LES MISERABLES Off to a Grand Start

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on April 4, 2014

The George and Sharon Mabry Concert Hall was almost full for A Mabry Songbook, a fundraiser for the new center for arts and education, organized by George and Sharon and featuring them alongside their current and/or past students.

As Dr. Tim Hall said recently at the Ovation Awards ceremony at the Customs House Museum, “All of us can do more than any of us.” I kept thinking about his words during the concert.

The event was glorious. Sharon Mabry sang beautifully. She has a unique voice, a gorgeous sound so heavenly and effortless, one thinks that must be how the angels sound.

Dr. George Mabry, as host that night, was in rare form. I wish God had blessed me with his facile charm and quick wit. The only complaint I heard is that he did not sing more himself. Perhaps next time.

Almost full! I cannot but think how, if each attendee would and could engage just two others to join them, we could fill to overflowing not only the concert hall but all arts venues and be twice as far along as we are now, not for me or us, but for all those myriad young people who will take full advantage of the new arts center.

Viewing the performance, I was reminded that Paul Carol Binkley, soon after graduating from APSU, gave one of his first concerts here at the Roxy and afterward sold cassette tapes of his music. I still have mine. And David Steinquest, then new to APSU, gave his first Halloween Percussion Ensemble concert here at the Roxy. Somehow it all seemed appropriate that they, too, participated in that grand event. Everyone was there to help the Roxy, Clarksville and all of us to support the center for arts and education.

Les Miserables has opened with a grand soiree to celebrate it and the fact that this old movie theatre has lasted 67 years, over 30 years of which it has housed a company of players proffering Shakespeare, Dickens, Inge, Abee, Williams, Wilder, Wilde and Poe on a regular basis.

I am so proud of the artists we have assembled for this amazing and huge undertaking.

Will Sevier as Jean Valjean is a kind, gentle, dear and extremely talented man, tending a career while happily married with two young children, one only a few months old. I think, more often than not, it takes a real father to play one onstage; and Will’s voice, like one of the lyrics in Les Miserables, is heaven sent. We are so fortunate to have an artist of this caliber in such an important role.

Donald Groves as Javert is a consummate pro, nothing untoward about him. He represents not evil, but that tireless driven quality of supreme self-righteousness without the gentle touch of Portia’s quality of mercy.

Les Miserables continues through May 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7pm and Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, with 2pm matinees this Saturday and April 19.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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