Tyne Daly still knows nearly all of the words to “H.M.S. Pinafore” and she has the Antrim Players to thank for it.
“I got a job doing makeup for the children’s program,” Daly recalls. “Then we did ‘Pinafore’ and I played the captain’s daughter. I still remember every line, or nearly.”
“Those are the lines that stick forever, the ones you learned when you were young” she says. “The ones you learned last month you can’t remember, or the ones you’re supposed to be learning this month.”
Daly, whose family lived in Suffern, saw Antrim’s adult-company shows, too, and recalls being completely taken in by a 1956 Antrim production of “Angel Street,” the stage version of “Gaslight.”
“Oh, yes,” she coos, awe still in her voice. “It scared the poop out of me when I thought the bad guy was coming back because he left his hat on the sofa.”
Daly, the daughter of actors, was in the very next production, playing a mother in the children’s company of “The Dirdums and the Doobies,” the first of what would become a career full of playing mothers.
This fall, Daly — fresh off an acclaimed Broadway run in “Master Class” — plays the mother of the bride in a new musical, “It Shoulda Been You” at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, N.J.
“I love the Antrim Players,” the actress says. “I’m a great promoter of local theater, which was a much more pervasive American tradition before things like radio and television and all that. I’m romantic about community theater.”
And particularly romantic about Antrim.
“I hold them very close to my heart,” she says. “They saved me through the hell of adolescence. They were a safe place to go to.”
She offers three cheers and one cheer more to the group that introduced her to “Pinafore.”
Photo by Joan Marcus: Tyne Daly as Maria Callas in “Master Class” on Broadway this summer. The Tony-winning actress got her start at Antrim.