ON THE TOWN Opens for Pay-What-You-Can Next Wednesday

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on September 12, 2014

I’ve heard, via the Clarksville grapevine, a city council member said the new center for arts and education would never be built. Really? What happened to faith? Whatever happened to moving into the 21st Century?

I’m reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace. A phrase of Tolstoy’s seemed to be written for me. Tolstoy says, “No two people agree or understand anything in the same way.” I know that to be true. It is the universal human condition.

And, yet, to make lemonade from such sour is an easy task. You only have to see the kids in the Parks and Rec Summer Theatre program or the Saturday School of the Arts class performing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream — or, better yet, experience what happens when students come to the theatre on field trips to see, hear and experience the written word, live onstage. Grades improve, literature becomes clearer and more understandable, and everyone is better for it — educators, parents and, most especially, students. How could you not believe in the new center, not only for our youth or our tourism or our economy, but for all of us who see the arts as a reflection of the best part of the human spirit.

Leonard Bernstein’s On the Town opens tomorrow or, rather, previews for tomorrow evening’s Gala-goers, who will be the first to be entertained by three WWII sailors — Michael Spaziani, Ryan Bowie and Cameron Perry — on leave in the Big Apple, circa 1944. WWII is far from over. There is still almost a year of fighting remaining, and these young sailors are eager to squeeze a lifetime of living in what possibly may be their last 24 hours.

We were the very first theatre in the state to offer a pay-what-you-can performance. The pay-what-you-can preview for On the Town, our 32nd season opener, is next Wednesday, September 17. All tickets not previously sold will go on sale at 6:30pm for a 7pm performance. The line for Grease went around the block. I said to those waiting, “I wish you had been here for Les Miserables.” A woman retorted, “We love Grease — we don’t know what that other thing was.”

Anne Glass is one of those rare artists and musicians who are not only known, liked and loved in our community (and, no, you don’t have to be an Episcopalian to appreciate her musical ability). At the university, she is an institution. I’m unable to count the number of events at the Roxy of which Anne was a part — Forever Plaid, My Fair Lady, Cabaret and, now, On the Town — and she willingly played a rendition of “Rhapsody in Blue” in a tent at High Meadow. I’ve also witnessed firsthand her patience in accompanying young singers and working with and for the directors for the APSU Opera.

On the Town runs September 17 through October 4, playing Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7pm and Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, with a 2pm matinee on Saturday, September 27.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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