Midsummer Nights

By on 6 August, 2012 in Art, Fun, Greg Thornton with 0 Comments

Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin’s back
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song,
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid’s music.

-William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act II, Scene i

In the swelter now known as July 2012, Whitney walked into the Playhouse and with gusto and gift of voice and verve took the roof off the place. For three performances last weekend, the honor students of the Alabama State University Theatre program, infused the theater with their talent, their power, and their grace. The house was packed with folks from all over taking it all in at first and by the end of the show, they were dancing in the aisles, swaying to the beat, and embracing these artists with bravos and non-stop applause.

The audience was transported into the rarefied air where Daniella Cobb’s voice lives. Channeling Whitney Houston like some charmed siren, she put the place in a spell for an hour and a half. Her music was hot, it was cool, it drifted and soared, and she wasn’t alone. The six back-up singers and two dancers completed the picture and sound onstage while behind them the band played on, not missing a beat. I don’t think it mattered whether you were a fan of Whitney Houston, though that would have added to the pleasure of the evening, no doubt. These performers shined through the night. Anthony Stockard, a Professor of Theatre at ASU crafted the piece and directed this fine production. Rodney King, at the piano, was also the music director guiding the cast and his band with a sure hand and keen sense of the material. The blend of the voices fully complemented each other, with Desiree Gatson, Jasmine Gatewood, and Korey Hedgeman handling the duets with Cobb in fine dramatic fashion. The intimacy of the Playhouse theater left you with a sense that at times you were sitting in a club, while at other times, it seemed a church which, of course, the Playhouse was for many years. Whitney, One Moment In Time, was originally performed at ASU in the spring. The three performances at the Playhouse benefited the Seek A Life Useful Scholarship of the Alpha Psi Omega National Honor Society, Chi-Chi Chapter.

What a pleasure and privilege to have these talented students among us. As they rehearsed, performed, and loaded the show in and out, it was abundantly clear how much they cared about each other and what they were doing. And now, they are part of the Playhouse family. It meant a lot to them to be here working on the show. It meant a lot to all of us. They will be back often, if we can hold on to them.

In the meantime, thanks to them and to all who came out to support their effort. As a memorial tribute to Whitney Houston, it was especially noteworthy for me since it honored a Jersey girl from my home area. One of the songs that rang through the Playhouse during the first act of Whitney pretty much summed the whole thing up: “Joy, joy… unspeakable joy.”


Auditions for OPUS: August 22 & 236-10 p.m.

Please see our website for specific information.

Playhouse School Fall Classes begin September 11  and are nine-week sessions

OPUS October 11-21 — Th/Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m. & Sun 2 p.m.

LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL October 26-287:30 p.m.

SEASONS GREETINGS December 6-16 Performances Th/Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m. & Sun at 2 p.m.

Please see our website or call 334-262-1530 for more information.

Greg Thornton is the Artistic Director of the Cloverdale Playhouse.

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