Longtime Roxy Supporters from the Past Gone But Not Forgotten

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on October 18, 2013

My longtime friend and onetime neighbor Olen Bryant wrote, “Thirty-one years? I choose not to believe that. If this is the case, you all were just children when all of this Roxy romp got underway … If this much time and endurance has happened, you can no longer validly be complaining like spoiled brats. You are too mature and all of that.”

Even after 31 years, I can stand before the stage, look out, and still see in my mind’s eye — seated at tables on the second level (which would now make it about row three in the theatre) — Grace Cunningham, Peg Harvill, Lillian Cross, Chloe Northington, Dorothy Ann Russo, Dan and Dorothy Gertrude Ross and friends, coming to matinees, regular as clockwork; and Reverend George Gracey sitting in the back, taking notes by candlelight which he would turn into Sunday sermons.

I could turn toward the stage and see again in my mind’s eye Carolyn Karhu, Dottie and Gary Conn, Betty Gaia, Mary Harpel, Anne Brown, Gene Wolf, Leroy Perry, Cinders Murdock Vaughan, Julia Martin, Virginia Collins and Debbie Boen — gone but not forgotten.

I believe those myriad performances, especially the good ones, still vibrate in this auditorium. How else would one gather the energy, will and stamina it takes to go on?

Mitchell Ketchens, who heads up Kenwood High School’s JROTC program, has for a number of years opened our Frolic on Franklin festivities with his Hi-Steppers. Their performance is always a crowd pleaser and a great kick-off to our daylong event.

His cadets not only performed in the morning during Frolic, but they managed to return later in the evening to disassemble the event. Dalen Warwick, Shaun Wilson, Shawn Taylor, Earnest White, Marissa Tucker, Leslie Walker, Andrew Stefko, James Scott, Makeba Dunham, Jaisha Shelton, Yamayrah Villalobos and Zara Baker made it all possible.

This year, thanks to Brad Martin, the CVB and the Rivers & Spires committee, we were donated for our event some cast-off, large, painted, moveable (if the pyramid stones are moveable) street art. They were definitely designed to stay put — and they did.

These totems were previously used during the first Rivers & Spires; but the previous movers had, I am sure, given up the ghost shortly after the initial move. So the strength of youth and the again tireless efforts of Mr. Ketchens’ JROTC cadets gave us the opportunity to store them high up in the balcony so that we might reuse them to brighten up next year’s Frolic.

Your last chances to catch Monty Python’s Spamalot are this week and next. Performances are at 8pm this and next Friday and Saturday and at 7pm next Wednesday and Thursday.

This Saturday at 2pm, the summer interns perform an encore presentation of Thorton Wilder’s The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden. The performance is free and open to public, but we will be accepting donations.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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