Art Supporters Come Together for Ovation Awards

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on April 5, 2013

The Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children is the recipient of all royalties from J.M. Barrie’s beloved Peter Pan. That great gift of gracious generosity moves me every time I see those words on a poster. How many children have found solace from the man who gave a Lost Boy the secret of flight?

On a bleak and stormy Sunday at the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center, a packed house of standing room only applauded as Wade Bourne, our master of ceremonies for the Ovation Awards, asked the question, “How many of you own a Tom Rice?” More than half raised hands.

I sat next to Clarksville icon and onetime neighbor, Olen Bryant. In addition to having nurtured Tom Rice as an artist, Olen also owned one (if not more) of his birds. I have some of Tom’s sculpted mushrooms in my back garden.

Tom Rice received the Artist Award. The George Mabry Award went to actor, director and playwright David Alford. Thanks to Dr. Joe Filippo, he became a protégé of playwright Arthur Kopit, making a Juilliard education possible. The Business Award went to Beachaven Winery’s Ed and Louisa Cooke for 25 years of “Jazz on the Lawn.” Brittney Griffin and Elizabeth Bell received The Young Artist Award. Immaculate Conception Catholic Church received the Community Organization Award for hosting their annual International Festival.

Kortney Knight led the Youth Percussion Ensemble, while Simone Parker conducted the Grace Notes Youth String Ensemble in Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” One had to smile with pleasure at their expertise.

I was pleased to see so many people I knew and didn’t know, art supporters who care deeply about the arts, all coming together on one common ground of awe and respect for the arts.

Earlier in the week, I had bumped into Alan Robison, director of the museum. We shared some common observations and talked of many ways to broaden our bases and get the word out about what we have here in Clarksville. So many are still unaware of not only the cultural and historical, but the myriad opportunities for fun, pleasure and even learning which Clarksville so readily offers.

In younger days, I would pass under the marquee of the Lyceum Theatre in New York and pine over the prospect that Ellis Rabb’s company of players were inside presenting Pantagleize, War and Peace, The Wild Duck, Hamlet and many others, all in repertory. I have longed for that here at the Roxy.

I got it with my Saturday class performing Spoon River Anthology, and now again with Leslie Greene, J. Robert Lindsey, Colin Ryan and Michael Spaziani in Civil War Stories. This is a collaborative effort, with all bringing to the table their willingness to create a piece of theatre worthy of the finest regional theatres across the country. Do plan on coming. Civil War Stories finished its run tonight at 8pm and tomorrow at 2pm and 8pm.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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