Pay-What-You-Can for HONKY TONK ANGELS Tonight at 8pm

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on February 13, 2015

Tonight is the “pay-what-you-can” preview for Honky Tonk Angels … not “pay-as-little-as-you-can,” but “pay-what-you-can.”

Honky Tonk Angels is unique in the fact that it is a classic country music musical. Jama Bowen, Kristina Wilson and Corinne Bupp are perfectly suited for their roles as “angels” and, indeed, of the honky-tonk variety, longing to be stars at the Ryman, with tunes like “Stand by Your Man,” “Harper Valley PTA,” “9 to 5,” “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “Ode to Billy Jo” and “I Will Always Love You.” This is the type of show which appeals to our audiences who enjoyed Always…Patsy Cline, Ring of Fire and A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline. Honky Tonk Angels owes its book to author Ted Swindley, who also wrote Always…Patsy Cline.

We were the first theatre in the state to sponsor such an event and have done so since 1992. A theatre in Nashville has a “pay-by-the-hour” — not the hours of the play; rather, a ticket price based on your hourly wage. That’s about what you pay for a movie ticket nowadays.

I firmly believe and am certain that live theatre is far more important to our quality of life, our own humanity and our culture than movies are. I think, if you go to the movies and willingly pay those prices, shouldn’t you pay at least that much to experience live professional theatre? It seems apropos that movie theaters make available popcorn — a truly expensive filler with, at best, minor nutritional value — whereas live theatre feeds the mind, enlivens the soul and touches the heart.

In New York, I had directed an Equity showcase where you could not require a set ticket price. Admission was by donation only. I had a detractor who put down a penny. Venue rental (mortgage for us), lights and electricity, royalties and costumes, props and scenery … and he paid a penny! Even though I had directed the play, I knew it was worth more. I usually become annoyed by people who want to put in their two cents, so you can well imagine how I felt about a penny.

Honky Tonk Angels plays on February 14 with a special event featuring “Martinis with …” and including heavy hors d’oeuvres which will complement everyone’s idea of a Happy Valentine’s Day. Performances continue on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:00pm and Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm, with a 2:00pm matinee next Saturday, February 21.

Children’s auditions for the roles of Michael and Jane (ages 10 to 13) in Mary Poppins are Monday, February 23, at 5:00pm. Interested auditionees should come prepared with one song, and they will also read from a provided script. Multiple casts will be selected, so children need not be able to attend all performances, but they will need to miss some school for weekday school matinees. A tentative schedule is at www.roxyregionaltheatre.org.

Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues were a success again this year, not only for us but for Clarksville’s SafeHouse and Nashville’s Magdalene House, which received $1,000 in contributions donated during our performances.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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