BLUES IN THE NIGHT Heats Up Cold Winter Evenings

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on February 12, 2016

Winter is almost two-thirds over. I’ve divided winter into thirds: my birthday, Valentine’s Day and The Ides of March.

For my birthday, I received a card which read, “Whenever you start forgetting stuff, I promise to tell everyone you’re drunk so they don’t think you’re just old.”

Valentine’s Eve — tomorrow, Saturday, February 13, at 7:00pm — is our annual “Martini Night,” featuring gin and vodka martinis and heavy hors d’oeuvres in the lobby before Blues in the Night. A few tickets remain, so please call the box office at (931)645-7699 to check on availability.

We lost performances due to the snow and ice. Besides the loss of ticket sales, I miss the opportunity to build an audience for the future. I know where my journey in life has led me, to make a difference and build an audience.

If one child picks up a book after seeing a performance here, then I’ve done my part. If we can help create an interest past the required reading, then our 30-plus years on the corner of Franklin and First has not been for naught. Perhaps I’m vain to think it’s possible, yet I’m eternally living in that hope.

I’ve been given the perfect cast for an eye-opening look into Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by way of a play entitled The Mountaintop, winner of the prestigious Olivier Award in Great Britain (which is equivalent to our Tony Award).

Phillip Bernard Smith is an authority on the great civil rights leader. Having performed this role innumerable times gives his performance a reality often missing when portraying a well-known and respected historical figure.

This time Phillip is paired with talented actress Mariah Sade Ralph, who studied at New York’s Herbert Berghof Studio, co-founded by Uta Hagen. Both of these performers also play important yet diverse characters in Blues in the Night.

Austin Peay associate professor Noel Rennerfeldt has created some artful and beautifully intricate sets for many productions at the university. He, assisted by Abigail Elmore, has honored us with a multifunctional set which serves as the Lorraine Motel for The Mountaintop and, with a turn or two, becomes a 1930s Skid Row hotel, perfect for singing the blues.

In Blues in the Night, three women — The Lady (Dwan Hayes), The Woman (Mariah Sade Ralph) and The Girl (Lacey Connell) — reside in this hotel, run by one man (Phillip Bernard Smith). All exist in their own world of the universal language of the blues. Musical accompaniment to over two dozen hot and torchy numbers is provided by John Waddle on bass and Thad Wallus on drums, along with my partner Tom Thayer on piano.

Blues in the Night continues tonight (Friday) at 8:00pm and this Saturday, February 13, at 2:00pm, as well as February 17 and 18 at 7:00pm and February 19 and 20 at 8:00pm.

The Mountaintop plays Wednesday, February 24, and Thursday, February 25, at 7:00pm; Friday, February 26, at 8:00pm; and Saturday, February 27, at 2:00pm and 8:00pm.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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