Beloved Children’s Musical CAPTAIN LOUIE Opens for a Pay-What-You-Can Preview Tonight at 6pm

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on June 22, 2012

When Jordan Roth received the Tony Award for Clybourne Park, which had already garnered the coveted Pulitzer Prize, his acceptance speech summed up for so many of us the meaning of theatre:

“There are those rare people who can look at the world and see things the rest of us don’t see, until they show us — these are the writers. There are the special few who can take that vision and turn it back into a world — these are the directors. There are fearless beings that can live in that world and show us who we are — these are our actors. There are dedicated people who know why that world matters so very much: crew, theatre staff, producers, investors, managers, marketers. And then there are the people who step forward and say ‘show me this world, open me, change me’ — these are our audiences. And when all of these people come together and say ‘yes,’ there is theatre … we say thank you to everyone who says ‘yes.’”

We in the theatre are surrounded with yes-sayers. I always try to be one myself, although sometimes I fail at it, but the effort is all.

I had approached directing Captain Louie with some trepidation. The fear of starting anything new has always been my nemesis, even after fifty-plus years in theatre, thirty of them spent here on the corner of Franklin and First.

That fear turns into abject joy in an instant when a group of young and talented people say “yes,” “yes” to believing that a few old milk crates, planks of wood, some recycled bicycle wheels (generously donated by Sam Holt of The Bicycle Center of Clarksville) and gallons of bright red paint (the kind which can only be acquired from my friends in the paint department of Orgain Building Supply) could be transformed into a Red Baron-esque biplane. Captain Louie (played by Sean Ormond) remembers his old neighborhood friends (Hannah Church, Regan Featherstone, Humberto Figueroa, Erin Keas, Rob Rodems and Amy Wyer) and longs to be accepted by the kids in his new neighborhood.

This little musical has a huge heart, for it comes from the pen of Stephen Schwartz, the composer of such hits as Godspell and Wicked, along with Anthony Stein, who adapted the story from The Trip by Caldecott award-winning author Ezra Jack Keats. This is make-believe and pretend on a grand scale, fulfilling the simple needs of an enchanting children’s tale with a message, a simple message at that, but an important one. It is a story of friendship, kindness and the willingness to welcome a new face and embrace the fear of the unknown and, by doing so, overcome it.

Tonight is the pay-what-you-can preview of Captain Louie. Tickets go on sale at 5:30pm for a 6pm curtain. Its premiere is the opener to the closing weekend of The Wedding Singer, which plays at 8pm tonight as well as Saturday, following 2pm and 6pm performances of Captain Louie.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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