FLOPSY, MOPSY & COTTONTAIL Solves January Attendance Problem

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on January 30, 2015

For years we tried to solve the lack of attendance in January. Tom and I performed in two-character plays: Mass Appeal, A Life in the Theatre, etc. Once, we played for an audience of two.

The next year we went dark until March, which was a mistake. The shutting off of gas, water and electricity cost almost as much as remaining open, and we lost momentum.

We tried presenting five great American classics: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Death of a Salesman, A Delicate Balance, All My Sons and Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

The following year, one performance of Peter Rabbit in January sold more tickets than the aforementioned American classics sold in their entire run. So now we present a production to which grandparents can happily bring their grandchildren.

There is a belief in the theatre that working on holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and even your birthday is good luck. My birthday coincided with the joyous opening of Flopsy, Mopsy & Cottontail, which reminds me fondly of the opening of last season’s Tales of Hans Christian Andersen.

What happened first in that show was Hans (Michael Spaziani) running down the aisle, ending with a pratfall and throwing colored papers high in the air. At the first performance the children went wild with cries of laughter. I was sitting in the lobby, hearing the sound of glee with my ego swelling at what magic I had helped to create.

But the gods lift up the next person they are going to throw down. At the second performance Hans ran down the aisle as usual — pratfall, papers, etc. — and the next thing I know, a parent is leading a wailing child out of the theatre screaming, “That man hurt himself!” So much for pleasing everyone.

So many devoted Roxy regulars escorted their grandchildren to experience live theatre in their own backyard.

Judy and Fred Landiss brought their granddaughter Lily. She was dressed all in pink with shoes which lit up. She knew no stranger and carried on a conversation with me as if I were an old friend. I was charmed.

Susan and Stephen Baird brought grandchildren as well, a pair of future theatergoers, Everett and Emmaline. The two charming children were mesmerized by rabbits, kittens and mice running through the audience. Everett said, “It was the best part of my day!”

Jim and Dottie Mann have been longtime supporters of the Roxy Regional Theatre from its beginnings. Dottie brought her lovely granddaughter, Emily.

Debbie Striclyn, who often performs with the Cumberland Arts Centre, chose the Saturday matinee of these Beatrix Potter tales for her grandson, Christopher.

I equate a production’s success by the number of times or the number of children who become restless and have to leave to … none did.

Flopsy, Mopsy & Cottontail plays at 2pm this Saturday and next Saturday, February 7. Remember to come early for cookies and milk with the cast before the show.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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