Roxy School of the Arts Students Come of Age in “13: The Musical,” Opening in theotherspace Tonight at 6pm

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on May 11, 2012

RSVP (répondez s’il vous plait) has slowly become totally foreign to our Anglo-American sensitivities. Few adhere to its message of requested response. When someone says, “Well, that’s Clarksville,” I say, “No, it’s not!” It’s Middle American people who just don’t understand. But as my New York shrink would say, “Knowing the problem is halfway toward solving it.”

So for “Barbeque at The Baggett’s” this Saturday we are, of course, reserving more places than have actually RSVPed, as we did with “Mint Juleps and Gershwin at High Meadow” and, for that matter, all of our Galas and fundraisers. For we want to be inclusive rather than exclusive — and some people have yet to decode RSVP.

It was a weekend of bliss for anyone who was of an artistic bent. One could have taken in five out of six theatrical/musical events offered in Tennessee’s Top Spot.

There was, of course, the Metropolitan Opera’s live broadcast of Verdi’s La Traviata, presented at the Great Escape Theater on Saturday afternoon. At the same time, SchoolHouse Rock Live at the Roxy played to a nearly sold-out matinee, which I missed, as I had made a date to attend the opera. There are those of us who are trying our best to keep the Met shows a secret; despite that, the number of attendees grows with each performance.

One had three choices for the evening, one being The Foreigner, a hilarious comedy presented by the Cumberland Arts Centre, featuring our own Gavin Berlyak.

Or, for those who prefer their theatre edgier, there was the 8 Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening at the Roxy. It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who know the score, it is an awe-inspiring piece of work and a workout for the cast, musicians and backstage crew.

Other offerings were two one-act operas at Austin Peay State University — Riders to the Sea and Gallantry — the latter featuring Erin Keas, our newest addition from the pool of Austin Peay talent.

Someone stopped me during the La Traviata interval; she didn’t know we had opera here in Clarksville, nor that we had theatre. I was more than happy to enlighten her to our city’s many assets: theatre, music, dance, art galleries, the Customs House Museum, historical sites, the RiverWalk, marina, Fort Defiance, our parks, etc. And, yes, I did place the Roxy at the top of her list. I was not finished, but the 20-minute intermission was.

After 30-plus performances, SchoolHouse Rock Live closed last Saturday, as did Spring Awakening, making room for what places nicely in the educational canon between the two. “13,” an adolescent coming-of-age musical, opens tonight at 6pm upstairs in theotherspace and features School of the Arts students Gavin Berlyak, Tiffany Bonds, Christian Boyd, Jesse Boyle, Addisyn Bryant, Hannah Collins, Tristan Fetter, Samantha Grimes, Truman Jepson, Patrick Long, Sidney McCarty, Hollie Morse, Lauren Mund, Madeline O’Connor, JC Poland, Liam Poland, Deanna Shenk and Amy Wyer. All tickets are $10.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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