In 2005, Martinez resident and Alhambra High student Danny Maher saw an ad that the Willows Theater group was looking for someone to help with lighting. Since he already worked the lights for his high school productions ("no one else knew how to do it, so I decided to give it a try," he said), and loved it, he answered the ad and got the job.
It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
Maher worked his way up the theatrical ladder, and until last week was in charge of all the lighting design for the Willows Theater productions. And last year, he was awarded a Shelly (the local theater version of the Tonys) for his lighting design for the musical 'Chicago.'
"I basically built my way up to where I was," he said. "And now I don't know what to do."
Since the Willows Theater Company declared its intention today to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, 24-year-old Maher is out of a job.
"It’s hard," he said. "The Willows has always been my home away from home. I've made a lot of friendships here."
Maher is now trying to find work as a lighting designer with another theater group. Barring that, he's going to try and return to school and get a degree in theatrical lighting design.
"It's my passion," he said. "I'm going to do this for the rest of my life."