Preview New Season with “Happenin’ at the Hollemans'” Next Tuesday, May 7

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on May 3, 2013

It was Fred Landiss’ idea in the first place to have “Gershwin at High Meadow.” (I think the “Mint Juleps” were mine, but I won’t argue the point.) Jimmy and Lena Orgain graciously opened their home and offered Southern hospitality, making everyone welcome. We made money for the new center, George and Sharon Mabry added their talents to the overall festivities, and The Bound’ry’s catering was awesome and plentiful.

We felt so good about our first spring event that a second seemed inevitable — so it became “Barbeque at the Baggetts’.” Herb and Sallie’s home is a paradise at the end of a long road. A smattering of rain that day did nothing to dampen the goodwill and fun. And the food by Wayne Abrams, Bubba’s Tennessee Smoker’s Chief Cook, was more than enough to make it all worthwhile.

“Happenin’ at the Hollemans’” is this year’s spring fun-raiser. Mark and Ricki have offered their home (1280 Madison Street) from 5:30pm until 7:30pm this coming Tuesday, May 7. This is a new and different style of event, a chance not only to see theatre up close and personal, but also an opportunity to be a part of the decision-making processes and support the season. Each production has a theme, a food, a game, beverage and/or entertainment — a kind of Cairo bazaar in the Hollemans’ backyard. Food, libation, entertainment — something for everyone.

Catering is by Fire & Ice. Horace Heggie of Pal’s Package Store is providing the makings for martinis and mint juleps, Beachaven Winery’s Ed and Louisa Cooke will provide the fruit of the vine, and our good friends at Budweiser of Clarksville are providing brew. Iced tea and lemonade are on the menu as well.

I cry more now, and at the drop of the proverbial hat.

APSU Opera’s Hansel and Gretel touched me in a way that I had forgotten I could be touched. As the lyric in the opera says, “When past bearing is our grief, God himself will send relief.” That simple sentiment always brings me to tears.

The production’s director, Lisa Conklin-Bishop, assembled a young and very talented group of singers. Her concept was a new one, without being jarring, and supported the Humperdinck music exquisitely. I was entranced.

Kyra Bishop is a young genius — a knucklehead genius nonetheless. Her set was awesome. Everything was larger than life. The cottage appeared to be (but wasn’t) bits and pieces of clutter one might find in an abandoned and dilapidated house’s backyard. The forest’s magical appearance deserved applause, but no one wanted to disturb conductor Gregory Wolynec’s orchestra, which played so beautifully.

I know from experience that it could not and would not be saved and stored away, so it was a treasure for the moment and for the moment was a beautiful one. Opera, like theatre, and all actors’ performances are alive in the moment, and with that nothing can compare.

Peter Pan flies for two final short weeks and then returns to Never Land.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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