Ryan Bowie Stars in theotherspace’s BUYER & CELLAR, November 9, 10, 16 and 17

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on November 6, 2015

“It’s veteran actor Jay Doolittle, who often is the story’s heart. His portrayal of the aging, disabled ranch hand Candy, who first loses his dog and then his hope for friends and a future, helps authenticate Of Mice and Men‘s overall message.  Not a happy story, this is a very real one.”

So ends Amy McRary’s review in the Knoxville News Sentinel, and so begins my tale of the busman’s holiday.  I have taken two so far this fall and hope to take a third before the chaos of Christmas begins — which, for us, all begins on this side of Halloween.

Jay, being a native of Knoxville, has at last made his debut in the prestigious Clarence Brown Theatre.  The University of Tennessee has a professional theatre on campus due to the generosity of Clarence Brown, Hollywood director of The Yearling, Ah,Wilderness!, National Velvet and The Secret Garden, to name only a few.

Although we have produced the Steinbeck classic twice, it is always interesting, if not pleasurable, seeing another director’s take on a production.  Jay had played the role of Candy for us, and I’m pleased he will be returning for The Magnificent Ambersons and The Taming of the Shrew this spring and elated that he mentioned the Roxy in his bio for Of Mice and Men.

My other theatre outing was to see Doubt, presented by APSU’s theatre department.  Doubt is another play we had produced here at the Roxy, but it was nice going and not having to care if the heat is working, the actors are unwell or there is a problem with a costume.

Doubt did not disappoint.  Noel Rennerfeldt’s set and lighting were most impressive and evoked much of what I remember of the ‘60s and parochial institutions.  All the students played their roles well.  I know that time and age will season them, but it’s always fun to see young people play older characters, being old myself.

A standout was my protégé Allison Ferebee.  Playing second female lead in her freshman year speaks much of her training at Northwest High, under instructor Jaime Dye Holder, and her time with our Parks and Rec Summer Theatre program and Saturday School of the Arts.

For the many fans of Roxy favorite Ryan Bowie, those who loved him in Santaland Diaries or Murder Ballad and were wild about Hedwig or Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Show will surely want to see his performance in Buyer & Cellar.  This is the story of a man and his relationship with megastar Barbra Streisand and his surreal employment as the shopkeeper of her own mall — which happens to be in her basement.

Buyer & Cellar plays upstairs in theotherspace at 7:00pm on November 9, 16 and 17.  Admission is $15 (recommended for mature audiences).  Next Tuesday, November 10, at 6:00pm, a special cocktail class — featuring martinis by MB Roland Distillery, hors d’oeuvres by Nicoletta’s Catering, and the performance — is available for a $50 ticket.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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