Happy Holidays to All… And A Happy New Year!

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on December 23, 2011

Today is my most favorite day of all the year! The excitement and anticipation of great goodness to come permeates the air. It’s palpable; you can almost taste it. You see it on every face — the preparation for awe and wonder. It’s Christmas Eve Eve, don’t you know?

The theatre is darkened in honor of the season, the hope, the joy, the love, the faith we have in all things good and the knowledge that we, in our own small way, have added to or are a part of the universal good or, at best, done nothing untoward nor added to anyone’s unhappiness. We have Scrooged ourselves into a frenzy and have found redemption daily since Thanksgiving, sometimes twice and even three times a day.

I have used, for many years, a great quantity of wooden paint stirrers from Orgain Building Supply to prod, punish and push around Cratchit children … and even Bob himself, so affably played by Ryan Bowie. I almost, but never succeed in smacking the knuckles of Brandon Meeks as Nephew Fred, for I never really truly want to.

Brandon Meeks gave me the best Christmas gift yet. After all of those Christmas Carol performances, he took the time to share his intellect and companionship to help me create an even better and easier to understand Shakespeare by working scene-by-scene and act-by-act on The Winter’s Tale. Another gift is the knowledge that my colleague, superb actress and best friend, Leslie Greene, is returning in the new year to partner with me as the intrusive and un-informing adults in Spring Awakening, as is the knowledge that Kendall Anne Thompson (lovingly known as “The Green Girl”) is coming back to act in The Winter’s Tale and Spring Awakening alongside fellow Boston Conservatory graduate Gregory Pember (our Hamlet, etc.).

I’ve been writing “A Christmas Carol” on the paint stirrers, dating and signing them with a “Bah Humbug,” and tying them with a peppermint candy cane as a memento to all the children who have been part of A Christmas Carol. Addisyn Bryant, I know, already has three from working herself up from Tiny Tim (one of many young girls who have played him as a pants role) to Belinda to Martha. This is her second go-round as Martha.

Like Once Upon A Time’s fairy tales, Happily Ever After, the other side of the same coin, begins the post-Christmas field trip season. One group of children missed out on A Christmas Carol due to a lack of funding, but with the aid of the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Student Ticket Subsidy (STS) grant program, field trips to the Roxy are a given. Just contact Ann Brown at ann.brown@tn.gov, or visit http://www.tn.gov/arts/Student_Ticket_Subsidy.htm. Other available productions include Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage and Schoolhouse Rock Live.

The Vagina Monologues returns to theotherspace on Friday, January 6, at 8pm, while Happily Ever After begins its run of 2pm Saturday matinees on January 14.

God bless us, everyone!

[John McDonald]

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