Driving Salt City

Pat Lotito and Bob Brown carrying on with Driving Miss Daisy this month

A hauntingly beautiful painting by Madalyn Eisenberg hangs above the Lotito's fireplace in the University section of Syracuse, titled Broadway Angel. It's a house of many angels as long time Syracuse Showman, Joe Lotito, passed away last October leaving his life partner, Pat, to carry on with their work as the driving force behind Salt City Center for the Performing Arts. She's being greatly assisted by Bob Brown who has performed the role of Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar numerous times, also serve as its director.

"Bob will be involved in choosing future shows and working on future productions," Pat said.

Consider that Syracuse is a big theater town for a city its size. Pat said several theatre groups spun off from Salt City over the years. She said it makes sense as theater is about creativity and creative types often want to produce their own ideas. It's part of the process -- shows going up and curtains coming down.

"It's not mysterious," Pat said of the theater. "It's a craft."

And, essentially, the term "play" is quite appropriate, as theatre is a form of playing.

A musician in the house

Pat was born in Kansas City, as Pat Montfort. Music is her passion. As an only child she played around on the piano starting around age 4 or 5. Serious lessons began at age 7. Later, she attended the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, where she majored in music.

It was love that brought Pat Montfort to Syracuse, but amore that kept her rooted in its theatrical scene. That amore was discovered when she joined the Ken Bowles Theatre Company and met an actor, Joe Lotito. The two married in 1959, producing two offspring Joe Lotito (II); and Mary (now Esposito). Mary and her husband paul, in turn, produced two grandchildren, Joey and Jack. Pat said Joe II and Mary recently accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award giving by the Syracuse New Timesto the late Joe Lotito I at the SALT awards.

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