Area lawmakers announce $72,190 in Anderson County arts grants

Tennessee legislators announced Friday that seven arts grants worth $72,190 have been awarded to six organizations in Anderson County.

The recipients include the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge, Oak Ridge Community Playhouse, Oak Ridge Civic Music Association, Oak Ridge Community Art Center, Tennessee Mountain Writers, and Appalachian Arts Craft Center.

The grants include two grants with a combined total of $20,800 for the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge in the categories of Arts Education-Community Learning and Partnership Support.

The other grants include: [Read more…]

Arts Council asks for your support in United Arts Fund Drive

Arts Council of Oak Ridge Logo

The Arts Council of Oak Ridge is asking for your support in this year’s United Arts Fund Drive.

The annual drive kicked off March 15 and ends April 30.

Here is the letter the Arts Council sent to arts supporters in March:

Dear Arts Supporter,

Oak Ridge has always had a strong arts community—even as a secret city—and the arts continue to be essential to the health and vitality of Oak Ridge and Anderson County today. They enhance community development, spur urban renewal, attract new businesses, draw tourism dollars, create an attractive environment for skilled, educated workers, and help make the Oak Ridge area a great place to live, work, worship, and play. The arts organizations in Oak Ridge are vital because they support and supplement school activities, attract tourists and visitors, and offer volunteer and participation opportunities. [Read more…]

Reminder: ORHS Masquers present ‘Oliver’ from March 6-8

ORHS Masquers Oliver

Pictured above are Lucas Potter as Fagin, Toby Taylor as Oliver, and Matt Harder as the Artful Dodger in the ORHS Masquers production of “Oliver.” (Submitted photo)


Oak Ridge High School Masquers, the school’s drama program, will present the musical “Oliver” in four performances in March.

The performances are scheduled for Friday, March 6, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, March 7, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, March 8, at 2 p.m., at the Oak Ridge Performing Arts Center at ORHS.

Director Dana Wham, whose first performance as a young actor was in “Oliver,” has directed, choreographed, or acted in numerous adult and children productions throughout the region, and says this year’s musical is the biggest the school has produced during her time as director. [Read more…]


Masquers’ fall play: ‘Murder in the Magnolias’

ORHS Masquers Murder in the Magnolias

By Benjamin Fowler

Oak Ridge High School Masquers, the school’s drama program, will present “Murder in the Magnolias,” an ensemble comedy, in three performances this month.

The performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, November 13, and Saturday, November 15, and 2 p.m. Sunday, November 16, at the Oak Ridge Performing Arts Center. The ensemble comedy blends Southern plays with a dollop of Tara Plantation, delightfully madcap characters, and a garden full of plants with minds of their own. Colonel Rance Chickenwing III passes away, launching a family frenzy to find his buried fortune. [Read more…]

Guest column: Don’t miss ‘Ain’t Misbehavin'; show ends this weekend

Ain't Misbehavin'

By Gene R. Dunaway

It opened April 25 at the Oak Ridge Playhouse and closes Sunday, May 11, and “Ain’t Misbehavin'” is a production to miss at your peril! A show of almost two hours of non-stop music, dance, and jive, I found myself struggling to remain seated and not jump up and join in the fun.

Go through the lobby doors, and you have time traveled back to Harlem during World War II. The smoky haze of a late-night club envelopes you. A lone piano player, Wendel Werner, is stroking the keys.

Presently, he is joined on stage by Alexis Tidwell, Lar’ Juanette Williams, Amy Coleman, Dann B. Black, and Tony Williams II. This ensemble, backed up by an intimate house band, explores the heights of a full-blown party to the depths of love gone wrong.

Along the way, we are treated to exceptional solos, duets, trios, quartets, and quintets. The dancing is contagious and choreographed by resident artistic director Reggie Law (a man of many talents). [Read more…]

Princess Theatre to host student talent show May 2

Area K-12 students will share their talent in music, dance, drama, storytelling, and art during the first Multicounty Talent Show at the Princess Theatre in downtown Harriman in May.

The show, presented by the Princess Theatre Foundation, will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 2. Tickets are $5 for adults and will be available at the door. Students will be admitted free.

Dove and Grammy-nominated songwriter John Condrone will perform before the show and serve as emcee. Local radio station WECO 101.3 FM will have a live remote before the show, and sidewalk art by local students will be on display. [Read more…]

Guest column: Arts Council kicks off fund drive, asks for your help

Arts Council of Oak Ridge Logo

Dear Arts Supporter,

The Arts Council of Oak Ridge is kicking off the United Arts Fund Drive this March and April. We are so grateful for the past support from the citizens in our city and county and know that you realize the arts are essential to the health and vitality of our community. The arts enhance community development, spur urban renewal, attract new businesses, draw tourism dollars, and create an environment that attracts skilled, educated workers. Oak Ridge has a long history of a strong arts community, which contributes significantly to an enriched place to live, work, worship, and play.

