Roxy’s 29th Season Opens with Sounds of the Sixties

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on September 16, 2011

We opened in 1983 with Mack and Mabel, a failed Broadway musical. I was too smart for my own good, thinking, “Old movie theatre … silent movies, etc., would sell tickets.” I was wrong. Harry Orgain, Jr., tried to tell me so, but I wouldn’t listen.

As season openers, The Shadow Box and A Member of the Wedding didn’t fare much better. Solely by accident, we stumbled onto success with All Shook Up, Shout and, now, Beehive. Now I know that it’s not the show — it’s what the show represents. I am a baby boomer, but I am also a child of the ‘60s. All of those songs represent clear and specific key moments in my own life and a lot of other people’s as well.

I am often asked, “How do you choose a season?” So many variables come into play, and availability is only one. All theatres await the release of a Phantom of the Opera. But, with the Roxy being a regional theatre, a hit must finish its Broadway run, and national tours must make their rounds, perhaps more than once. Bus and truck productions follow, and then major houses in Chicago, San Francisco and Boston all have first dibs. Then and only then do we get a shot at presenting it. That shot may be too little too late.

The curriculum productions are easier. Just rely on the educators and Shakespeare, other than the five which continually circulate: Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet. For years, I’ve been trying to introduce works not always in that five-play rotation, like this season’s The Winter’s Tale, and expose students to Shakespeare, since anyone who studies The Bard can learn from seeing any of his works.

The Christmas season takes care of itself with A Christmas Carol. We’ve finally fixed January, which, for years, was truly hard going. I look at the wall backstage where I’ve checked off performances of Hansel and Gretel in 2009 (41) and last year’s Carol (35), and one can only hope and pray that we won’t be snowed out. The bank likes us to go there every day with cash and checks to deposit, but all the climate change has played havoc with our small theatre. And Irene (also a Broadway show starring Debbie Reynolds) had enough strength to darken the Great White Way for three performances. So anything is possible.

Yoga with Travis Kendrick, certified yoga instructor, continues from 8:30am until 9:30am, Monday through Friday. The Roxy’s Saturday School of the Arts offers drama, dance and singing this month with APSU voice instructor Dr. Thomas King.

Tonight at 8pm is the pay-what-you-can preview for Beehive: The ‘60s Musical Sensation! Any tickets not pre-sold at the regular ticket price will go on sale at 7:30pm for whatever price you wish to pay. Tomorrow is “Frolic on Franklin: A Celebration of the Arts,” followed by the sold-out 29th Anniversary Roxy Gala.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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