THE GREAT GATSBY Opens This Friday at 8pm for Pay-What-You-Can

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on November 8, 2013

Just as one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch, the opposite is also very true. One good example can make all the difference in the world.

Enter two newbies — Eli Jolley and Jake Jessup — two aspirants who are not totally green, but rather new to professional theatre and its machinations. Eager to learn the ropes and how things are done, they are wide-eyed and sponge-like, soaking up and hanging on every word said to get their bearings.

Michael Anthony Spaziani has been around awhile, since Romeo & Juliet as Paris, then Civil War Stories, Peter Pan, South Pacific (Lt. Cable), Spamalot (Sir Lancelot) and, most recently, The Rocky Horror Show (Dr. Frank N. Furter).

Michael, as Gatsby, takes direction and never says, “My character wouldn’t do that,” or anything other than a simple thank-you. He has been that good example of the true professional which the new actors mirror and, by that simple example, has made a disjointed cry of players an ensemble of artists.

The dream of every artistic director is to help actors create an ensemble where everyone is working together toward a collective goal of reaching for the unattainable perfection of an author’s intent — in this case, F. Scott Fitzgerald and his classic The Great Gatsby. What they have managed to do is present one of, if not, the best and most beautiful productions we have ever produced here on the Roxy stage.

Kyra Bishop had already created a simple set of moving pieces which, together or separately, create the multiple locations which the play requires.

Michelle Foletta is the dream Daisy, better by far than the Mia Farrow of my day and more ethereal than Carey Mulligan in the current remake. Modeled after F. Scott’s wife, Zelda, Daisy is a beautiful yet tragically flawed character played to perfection by Miss Foletta.

Jay Doolittle returns for his 59th role on the Roxy stage, along with my best friend and consummate actress Leslie Greene. Filling out the cast are Patrick Roberts as Nick Carraway, Jacque Clydesdale as Jordan Baker, Ashley Harris as Myrtle Wilson, Humberto Figueroa and Janet Mund.

Gary Shephard made it easy for us to travel to the Mabry Concert Hall at APSU, and it was packed to capacity. Tammy Bryant and Melissa Dempsey had invited us to perform. The performance part was a breeze; getting it all there and back was the rub. Luckily we have nice neighbors like Linda and Gary Shephard of Edward’s Steakhouse, and Gary has a truck. Wow! To fill that marvelous hall and have that huge ovation from all those young students, many new to the theatre, was a dream come true.

The Great Gatsby opens tonight at 8pm for our traditional pay-what-you-can preview. All tickets not pre-sold at the regular ticket price go on sale at 7:30pm for whatever price you wish to pay. Performances continue on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, with a 2pm matinee next Saturday, November 16.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

Previous post:

Next post: