Well, I was optimistic last week but I was mistaken. Bill Lusk changed his vote Monday morning and sided with pro-tax increase Councilmembers Susan Robertson and Annette Allen so Signal Mountain will have a 10% tax increase in spite of efforts by Councilmembers Dick Gee and Bill Wallace to avoid such an increase. Looks like it's time for me to head back to politician rehab, so I'd like to talk about the upcoming Playhouse production of "Beauty and the Beast"!
I have been a fan of the playhouse productions for many years. Several years ago, my kids got involved when Nathaniel played the Artful Dodger in Oliver! with his sister, Mary Eliza who played an orphan. The next year, they both participated in Oklahoma. I feel like I got to know the Playhouse people well and was a big supporter while I was on the Council. This year, however I decided it was time to take the plunge and try-out for the summer play myself, so Mary Eliza and I will be appearing in Beauty and the Beast! I will be playing the kindly bookseller which means I get to be in the "villagers" chorus for such show stoppers as "Belle", "Gaston" and the "Mob song" and attack on the castle! Mary Eliza is not only a school girl but shines brightly on stage as a candlestick in the castle!
It is a great privilege to be a part of this talented group and I feel honored and a bit awed. The show features such Playhouse regulars as Tim Forsythe as the vain and swaggering "Gaston", Rob Inman as the uptight and "t-t-t-tense" Cogsworth and Shandra Burnette as Babette, the sexiest featherduster in France. Michael Smith, who I saw doing a great job as Harold Hill in "The Music Man" at Chattanooga Theater Center is Lumiere, the candelabra while his son, Michael, Jr. is "Chip" the cup. Leslie Bell is Mrs. Potts, keeping everyone warm and well fed. Mark Oglesby is hilarious as Lefou, the ever-suffering, ever hero-worshipping sidekick to Gaston and Bob Roza puts his deep, sinister voice to good effect as Monsieur D'arque, the corrupt head of the insane asylum. Starring as Belle is Becky Gardner, who has the beauty and innocence required for the role, but enough spunk that you fully believe she could handle both the village bully and a ferocious beast! Matt Lynn plays the beast with the combination of ferocity and tenderness you know he possesses. I have left out a whole bunch of other folk (including long-term playhouse regular Denny Wolfgang as the baker, my fellow village merchant), so you'll just have to come out and see for yourself.
So, I hope this little mini-preview is helpful. I feel lucky and proud to be a small part of this group. It is inspiring to be surrounded by so much talent. While I have been a performing musician all my life, I haven't done theater since high school, but have been made to feel welcome and a vital part of the whole enterprise. Director Alan Ledford has a great way with both the kids and adults (that is, the over-21 kids) and David Wood is patient to a fault with our attempts to stumble through his choreography. Oh, and did I mention Mike Huseman? Mike is our pianist extraordinaire doing his best (and succeeding) to sound like the entire orchestra that I look forward to hearing when we open the show! I know Mike from his days as Chair of the MACC Foundation, but his piano-playing just makes me want to lock myself up and (as the old joke goes) practice, practice, practice!
So, no excuses... you have 8 opportunities to come see the show. July 8,9,15, 16, 22, 23, 29 and 30 or basically every Friday and Saturday night in July after the fourth, at 7pm each night. I look forward to seeing all of you there!