CAPTAIN LOUIE and DEFYING GRAVITY Prepare to Make Way for HAPPY DAYS

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on July 6, 2012

To hear our mayor and city council discussing the probability of our new center for arts and education moves us even further toward success. The articulation and clarity of our mayor in expressing her passionate and heartfelt support of our efforts, and the partnership we will gain, are incalculable.

The longer I live here in Tennessee’s Top Spot, the more I see the growth, enlightenment and the numerous improvements made for our common good by our city’s leaders. I am joyful that I have lived to see this city make such leaps and bounds toward a more cosmopolitan town, a city which can hold its own with any other for its attractions and cultural benefits, not only for our citizens, but for visiting tourists as well.

Mrs. George L. “Monte” Narber had first heard about us from her best friend, the late but much-loved Grace Cunningham. Although a Clarksville native, Monte was then living in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, but Grace wrote to Monte with great praise for our efforts. So on a very cold winter’s day, with a heating bill soaring through the roof (which Dan Stark, then head of the Gas and Water Department, allowed us to pay in installments), Monte sent a check which was like a million dollars to us novice theatre hopefuls.

Monte also produced our annual Shakespeare. On her passing, Jim Mann took up that gauntlet, and now our city fathers produce our annual Shakespeare, making us here in Clarksville the only city in Tennessee where the works attributed to the Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon are presented on an annual basis (and have been since 1986).

The spark that Monte ignited grew and inspired others. We needed to honor her and also to honor the numerous others who have done their bit to keep us going and growing stronger here on the corner of Franklin and First, so for the past 28 years, we have awarded “Montes.”

This year’s Monte Award went to Lena and Jimmy Orgain for their support of our new center for arts and education, along with Judy and Fred Landiss. Both couples have given us hope, the hope to continue our efforts and have faith in its coming to fruition. The Grace Cunningham Award went to Della Coleman.

Captain Louie plays its final performances at 6pm tonight and 2pm and 6pm tomorrow, as does the charming revue Defying Gravity: The Music of Stephen Schwartz, which plays tonight and Saturday at 8pm.

I didn’t know Happy Days when it was a very popular television sitcom, circa 1974 to 1984. As a child, I had seen every movie made from 1955 to 1967, but when I went to New York City to study, I was without a TV. So the nostalgia of Happy Days is lost on me — but, it seems, not on anyone else. The pay-what-you-can preview of Happy Days is Thursday, July 12, at 7pm. All tickets not pre-sold at the regular price go on sale at 6:30pm.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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