Since 1997, Joseph Demerly has been a fixture at the Kavinoky Theatre. Before almost every performance for 11 years, he has walked onto the Kavinoky stage, cracked a slight smile and introduced theatergoers to the evening's show before dropping the same joke that the same audiences seemed to laugh louder at every time he said it:
"If you have candies or lozenges with those crinkly wrappers, please unwrap them now or eat them with the wrapper on."
Next season, Kavinoky fans won't hear that line anymore. Tuesday afternoon, Demerly announced in a Facebook post that he has accepted a theater position in Charleston, S.C. and will leave his position as the Kav's managing director.
"To say that I will miss my friends, colleagues and family in Buffalo is an understatement," Demerly wrote. "I will equally miss the wonderful opportunities and experiences I've had at The Kavinoky Theatre for 18 years. I’m sure there will be questions about how this affects the day-to-day operations of the theatre but I respect D’Youville College’s prerogative to make their own announcement. I can say that I think The Kav will be in good hands. I will be making my move down south on the weekend of July 4th. Thanks everybody for your love and help over the years."
Suffice it to say Demerly has been a major force in Buffalo's theater scene, whose influence extends far beyond the Kavinoky through his performances and his various roles in the larger community. There will be more to come on his departure and his accomplishments.