Please Give the Gift of Theatre This Season

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on December 27, 2013

I was often asked what I wanted for Christmas. What did I want?

Like my braced and bespectacled gentleman with the gracious and beautiful wife, I too have sworn off buying new clothes. At 66, I have everything I need. I don’t need to be trendy, just clean and neat. Oh, I still buy shoes (because they wear out) and socks and underwear (because I remember what my mother said …). But the rest — no.

I used to collect ceramic pumpkins (long gone, given out to Saturday class students many Halloweens ago) and Dept 56 Dickens’ Village houses. I got more pleasure out of giving them away to the children in the cast of A Christmas Carol last year than from all of the years they decorated my mantel.

The best gift — the big one, like the Intendo — would be a new theatre. If that’s too great for all our local Santas to manage, perhaps all the Roxy regulars would engage two others to attend with them. We would have more packed houses and, of course, fewer worries at the bank; and audiences would grow exponentially, making the need for a new center even more urgent.

I don’t feel that’s too much to ask, for you who have found pleasure, knowledge or simply joy in going to the theatre must have had someone introduce live theatre to you as well. Of course there are those, and far too many I might add, whose first exposure was to a play, musical or show either poorly done or not to their taste.

We have failed as well. There was once a woman who was appalled by Sondheim’s musical Assassins. The same can be said for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. It’s a matter of taste. We don’t go out of our way to offend, but we do inadvertently do so.

I want for all of these terrific teachers, principals, bus drivers and parents who provide the opportunity to experience professionally produced live theatre to be lauded and to know the gift they have offered their charges is invaluable in ways none of us can fathom. They are small seeds which, in time, will flourish into what kind of flower only God knows, but they will flower and we all will be better off for their blooms. This experience changes lives in small ways. A child picks up a book, sees how a problem is solved, and grows from the experience.

This is the end of the year. Soon we will be filling out our tax forms and looking for those deductions. Everyone has their favorite charity, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, like us. I know that when we engage a child, we open the door to greater learning. Education is the key. With it, so many worthy institutions would no longer be pressed; for with that diploma, work is easier to find and families easier to house and children to feed. Please think of us before the year ends.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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