School of the Arts Begins with Gala and ON THE TOWN Hot On Its Heels

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on September 5, 2014

The Roxy Regional School of the Arts begins its fall/winter session tomorrow (Saturday) at 9:00am. That, for me, is a heavy burden, for I must try my very best to emulate my early mentors — Sherwood Lohry, Alan Bates, Ray Hill, George Touliatos, Eugart Yerian and Sister Mary Sebastian, some of Memphis’ leading directors and drama instructors — dear and kind people from my past, all who opened that door to the world of theatre for me and, I know, for many, many others as well.

The theatre is a world of make-believe, marvels and wonder, a world which when entered requires hard work. None of this is apparent in the beginning. One is first seduced by the razzle-dazzle of it all. The work either grows on you or, rather, turns you off. Either way you are changed merely by the exposure to it.

I know that in our Parks and Rec Summer Theatre program, children become more confident and less fearful of speaking in public. If that were the program’s only credit, that would be more than enough. But there is more, much more, and that more is fully explored on Saturday mornings at the Roxy.

This year — along with drama, dance with Jessica Davidson, and voice with Michael Spaziani — we are adding another discipline to the School of the Arts: technical theatre, headed up by our stage manager, JonNell Paschall. The cost is $60/month for only the drama portion from 9:00am to 11:00am, or $100/month for the drama, dance and voice lessons from 9:00am to 12:30pm.

At 67, I do not find it easy to recall that slightly backward and totally socially inept 15-year-old who had no aim, goal or interest in anything outside of himself. But those earlier educators saw something in me which perhaps I hoped, yet doubted, I had — call it talent, call it longing. These highly skilled professionals accepted me. I am blessed in being able to give back to other young hopefuls the same respect, guidance, support and positive criticism that was so honestly and tactfully given to me.

This fall, all aspiring School of the Arts students will need to audition on the first day with a short monologue — a poem, lyrics, or a few lines from anything will do. Students will need to know it and bring a copy of the piece with them. It is essential to weed out the “my-mother-made-me-do-it” from those hopefuls who wish to exercise their talents and polish their skills.

A Night on the Terrazzo continues on Thursday at 7pm and Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, through September 12, with a 2pm matinee this Saturday. Admission, which is $20, includes a beverage and light refreshments.

Next Saturday’s 32nd Anniversary Roxy Gala, all but sold-out, will feature a sneak preview of the Bernstein classic On The Town, currently celebrating its 70th Anniversary and a Broadway revival. Starring Stacy Turner, On The Town opens for its pay-what-you-can preview on Wednesday, September 17, at 7pm.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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