We are asking you, as a member of our community, to help us continue these vital endeavors by making a tax-exempt donation to this year’s United Arts Fund Drive. As a supporter of the arts, you or your business will receive additional benefits. At the $150 or above donation level, your name or business’ name will be listed in every printed program of every event presented by the eight member organizations as well as in regional newspapers, magazines, our website, and the new Arts Council app for smartphones and tablets reaching more than 50,000 residents. At the $500 or above donation level, links from our website to donor websites will also be provided. Pledges must be received by July 31 to be included in programs and publications. [Read more…]

Oak Ridge Masquers performs ‘Guys and Dolls’ this weekend

Masquers "Guys and Dolls"

The Oak Ridge High School Masquers’ production of “Guys and Dolls” starts Friday, March 7, and ends Sunday, March 9. Pictured above are Maguire James as Nathan Detroit and Emily Bultman as Adelaide. (Submitted photo)

By Gwendolyn Hay

The Oak Ridge High School Masquers are bringing to life “Guys and Dolls,” which will be presented at the Performing Arts Center at Oak Ridge High School from March 7-9. Directed by Dana Wham, the production is an exciting performance by the cast and crew to finish out their fourth season.

This Damon Runyon story takes place in 1950s New York City and follows Sarah Brown, an object of affection for Sky Masterson, a high-rolling gambler. Masterson must get Brown to agree to go on a date with him to win a $1,000 bet placed with Nathan Detroit, a gambler obsessed with the idea of the next game.

“This will not be your regular ‘high school production,’” said Wham, who has been involved in more than 100 shows in the region. She is the former director for the Knoxville Performing Arts Institute and has worked with multiple area theaters. [Read more…]

Oak Ridge Playhouse welcomes back ‘Annie,’ this weekend through Dec. 8

“Little Orphan Annie” may have disappeared from the comic pages of American newspapers, much like newspapers themselves, but her spirited message of hope lives on thanks to Broadway and the beloved musical that bears her name. To kick off the holiday season, she returns to Oak Ridge Playhouse once again.

Boasting one of Broadway’s most memorable scores, including “It’s the Hard-Knock Life” and the ever optimistic “Tomorrow,” the original Broadway production of Annie opened in 1977, winning Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Now produced all over the world, it is ranked among the top 20 longest running shows in Broadway history, and continues to be one of the most successful musicals ever. [Read more…]

ORHS Masquers present ‘Emma,’ company’s first English comedy

ORHS Masquers Jacob Moreno and Meghanne Hill

Pictured above are Jacob Moreno as Mr. Knightly in the ORHS Masquers’ production of “Emma” and Meghanne Hill as Emma Woodhouse. (Submitted photo)

By Dianna Williams, ORHS English teacher

The Oak Ridge High School Masquers will present “Emma,” a play adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma,” a beloved British novel published in 1815. Emma is the company’s first English comedy.

The play presents the story of Emma Woodhouse, a mischievous young woman bent on matchmaking whose efforts backfire when she sets her mind to finding a husband for her friend, Harriet Smith.
 Junior Meghanne Hill plays the starring role and senior Mackensie Russell will play Jane Austen herself, who comes alive as the narrator of the onstage version of the story.

“My favorite part of this production is that I’m finally getting to prove myself as an actor with as challenging a role as Jane Austen,” Russell said. “It’s hard to make a narrator a noticeable character.” [Read more…]

‘Sister Rolls the Dice!’ a sure bet to entertain

Sister’s coming, so brace yourself—for an evening of good-hearted fun! The Ulster Project is hosting her newest comedy act, “Late Nite Catechism Las Vegas: Sister Rolls the Dice!” on Saturday, May 18, as the finale to their fundraiser. Sister will appear on stage to “instruct” the East Tennessee audience at St. Mary’s School gym, 327 Vermont Ave., Oak Ridge.

The Naples News calls the new show “sharp, witty and spectacularly brilliant.” [Read more…]

Arts Council has Tribute to the Arts on Thursday

Arts Council of Oak Ridge

Arts Council of Oak Ridge

The Arts Council of Oak Ridge and its member organizations are having a premier Tribute to the Arts on Thursday.

It’s scheduled from 6-9 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in Oak Ridge.

“This exciting cultural event will recognize artists and arts supporters from our area for the outstanding contributions they have made through their hearts and talents,” a press release said. “The Arts Council member organizations have long contributed to the culture and vitality of our region, and ACOR believes there is a need to acknowledge these groups and individuals for their service and talents.” [Read more…]