Plymouth Harbor Players

Front row L-R: Don Wallace and Bobby Broderick, with the rest of the Plymouth Harbor Players.

Bobby Broderick’s seven decade love affair with Glo began and ended with a winning smile and a shared passion for performing. As a youth, Bobby sang quite a bit with male quartets and choirs at church and on a local Saturday morning radio show. Glo was a chorus girl and dancer who also won the drama award at Reading High School in Pennsylvania where both she and Bobby graduated. “She could knock you dead with that smile,” says Bobby wistfully as he shared the story of how Glo first pulled a chair up alongside him. Reportedly, Glo went home and announced to her father that she had met the cutest little boy in Sunday School. “When I grow up, I am going to marry him!” she declared. And so she did. That smile, as well as sharing those youthful good times, was the first glue that bound these two together until she passed at age 90, just 72 years and 2 days after they were married.

Not long after the happy couple moved into their home in Plymouth Harbor in 2002, Glo’s health began to decline. Bobby was always a doting caregiver, but Glo encouraged him to get involved with life in the community even though her energy was limited. When the indefatigable Naomi Wittenburg grabbed him by the shoulder one day and urged Bobby to join their theatre troupe for that season’s play, his first response was, “Theater? Not my schtick!” Naomi would not take no for an answer, saying he had a good voice and they needed him.

Bobby had only three lines in that very first play, but learned quickly that it was quite fulfilling. Play rehearsals filled his time with satisfying activity—three rehearsals a week for a solid two months. “I enjoy working with the people in all facets of the production; lighting, props, sound, stage direction,” Bobby shared.

Year after year, Bobby auditioned for new roles, getting cast each time. And Glo was always a constant, helping him read and memorize his lines. In the earlier years the cast simply read from their scripts, but Bobby pushed the envelope and insisted on memorizing his part. Now everyone does it, only occasionally needing a prompt.

“Until you’ve gotten involved, even if only pushing furniture on stage, you won’t know what it’s like to get into that ‘showbiz’ frame of mind,” he said, noting that some of his colleagues got involved as a means of relieving the stress of caregiving, others to explore new facets of their hidden talents.

Over the years the plays got better and better, and now under the direction of Don and Peg Wallace, Bobby has found the “17th Floor” series very satisfying. Glo was always there for him at each performance even when that was the only activity for which she could muster the energy.

One memorable performance was in the show, “The Ghost on the 17th Floor,” in which Bobby played a ladies man wooing an old flame. This juicy part had him being thrown out of his girlfriend’s apartment, then drunkenly crying into his beer afterwards. So far so good, but when he and the gal got back together with a kiss, he had to do it with Glo sitting only a few feet away in the front row. With a twinkling laugh, he adds that Glo then turned to her friend seated next to her and said, “When we get back to the apartment, I’m gonna kill him!”

Last year, she was yet again sitting in the front row enjoying Bobby on stage as the clear-thinking attorney, Frank Dillon, in “The Stash on the 17th Floor.” She cheered one last time before she passed in March of 2014.

This year, Bobby was back on stage in “The Saint on the 17th Floor” and very happy to see an influx of new thespians to tread the boards with him. Don Wallace says he always wants Bobby in a leading role. “He’s just a natural who understands the material and his character. I don’t need to direct him,” says Don. “He’s become a real trouper!” Glo saw that in Bobby, too, and although she wasn’t sitting in the front row this year, Bobby knows that she was right there with him