Sharie Lacey Valerio
enjoys telling the story of Annapolis.
Sharie Lacey Valerio would not be who she is today without them—her
partners, as she calls them. She would not be a mother, an actor,
producer, director, teacher, historian, fundraiser or humanitarian.
“I would never have done anything I’ve ever done without
these people,” she says. “Partnering is my favorite
thing to do.”
goodness for those partners, then, because everything Sharie has
done has benefited Annapolis.
There are few better people to tell the story of Annapolis than
Sharie, and there are few who can do it so well. Like her father,
Felden Lacey, she is a skilled storyteller, and the story she
likes to tell most is about Annapolis, her lifelong home.
As one of the creators of Remember, Inc., a non-profit theatrical
group which performs segments of Annapolis’ history, she
has helped tell the story to audiences at Colonial Players, Maryland
Hall for the Creative Arts, St. John’s College and City
She also shows others how to share their stories, from the students
at Severn School to those at the Phoenix Center, a public school
for youths who need extra help and attention, and the Anne Arundel
County Detention Center on Jennifer Road. “I’m so
blessed that I have such a spectrum,” she says.
Sharie grew up in Eastport on Bay Ridge Avenue when the Eastport
Shopping Center was still Duckett Farm. “It was just like
growing up in the country,” she says. “They were signing
a petition about the shopping center when I left in the ’60s.”
The acting bug bit her early and it bit hard. It’s easy
to see why. Her father, after all, was one of the founders of
Colonial Players. “That was a big part of my life—Dad
in shows,” she says. “He loved telling everyone’s
Before leaving for Towson University to study English and drama,
she played Emily in “Our Town” for Annapolis High
School when it was still located at what is now Maryland Hall.
After college, she went back to Colonial Players where she met
her husband Gerry, an actor and painter. In addition to acting,
Sharie began directing, doing about one show a year.
Now, when she finds the time, she teaches acting classes at Colonial
Players and serves as a consultant—but only when she finds
the time. Over the years, her life has taken her in many different
directions, for good reasons and for bad, but even the bad ones
generated something good.
After her marriage, Sharie continued her theater work part-time
since much of her life was consumed raising three children, Tony,
Darin and Kris in Epping Forest, where she continues to reside.
Cast of “TheAnnapolis I Remember”: Lois Evans, Richard
Jackson, Vivian Gist, Mac Gogert, Phil Meeder, Carol Cohen, and
Once the kids left for college, she jumped right back into theater
work, directing Maryland Hall’s “Story Theater,”
an adult theater group that performed for children. “It
was great,” says Sharie, who directed the group for five
years. “We had permission to play as adults for kids.”
She also began teaching Maryland Hall’s “Kaleidoscope,”
a summer two-week intensive theater camp for teenagers, which
she has continued for the past 20 years and hopes to do again
this summer. “It’s still one of my favorite programs,”
In 1989, she partnered with Mame Warren, the daughter of famed
photographer Marion E. Warren, who was creating a book about the
history of Annapolis. While Mame put the book together, Sharie
assembled four performances under the title, “The Annapolis
I Remember.” With a grant from the Humanities Council and
later the Cultural Arts Foundation, the group, consisting of seven
actors, performed an historical tribute to Annapolis during the
last century. The performances focused on City Dock, the founding
of Annapolis, and Eastport.
“We had to turn people away,” Sharie says proudly.
“We had people standing. It was really a good time [for]
the story because people were still around to tell it.”
This project led Sharie to form another partnership, this time
with Beth Whaley. Together, the pair formed Remember, Inc., a
non-profit organization whose goal is to raise the money necessary
to continue “The Annapolis I Remember” series. “We
would like to do it again, but only at the Key Auditorium at St.
John’s College,” Sharie says. “It has such wonderful
acoustics, and no one needs a microphone.”
The pair has been approached by several groups requesting an encore
performance, but Sharie and Beth will first need to raise the
necessary funds. “We like to pay our talent, because they
are actors who don’t make a lot of money as it is,”
she says. “Our goal is to get to a point where we can plan
a year of productions rather than work production to production.”
Carol Youmans, Sharie’s partner in Remember, Inc., says
she has no doubt that Sharie can make it happen. “She’s
a remarkable person with unerring instincts about people and about
theater,” Carol says.
In an effort to raise money, the group is hosting a fundraiser
at the Radisson Hotel on June 19. The event will feature piano
music through the decades and cocktails followed by a 45-minute
“taste” of the historical performances and end with
a good, old-fashioned ice cream social.
Remember, Inc., is only one of several projects Sharie has been
involved in over the past decade. Until recently, she also taught
at the Phoenix Center and the detention center, projects stemming
from the loss of her son, Darin, who died in 1991 in a single-car
accident while on his way to work at a school for at-risk youths.
“Darin was very centered in his work in helping people,”
Sharie says. When Darin died, she lost her desire to act. But
eventually, it was Darin who inspired her to return to the arts
in a way he would have been proud of—teaching the arts to
those less fortunate.
For six years, Sharie, with support from county and private grants,
spent six weeks a year at the Phoenix Center, helping students
put on their own productions. She had partners, of course, in
actor Carol Cohen and teacher Patty Ryan, who helped her keep
the kids’ attention while Sharie and Carol inspired them
to perform. “We laughed, we cried, but they never failed—not
once in six productions,” she says. “It was very uplifting.”
Through the Phoenix Center, she met Jerry Januszewski who worked
in the drug and alcohol program at the detention center. He asked
if she could help the inmates as well. It wasn’t a hard
sell. “I discovered that all of the people in the program
had suffered some kind of loss that got them there,” she
says. “I shared with them my experience with my son, because
it was poetry and music that held me up during that loss.”
Although she was intimidated at first to ask these men to write
poetry, or draw or listen to “Pachelbel Canon,” she
says there was never a time when she felt they weren’t “really
feeling it.” They had never experienced this before,”
she says. “They were risking a lot, but that’s what
was so amazing—that they trusted each other enough to try.”
Carol says Sharie is able to get people to put themselves out
there because it is so obvious how much she cares. “She
has a huge heart and cares deeply about people,” Carols
says. “Everything she does is with that compassion and interest.”
These days, when Sharie is not searching for money to continue
telling Annapolis’ story or helping to produce the fall
and spring musicals at Severn School, she is searching for more
storytellers like herself. “We need the next generation
to hear our stories so they can begin to pass them on as well,”
To purchase tickets to the June 19 Remember, Inc., fundraiser,
call 410-897-9200. The event will be held at the Radisson Hotel
from 7 to 11 p.m.