Up Next: Alicia Kelly Returns for SOUTH PACIFIC

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on June 21, 2013

Olen Bryant brought me back a program from this year’s Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. I know for certain that festival brings visitors from all over the country, and in fact all over the world. I attended it once and was in awe of the community, the event and the overall uplift above the common denominator which that art event entailed.

I’m reminded of Cindy Marsh’s efforts in establishing “Plein Air” some years ago, which morphed into “Frolic on Franklin” and now segues into the Roxy Gala. I know if we were consistent … consistency is the key. The ArtWalk, for instance, started small but has grown and blossomed into a well-attended, full-fledged First Thursday event.

For a while, it was often said (and I hope that time has passed) that we should emulate Franklin, Tennessee. Franklin is a lovely place, like Memphis, Chattanooga and Knoxville, too. If we can admire and relish the vast difference in each of Tennessee’s larger cities, can we not better define who we are, not as another Franklin, but as Tennessee’s Top Spot, the Queen City on the Cumberland.

Alicia Kelly, our Grizabella in CATS and Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, is coming back as the lead, Nellie Forbush, in South Pacific. Alicia was featured a number of times on this year’s televised Tony Awards, showing her on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas in the Kander and Ebb hit musical Chicago. She is the consummate professional, either as a very backward Airie in The Robber Bridegroom or as a feisty Maureen in RENT. What an incredible joy it is to have her back!

Alicia was so wonderful onstage here, and South Pacific is such a songfest of some of the best Rodgers and Hammerstein music. In the past, we produced 3-1/2 of their shows: Oklahoma, The Sound of Music, Carousel and I Remember Mama, which only featured Richard Rodgers as composer, with Martin Charnin providing the lyrics for the late Oscar Hammerstein.

The Marvelous Wonderettes continue to make magic on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7pm and Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, through June 29.

By day, fifty-plus Parks & Rec Summer Playhouse participants dance to music from the upcoming musical Tarzan and workshop Tales of Hans Christian Andersen while performing improvs and playing theatre games with my favorite actress and best friend, Leslie Greene. During the first week of this program, the Clarksville Parks & Recreation Department, along with the Roxy Regional Theatre, proudly awarded “Performer of the Week” to Vivian Hurn, Ben Potter, Lillie Rich and Raven Smith.

The interns (Summer Aoki, Gavin Berlyak, Jesse Boyle, Kourtni Cottrell, Grace Davis, Darci Gautam, Emma Justice, Ashley Knowles, Katherine McCarty, Sidney McCarty, Lauren Mund, Madeline O’Connor and Amy Wyer) are a bit more serious about the theatre, so they are in rehearsals for Thornton Wilder’s The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden, which will be presented during their free “informance” on Friday, July 12, at 2pm.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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