Pull in the Playhouse

By on 14 May, 2012 in Art, Fun, Greg Thornton with 1 Comment

“When you feel in your gut what you are and then dynamically pursue it – don’t back down and don’t give up – then you’re going to mystify a lot of folks.” – Bob Dylan

Tuesday marks the third in our series of “Third Tuesday” Guitar Pulls. The event is from 7-9 p.m. at the Cloverdale Playhouse. We started out with an idea of presenting a singer/songwriter night to spotlight the terrific musical talent that is throughout the River Region and the Southeast. That chat began in the fall of last year when we were still renovating the theater and making plans. Luckily for us, a number of fine musicians who play gigs around town jumped at the idea. Spearheaded by Joe Thomas, Jr., who is a member of the Zigtones, and has been performing for a number of years on his own as well, that chat became a plan, which became a reality and a really wonderful evening.

In March, Joe gathered three terrific singer/songwriters to join him on the Playhouse stage. For more than two hours Joe, Robert Bubba Hall, Jonathan Tew and Michael Thornton christened the place with original tunes and fantastic guitar playing. They sang and spoke about how they arrived at the songs they created. At the end of the night, they each did a Springsteen cover and jammed their way through to a finale. It was great stuff, and great to have the chance to just sit and listen to music in an intimate setting with the extraordinary acoustics in the Playhouse making it all pop and come alive. No TVs, no rack and break of 9-ball crashing into the atmosphere, no noisily idle chat from bar patrons looking to get noticed by some attractive patron or other at the far end of the room. Just folks sittin’ in and listenin’ and enjoyin’.

The musicians were really taken with the place. ”This is one of the best venues within a hundred miles,” Joe Thomas remarked. “We’ve got to keep this going.”

Bubba Hall added: “This is one great thing going on here.”

And so, we did keep going into the following month, on a rainy April evening and up onstage were Mac Cone, Andrew Lewis, and Will O’Rear playing and having quite a time talking about the songs they write and why and who for and what lady broke whose heart when and generally sharing the life and work of a songwriter. They talked about why one song needed a bridge here or a change of lyric there, why a certain tune needed to have a pop feel to it, just to prove it could be done and maybe make some coin in the process. The audience loved it. A small group had gathered that night to be sure, but the “Pull” is building and on we go to the third in the Third Tuesday series. Joe hosts these evenings and he is terrific.

Our featured artists on Tuesday are Chris Posey, Wesley Sherer, and Joe Wright. “It’s got a country feel, this one,” Joe tells me. And then adds:  “The atmosphere in the Playhouse, the energy, and the great talent is a perfect storm of entertainment.”

The admission price is $10. After an initial try of doing it on donations, we opted for this reasonable deal: two hours of music and an inside look at how a song is crafted. Pretty hard to beat, so pull in with us. If you cannot cover the ten spot, or you are a student, not to worry — Our doors are open to anyone.

Music continues the theme at the Playhouse with The BTW String Ensemble playing their final concert of the year on Saturday, May 31. Clay McKinney’s talented charges will perform in this free concert from 7-9 p.m.

We have held auditions for the Playhouse’s first musical production, “Starting Here, Starting Now,” the wonderful revue written by the gifted team of Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire, the same duo that brought us “Baby.” Some of the noted songs that director Randy Foster and his gifted cast of Sarah Carlton, Kristi Humphreys, and Chase McMichen will bring to vibrant life and get your toes tapping and your hearts fluttering include: “Flair,” “I Hear Bells,” “Watching the Big Parade Go By,” and “I Think I May Want To Remember Today.” And you will want to remember it as well. The production opens June 21 and runs through July 1. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, at 7 p.m. and Sundays 2 p.m.

And the beat goes on when the Playhouse hosts the Honors Theater program of ASU presenting “Whitney, One Moment in Time: A Musical Tribute” on Friday July 27 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 28 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The piece was conceived by faculty member Anthony Stockard and pays tribute to the much-loved and much-missed Whitney Houston. Proceeds from these performances will benefit the Seek a Life Useful scholarship of ASU.

And, as if that doesn’t seem like a full plate, “Fables Here and Then,” by David Feldshuh, the Playhouse Children’s Theater production will run July 12-16.This wonderful mix of myth, music, and magic weaves legends from around the world and tells the tales that will enchant, amuse, and enlighten. This is the inaugural production of the Children’s Theater.

The Cloverdale Playhouse School Summer Sessions will be held July 17-19 and during the following week, July 24-26.

The Summer Sessions consist of a variety of workshops and classes for K-2nd graders to Adults, from Fundamentals to Make-up workshops to Commedia dell’Arte to an audition class for college bound actors looking to land in a university theater program.

There’s a full schedule listed on our website.

For more information about all of these happenings, please visit our website or email us at: boxoffice@cloverdaleplayhouse.org

or call: 334-262-1530

or stop by at 960 Cloverdale Road, Montgomery, AL 36106

We look forward to having you with us.

Greg Thornton is the Artistic Director of the Cloverdale Playhouse.


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  1. Jesseca says:

    I hope these will be monthly, at least through the summer. If you have one in June, I’ll be there. Recovering from stupid oral surgery and on pain killers that I’m told don’t mix well with the alcohol or I’d be there right now. I’m also looking forward to seeing Kristi Humphreys and the rest of the cast in “Starting Here, Starting Now.” So much to look forward to!

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