Cyrano's Theatre Company was co-founded by Sandy and her husband Jerry in 1992. The prologue to CTC was Cyrano's Book Store, a popular cultural "mini mall," which featured a cafe, cinema, art shows, music and special events.
Sandy and Jerry’s formative years were spent in Southern California under the mentorship of Obie-award winner Rachel Rosenthal, and both were core members of Rosenthal's innovative theatre form, "Instant Theatre" and "Instant Fairy Tales," which were highly influenced and inspired by Antonin Artaud, John Cage and Merce Cunningham. While in California, Sandy earned her Master's Degree in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena.
During Jerry's life his acting and directing credentials were extensive. Jerry was the Dean of Voiceover talent and appeared in numerous commercials. A few of Jerry's awards include: Best Actor Award in Chicago for "MacBird," the Lorene Harrison Award For Lifetime Achievement In The Arts (2001), and the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from University of Alaska Anchorage (2004).
Jerry died of cancer on April 8, 2005. It was the day after Cyrano's received yet another accolade – the Mayors Award for Arts Organizations. Anchorage celebrated Jerry's life and contribution to the arts with a full house at UAA's Wendy Williamson Auditorium. The Harper Studio Theatre at UAA is named in Jerry's honor and each year the Jerry Harper Service Award is awarded at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez. The Harper Travel Grant administered by the Alaska State Council on the Arts was also established in Jerry's honor by the Rasmuson Foundation.
MORE THAN AN ACTOR: A KIND, GENTLE MAN
"The death of Jerry Harper removed from the local scene a man of enormous talent, one who very well might have been the greatest stage actor ever to perform in Alaska. He played everything with great artistry and skill. Comedy or drama, he was at the top of his game always----a man of perfect timing, an actor who could command the stage and embrace an audience, living the role that was his in every performance in which he starred. His credits as a director were as long as those of his performing roles, and he brought to the stage some truly memorable evenings of theatrical magic to Anchorage. With his wife, Sandy, the 75 year old Harper ran Eccentric Theatre Co. which operates at Cyrano's Off Center Playhouse and Cyrano's Book Store at the corner of D Street and Fourth Avenue. More than all of that, he will be remembered for his kindness and gentle spirit." -- Bill Tobin for the Voice of the Times
Until handing the reigns to Teresa K. Pond in 2016, Sandy's duties of Producing Artistic Director included coordinating the activities of the Board, directing marketing and fundraising, and operating Cyrano's Off Center Playhouse. In addition, Sandy served as the artistic director for Cyrano's Theatre Company productions, making programming decisions.
Sandy devotes a great amount of time serving in the community. She has served on the national board of the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, the board of the Anchorage Downtown Partnership, the board of the Rasmuson Foundation, and the board of the Anchorage Downtown Association. She also served as president of the Anchorage Cultural Council. Sandy's accolades include the Contribution to Literacy award as the founding member of the Alaska Center for the Book; the YWCA Notable Woman of the Year (2009); induction into the ATHENA Society (2009); recognition by the Soroptimist Society for her encouragement of women in the arts (2010); an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from UAA (2011); the Lorene Harrison Lifetime Achievement award (2011).
Under Sandy's leadership, CTC has been noted for eclectic programming and major projects, such as five world-premiere plays about Alaska during the celebration of Statehood and the city of Anchorage. "Anchorage: The First 100 Years," a project which produced a weekly play for every decade to celebrate Anchorage's centennial. Another big project was commissioning and producing "The Ticket," written by CTC's resident playwright Dick Reichman. She was featured in American Theatre Magazine for producing a series of plays honoring the indigenous peoples of Alaska. CTC has also been noted for spotting and producing plays read at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, including the world premiere of Anne Hanley's "The Winter Bear." Sandy also produced many main stage evening productions at the Conference, including "Edward Albee’s Albee's Men," a collection of his work adapted and directed by Albee's protégée Glyn O'Malley especially for the conference, but at Albee's suggestion later had a successful run at Cyrano's and starred Jerry Harper.
When Jerry died in 2005, Sandy became both the Producer and Artistic Director. Sandy considers herself the steward of Jerry's legacy of producing theater of the highest quality. Jerry has been honored in many ways including the Harper Studio Theatre at UAA, The Harper Travel fund administrated by the Alaska State Council for the Arts and the Last Frontier Theatre Conference Jerry Harper Service Award and a scholarship named for him for the TBA summer conservatory.