Support from APSU Community Over the Years Keeps the Roxy Strong

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on September 25, 2015

I am loath to fathom how difficult it would have been if we had not had, from our very beginning, a tremendous amount of support from APSU.

I remember Dr. Joe Filippo organizing the 1983 Southeastern Theatre Conference’s reception in the Roxy lobby. He helped make our fledgling project known to a great number of theatres.

Long before any work had been done, that September’s conference goers were greeted by a dark empty theatre. Everything a fledgling theatre would need to open was absent. The only renovated space was our newly painted lobby. Nothing else gave any sign of progress toward our planned November opening.

In his unique way, Dr. Filippo was acknowledging to all the southeastern theatres that another legitimate theatre company would soon be added to their roster.

We did open, on November 3, 1983, with Mack and Mabel. I regret not further engaging Dr. Filippo. I let his years of experience slip through my ignorant fingers.

Dr. Richard Gildrie and his wife, Meredith, came on board once their youngest daughter Evy showed interest in this art form. Professors now donned costumes and played any parts requested of them. Meredith is on constant call to sew, mend or make costumes.

Dr. Art Eaves directed A Member of the Wedding to open a season and, from time to time, donned a costume or two.

Dr. Ted Jones has played roles and played the harp multiple times — once both in the same production.

Professor Tom Palen designed and directed A Thousand Clowns and Merry Wives of Windsor, doing double-duty.

Dr. Sara Gotcher appeared in The Taming of the Shrew and played a major role in Steve Ryan’s adaptation of Caroline Gordon’s Strange Children.

Sally Welch, APSU adjunct professor, has portrayed many roles for us, even appearing in the musical I Remember Mama.

Olen Bryant designed and built, along with Mike Andrews, our set for The Threepenny Opera.

For years, Susan Bryant lent her photographic artistry to promote our productions. Her husband, Billy Renkl, adds a touch of class to our annual Shakespeare by creating art especially for the production.

We presented Mary Alice’s Ladder, a play by Barry Kitterman, who has served on our board of directors for many years. Dr. Jill Eichhorn, his wife, initiated and appears annually in our production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, now in its 14th year.

Darren Michael acted in Happy Days, and we presented his one-acts in theotherspace.

Costumer extraordinaire Lilo Rogoish has made the enormous APSU costume collection available to us.

Joel Thomas easily breathes life into dead or dying lighting instruments.

Currently, professor Noel Rennerfeldt designs the lighting for our productions.

One professor’s expertise has led to another’s engagement. We have been very fortunate.

Lionel Bart’s Oliver! opens tonight (Friday) at 8:00pm for our pay-what-you-can preview. All tickets not pre-sold at the regular price will go on sale at 7:30pm for whatever price you are able to pay ($5 minimum).

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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