Theatre Jacksonville Executive Director Sarah Boone Creates Stage Production About Her Mother, Longtime Jacksonville Resident

Theatre Jacksonville Executive Director Sarah Boone Creates Stage Production About Her Mother, Longtime Jacksonville Resident
Doris Lamb headshot circa 1942

Once upon a time, there was a young girl named Doris Ruth Lamb, born in 1925. She had hopes and dreams, crushes and relationships, heartbreaks and disappointments … about which her daughter Sarah Boone knew few details until discovering a journal and letters following her death in 2019. Boone, executive director of Theatre Jacksonville, was inspired enough by her mother’s story to create – and perform in – a musical stage production called Mom Before Dad: A Young Woman of the Greatest Generation, which will premiere first in New York City in January and then at Theatre Jacksonville in February. Boone is an acclaimed stage performer and producer in her own right, with a history of successful one-woman cabaret shows.

“This has been the most amazing journey, transforming this part of my mom’s life into a show that tells her early story,” said Boone, who grew up in Avondale, acted at Theatre Jacksonville as a teenager, and took over the helm of the organization in 2000 after moving back to the area. “I was incredibly moved by what took place before her life with our family as I knew it, and just felt called to bring it to the stage.”

Doris Lamb married Arthur Thames Boone in 1947, and the two were longtime, active residents of Avondale.
Doris Lamb married Arthur Thames Boone in 1947, and the two were longtime, active residents of Avondale.
Doris and Arthur Boone celebrating their 50th anniversary in the year 1997. They were happily married for 62 years.
Doris and Arthur Boone celebrating their 50th anniversary in the year 1997. They were happily married for 62 years.

After moving to Jacksonville in 1950, Doris Boone became a foundation of the Avondale community. She was happily married for 62 years to Arthur Thames Boone, a longtime Jacksonville attorney. The family belonged to Riverside Presbyterian Church, where they were active members and Doris sang in the Chancel Choir for 45 years. She was a Life Member of the Garden Club of Jacksonville, a member of the Cummer Museum, the Jacksonville Symphony, Theatre Jacksonville, the Delius Society, and a Life Member of Friday Musicale, where she served as board member and president. Before having children, Doris was a choir director and music teacher in the Duval County Public Schools. She graduated in 1947 from Florida State College for Women, the precursor to Florida State University, at a time when few women finished a college education. It was in Tallahassee where she met Art, who had come into town on a blind date from Gainesville where he attended the University of Florida law school. 

But prior to her marriage, family and active life in Jacksonville, Doris was a young girl in the small Florida town of Winter Haven, listening to popular music, falling in love and experiencing the same tragedies and heartbreaks that befell so many young women of the era.

“When my sister and I were going through my mom’s belongings in early 2021, we came across her diary from 1942. It was an absolutely fascinating, first-hand account of the intense time period during the middle of WWII,” said Boone. “We subsequently discovered a packet of letters that related to the diary, detailing the several years before she met my father in Tallahassee.”

Boone could not get her mother’s incredible story out of her mind, and she began toying with the idea of creating a show around it. After a few quick months of building her creative team, compiling the song list, writing the script and getting performance dates confirmed, Mom Before Dad became a reality.

Sarah Boone performing her cabaret show in Los Angeles, 2018.
Sarah Boone performing her cabaret show in Los Angeles, 2018.

“This was a huge leap of faith and a giant undertaking for me, especially since my time is already full running Theatre Jacksonville operations,” said Boone. “But it has been incredibly rewarding. So many people and different generations will be able to relate to this timeless story, and I’m honored to be able to share it. My mom would have loved this.”

Doris and her daughter Sarah after a concert at the Friday Musicale, where Doris served as a board member, president and chorus member.
Doris and her daughter Sarah after a concert at the Friday Musicale, where Doris served as a board member, president and chorus member.

Mom Before Dad will have its Florida premiere at Theatre Jacksonville on February 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m. Theatre Jacksonville All-Access members have tickets included as part of their membership. Individual tickets are $30. For more information about tickets or membership, visit www.theatrejax.com or call the box office at (904) 396-4425.

By Laura Jane Pittman
Resident Community News

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