Nick Stewart and Chase Fairchild of Bad Habit perform during a street party as part of the marquee dedication.
Nick Stewart and Chase Fairchild of Bad Habit perform during a street party as part of the marquee dedication.
Going on dates at the historic Ellis Theater was one of the fondest memories of their courtship for JC and Liz Goldman, who were recognized last week as the benefactors of the newly restored marquee.

The Arts Council recognized Mrs. Goldman and her late husband during a street party Thursday night, when the marquee was officially dedicated.

She and her husband had discussed making a donation to the Ellis prior to his death on Dec. 20, 2012, after a valiant fight with cancer.

Arts Council President Tim Moore presented Mrs. Goldman with a framed photograph of the new marquee which was signed by board members.

Moore said the marquee project cost more than $19,000.

The newly restored marquee, which had hung in disrepair for years, was replaced on the historic building just prior to the taping of the fifth season finale of "The Marty Stuart Show" on June 28 before a sold-out crowd.

"We want to thank them [JC and Liz Goldman] for their generous donation," Moore said. "It really does look good."

The donation stemmed from a love of the theater shared by the couple.

"While I attended nearly all performances of each presentation at the Ellis, JC also attended nearly every play/presentation," Mrs. Goldman said. "Due to his lowered immune system while undergoing chemotherapy last year, the cast invited us to attend the dress rehearsal of Laura Thrash's last Casserole Patrol play. The Ellis holds a special place in our hearts as a remembrance of the good ole days when we were dating!"

Goldman said they discussed early in the fall which organizations they would like to support.

Because of the love the two shared for the Ellis they decided a financial donation would be appropriate.

"I'm certain he was smiling down as the installation of the marquee was finally completed," Mrs. Goldman said. "It is wonderful to be able to help bring the Ellis back to its original glory!"

Goldman hopes that her example will inspire others to donate as well.

"I hope all the people of Philadelphia and Neshoba County will help the Ellis become the best facility for live entertainment in the state!" she said. "Your Arts Council is continuing to work diligently in planning great programs. The Marty Stuart Show was our 'debut' to show off the new marquee."

During the dedication Thursday, Mayor James Young spoke on the importance of the theater.

"We thank God for this venue," he said. "There are some good musicians in our area, there are some good singers in our area, there are some good actors in our area and we need this venue to bring that out, to make Philadelphia a totally committed community for the next generation."

The Arts Council has several other items on its "wish list," including new stage curtains to replace the old ones, carpet on the aisles, ice and hot dog machines for the concession stand, sound equipment and all new seating.

The band Bad Habit performed during the street party. Members of the Arts Council sold the old marquee letters during the event.

The Arts Council is a 501 3 (c) non-profit organization and contributions of $25 or more are tax-deductible.