Danke Schön, Mille Beannacht, Blessings a Hundredfold

By on 27 February, 2013 in Art, Fun, Greg Thornton with 2 Comments

Cabaret, Cloverdale Playhouse 2013. Photography by Edward Fieder"

“I want to thank anyone who spends a part of their day creating, I don’t care if it’s a book, a film, a painting, a dance, a piece of theater, a piece of music – anybody who spends part of their day sharing their experience with us – I think this world would be unlivable without art and I thank you.”
― Steven Soderbergh

I am sure it was the confluence of stars and planets and not any kind of brilliant plan, (well, who knows, maybe it was) that made us decide to open the 2013 Season of the Cloverdale Playhouse with a production of Cabaret on Valentine’s Day. To whatever theater gods were smiling down on us and proclaiming “amen” to this decision, I say “thank you.”

So many decisions come into play when taking on a production. It begins by choosing to do the thing, first of all. You must have a director who has a vision, find a cast who possess the heart, the commitment, and the talent, securing designers who are dedicated and think outside the box, and the thousand things one hasn’t even considered that pop up on a given day. Then, one just has to jump in the water with both feet.

Rehearsals started immediately following New Year’s Day of 2013. Our Cabaret company showed great courage, tenacity, and a wonderful spirit as they worked through the script and the score of a very challenging piece. The 1998 revision of Cabaret told a sparer, edgier, more truthful and, ultimately, more powerful story than previous versions. The reasons for this cover a wide swath of considerations: historical, cultural, political, theatrical and musical. Audiences have been exposed to a much more diverse kind of storytelling than the world that the American musical faced in 1966, when Cabaret first opened on Broadway.

As new and powerful pieces of theater become available for production, we look to continue our mission of presenting exciting and challenging theater that enhances the artistic life of our community in Montgomery and offers a source of entertainment for audiences throughout the River Region. The audience that comes to the Playhouse experienced a challenging and expansive roster of plays in our first season. This production of Cabaret pushed the envelope a bit further and ended up rewarding us well for the risk taken. Sold-out houses for every performance allowed us to offer an added show in the second week of the run, fondly referred to as “Walk-Up Wednesday.” On this evening, audience members paid what they could afford and then took their seats in the Playhouse. We want to continue providing these kinds of “pay what you can” performances when the response calls for it. We are immensely grateful for the response this show received.

This takes me back to the heart of the thing and the reason why we do what we do. The gift that is given makes no sense, holds no justification for it, and manifests no grace within it, unless it is given away. To watch the actors, musicians, designers, and crew embrace this show and then give it away at each and every performance was a privilege to hear and to behold. It was all led by the incomparable Randy Foster, and I say: “Bravi tutti” to the Cabaret company for an extraordinary and memorable experience.

 “I will arise and go now, for always night and day 
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.”

-from The Lake Isle of Innisfree William Butler Yeats

Irish Voices, Saturday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m.

When we presented Irish Voices last season on Saint Patrick’s Day, the folks in the Playhouse that evening gave us such a warm reception that we decided to bring it back for another go ‘round. Some things grow to become traditions and our hope is that Irish Voices will be such a one. I was thrilled to learn that every one of the actors from the performance last season will be back to join me onstage, along with some new faces and a few new band members to celebrate the wit and wisdom, poetry and music that emanates from the great isle of Ireland. From wonderful playwrights such as Brian Friel and Sean O’Casey to the extraordinary poetry of Seamus Heaney and William Butler Yeats to the wit and wisdom of Frank McCourt and Jonathan Swift, along with a tune or two, it ought to prove an enchanted evening well-spent at the Playhouse.

Coming up at the Playhouse:

  • Thursday, March 14,7 p.m.: An Evening of Dance, Music, & Poetry. A free showcase by the Alabama State University Faculty and Students of the Performing Arts Departments
  • Tuesday, March 19, 7 p.m.: The Joe Thomas, Jr. 3rd Tuesday Guitar Pull. On this evening, we celebrate our first anniversary of original singer/songwriter nights. Featuring six artists: Robert Bubba Hall, Andrew Lewis, Zac Martin, Jess Meuse, Kip Traylor, and Michael Thornton.
  • April 11-14, 18-21: The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl. Our second production of the 2013 season. This wonderful play by an extraordinary young playwright looks at class, comedy, and the true nature of love. This truly funny play was a 2005 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. Performances: Thursday-Saturday 7:30 p.m.,  Sundays 2 p.m.

For further info: Call 334.262.1530
Email: info@cloverdaleplayhouse.org

Greg Thornton is the Artistic Director of the Cloverdale Playhouse.

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There Are 2 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Ed Fieder says:

    Well said and couldn’t agree more. Looking forward to more from the upcoming season.

  2. Scott Page says:

    What a joy this whole experience was. Thank you to everyone involved!!

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