Park Theatre

Cripple of Inishman, Kate, Dobama Theatre

Cyrano de Bergerac, Duena, Great Lakes Theater Fest

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Anita, Cleveland Play House

Driving Miss Daisy, Daisy, Lakeland Community College, 1995

Fallen Angels, Jane, Cleveland Play House

Fantastics, Henry, Cain Park Theatre, 1996

Follies, Phyllis, Cain Park Theatre, 1988

Follies, Phyllis, Baldwin Wallace College

Foxfire, Annie, Porthouse Theatre

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (starring Loni Anderson), Lady Beekman, Kenley Players, 1995

Hay Fever, Myra, Cleveland Play House

Heart’s Desire, Jocko’s Mama, Cleveland Play House

Lady From Maxim’s, Mme Vidauban, Great Lakes Theater Fest

Loot, Nurse Fay, Cleveland Play House

Man and Superman, Mrs. Whitefield, Great Lakes Theater Fest

Medea, Nurse, Lakeland Community College

Much Ado About Nothing, Ursula, Actor’s Theatre Louisville

My Fair Lady, Mrs. Higgins, Cleveland Opera, 1989

My Fair Lady, Mrs. Higgins, Lyric Opera

Rape of the Belt, Dobama Theatre, Cleveland, 1962

Richard III, Elizabeth, Cleveland Play House

Richard III, Duchess of York, Great Lakes Theater Festival

Talkin’ With, Big Eight, Dobama Theatre, 1986

The Best Man (w/ Victor Jory), Alice, Actor’s Theatre Louisville

The Cherry Orchard, Cuyahoga Community College

The Children’s Hour, Martha

The Interview, Bracha, Halle Theatre, JCC, 2002

Three Penny Opera, Betty, Great Lakes Theater Fest

Young Man from Atlanta, Ensemble Theatre

W.I.T., Evelyn, Dobama Theatre

…and many more…

 

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On Display: Costume Worn by Actress Marji Dodrill, Designed by Denájua

September 22, 2014

By Janet Dodrill

Costume for Phyllis in Follies, worn by actress Marji Dodrill, designed by Denájua Couturiére.

Costume for Phyllis in Follies, worn by actress Marji Dodrill, designed by Denájua Couturiére.

After the death of my mother, the late Cleveland actress Marji Dodrill, we came across one of her costumes while cleaning out the family house. A beautiful purplish-blue gown with hand-sewn beads. I called Cleveland’s Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) museum to see if they would like it for their permanent costume collection. Danielle Peck at the museum informed me that they, unfortunately, already had 18,000 articles of clothing in their collection! However, when I mentioned that the dress was worn in Follies, a play celebrating nearby Cleveland Heights’s 50th anniversary of Cain Park, and was designed and made by local fashion designer “Denájua,” she showed interest and said yes. They accepted the dress into their Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) archives, as Denájua Couturiére is a member of that community. She notably designed and made six costumes for the production of Follies. The show was a Stephen Sondheim musical directed by Victoria Bussert.

The dress is currently on display (and looks gorgeous) in an exhibit titled, The Victory of Self Will Capture the Civil Rights Movement of Northeast Ohio’s LGBT Community, which was constructed in honor of the 9th Gay Games, in Cleveland August 9-16, 2014.


The exhibit sign reads:

Dress, Costume, 1988
Denajua Couturiere, Designer
Gift of Joyce & Janet Dodrill in loving memory of our mother, Marji Dodrill
1/14/2011

Blue silk v-neck dress with silver beading worn by Marji Dodrill for her performance as Phyllis Rogers Stone in the August 1988 theatrical production of “Follies” for Cain Park’s 50th Anniversary summer series.

One of Cleveland’s most noted designers, Denajua, is a member of Cleveland’s Transgender community. She has been designing costumes for theater, dance and drama, as well as for individual clients since the 1980s.


According to WRHS, the exhibit will be on display during regular museum hours beginning July 20, 2014 and is anticipated to run through early January 2015. Access to the exhibit is free with the price of general admission to the WRHS History Center: $10 adults, $5 children ages 3-12, and free for WRHS members.

Follies Playbill Cover, Cain Park, 50 Years, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 1988.

Follies Playbill Cover, Cain Park, 50 Years, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 1988.

Letter from Ronald Regan in Follies Playbill, Cain Park, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 1988.

Letter from Ronald Regan in Follies Playbill, Cain Park, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 1988.

Special Thanks to Denájua Couturiére in Follies Playbill.

Special Thanks to Denájua Couturiére in Follies Playbill.

Marji Dodrill as Phyllis in Follies, Cain Park, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 1988, wearing dress designed by Denájua.

Marji Dodrill as Phyllis in Follies, Cain Park, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 1988, wearing dress designed by Denájua.

Marji Dodrill (left) as Phyllis in Follies, Cain Park, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 1988.

Marji Dodrill (left) as Phyllis in Follies, Cain Park, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 1988.

Marji Dodrill as Phyllis in Follies, Playbill Biography, Cain Park, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 1988.

Marji Dodrill as Phyllis in Follies, Playbill Biography, Cain Park, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 1988.

Costume for Phyllis in Follies, worn by actress Marji Dodrill, designed by Denájua.

Costume for Phyllis in Follies, worn by actress Marji Dodrill, designed by Denájua.