101 Stories: Joy O’Dell

By The Children's Theatre

Celebrate TCT’s 101st season as it comes to a close as we applaud and appreciate those who contributed to the organization’s magic throughout our century-long journey.  During 10 weeks of recognition, we honor individuals who have been instrumental in the success of TCT, and who have not only helped TCT grow in mission, but also thrive, thanks to their passion.  It is these people and their moments in our history that shaped TCT to become what it is today. We encourage you to consider giving a gift in their honor to ensure the sustainability of TCT’s mission for the next 100+ years. 

Joy O’Dell with Molly in 2000

As a professional dog trainer, Joy O’Dell has worked with The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati on countless performances preparing dogs for their stage debut with the company. Joy has worked with animals in still photos, on Disney commercials, and in theater productions.

Here’s an excerpt from a 2000 Cincinnati Enquirer feature about Joy.

Q. Ever met a dog whose head was too big?

A. Never. Dogs don’t have egos; that’s why it’s so great to work with them.

Q. How do you reward a job well done?

A. With praise and the occasional treat. I don’t think food training is the way to go, however. Animals appreciate verbal rewards just as much, and it’s healthier. 

Q. What is the easiest type of dog to train?

A. Golden retrievers and Dobermans are great. I love Dobies. But all dogs are trainable and, believe it or not, can learn up to a 70-word vocabulary.

We recently caught up with Joy.  Here is what she said about her TCT experience:

“TCT means Family to me: from the early days of Jack Louiso to Angela Powell Walker, to the current Artistic Director, Roderick Justice. I am referring to a group of adults that oversee the nurturing and growth of its children.”

She continues: “TCT has had the ability to reach children of all backgrounds and ages, encouraging them to grow and reach for their own “Star” regardless of what that means for each child.  To expose them to the possibilities they may not have dreamed of without being introduced to live theatre. Awakening children’s imagination to dream their own dream.”

“It’s been my privilege to have a small part in watching the children of our city respond to this amazing opportunity.”

Would you honor Joy O’Dell with a gift to recognize the impact made on TCT?