Blame for Low Attendance Falls on Many

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on April 22, 2016

My dearest friend said to me that seventy-five percent of my problem was that I am gay.

I was thunderstruck. Then I thought it over and considered maybe he was right. I wonder if my being gay kept people from coming to the theatre. Could that be true? I hope and pray not.

Iain Dale wrote, “One of the questions gay people are often asked is, ‘If you could be turned straight, would you want to be?’ My reply is to counter the question with another question: ‘If you could be turned gay, would you want to be?’ It’s a preposterous question … we’re all born the way we are. Trouble is, there are still a huge number of people who believe that it is something we choose.”

I’ve blamed myself for low attendance — something I’ve said, something I’ve done, some toes I have stepped on. I’m glad that families bring their out-of-town guests, but we need them to come when Aunt Ned and Uncle Mary aren’t in town.

Maybe Clarksville isn’t a city yet, since it constantly looks to other places for affirmation. Location, location, location — that’s what my friend Ted Jones says, and I firmly believe him right. We still get, “What’s the Roxy? What’s Fort Defiance? What’s the Customs House Museum? What’s Beachaven Winery? What’s Dunbar Cave?”

We have not done a great job of educating people, or maybe it’s the constant turnover in the community we have to reeducate. Half of our university is made up of nontraditional students, here to get that always longed for and much needed degree and then move on. Fort Campbell offers everything a family could want, including easy access to the interstate and places beyond Clarksville.

When I go to TPAC, I see Clarksville faces which never darken our door. Is it the mindset “if it’s here, it can’t be good?”

Green Day’s American Idiot — like Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar — began as an album, and then some creative genius (a Hal Prince or a Tom O’Horgan) devised a story around the songs.

In American Idiot, three friends grow up and out in their own separate ways. This is all told through song, and the songs are punk rock. This show is not for everyone, but the everyone it is for will be overwhelmed.

This is a collaborative effort, with CDE Lightband contributing visuals and APSU’s Department of Art + Design students, led by Professor Scott Raymond, creating the set to depict a post-9/11 environment. With Tom Thayer directing and playing keyboard, vibrant choreography by Philadephia’s Jenn Rose, John Waddle again managing the sound and playing bass, Jarrod Jackson on guitar, and Thad Wallus on drums, this is a must-see.

Green Day’s American Idiot opens next Friday, April 29, at 8pm, for our traditional pay-what-you-can preview. Any tickets not pre-sold at the regular ticket price will go on sale at 7:30pm that evening for a $5 minimum donation.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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