Roxy Offers Myriad Opportunities to Engage and Enlighten Students

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on August 9, 2013

School is in session. Back in my day, we didn’t start until after Labor Day, and the nearest thing we had to a field trip was seeing the film version of Richard Burton’s Hamlet.

Times have changed. Now there are a myriad of places and things in our community to entice educators and enlighten students while adding an interest and expertise to their studies — the Customs House Museum, Fort Defiance and, of course, performances here at the Roxy Regional Theatre.

And since we have a professional company of thespians, all of our productions can and do play for students as weekday matinees, starting with the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic The Great Gatsby. (Yes, there was recently a film; but this adaptation, first presented by the prestigious Guthrie Theatre, stays true to the novel. I feel so strongly about being true to the text. Otherwise, it is like reading Classics Illustrated.)

The holidays bring Frog and Toad back to do their turn. This is the third time we have presented this modern classic children’s book, a treasure trove of songs, lessons and a wise understanding of loyalty and friendship.

Early in the new year, Hans Christian Andersen brings to the stage his charming tales, literally running down the aisle to the stage to start the show.

I’m proud (which always cometh before a fall, but nevertheless) that we have been producing Shakespeare here since 1986, thanks first to the generosity of Mrs. George L. “Monte” Narber, then to Jim Mann, and now the City of Clarksville. Those who teach the Bard can bring their students to see how professional performers in a live setting wrap their lips around those incredible words and make sense of iambic pentameter in this year’s Much Ado About Nothing.

Les Miserables follows, and with it comes a 1,400-page novel distilled into an award-winning, world-renowned musical. It takes awhile for these titles to become available to us, as regional theatres get their chance only after a production closes on Broadway, makes its national tours, and sometimes only after a much-acclaimed film. But all the films cannot beat the unique experience which only live theatre can and does provide.

Before the deadline for field trips comes around, we have A Woman Called Truth, the remarkable story of Sojourner Truth, a young woman born into slavery who ultimately emerged as a popular and respected figure advocating abolition and women’s rights.

South Pacific
is one of, if not the most beautiful piece of theatre we have ever produced here at the Roxy, up there with Into the Woods, Peter Pan, A Streetcar Named Desire, Annie, The Rink, Nine … and the list goes on and on. This Rodgers & Hammerstein classic not only looks, sounds and is exquisite; it also has a message of compassion, understanding and, most of all, love, exemplified by two children — Adriana Light and Bobby Morales. South Pacific continues through August 17 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7pm and Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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