Arts agencies will showcase their talents during a Tribute to the Arts in Oak Ridge on Tuesday, and local artists and arts supporters will be recognized.
This is the second time that the Arts Council of Oak Ridge has offered this unique gala giving members of the community a chance to recognize local artists and arts supporters for their wonderful work promoting the arts in Anderson County, a press release said.
Tribute to the Arts is scheduled from 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, at the Saint Mary’s Family Life Center in Oak Ridge.
“Each of the arts agencies will be showcasing their talents, so it’s the perfect time to sample an appetizer of arts in our community,” the press release said.
The event is being co-promoted by Arts Council of Oak Ridge and the Rotary Club of Oak Ridge Sunset, with proceeds from ticket sales and a silent auction benefiting both organizations and their philanthropies. Tickets may be purchased by contacting the Arts Council of Oak office at (865) 482-4432 or contacting any representative from the eight member organizations. Those groups are Oak Ridge Art Center, Oak Ridge Civic Music Association, Oak Ridge Civic Ballet Association, Tennessee Mountain Writers, Oak Ridge Playhouse, Oak Ridge Community Orchestra, Oak Ridge Community Band, and the Music Arts School. [Read more…]
By Betsy Abernathy
The Oak Ridge Junior Playhouse is preparing for its annual summer program for young people interested in theater. The Oak Ridge Junior Playhouse Theater Camp will run from June 6 through June 17, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. each weekday. The camp is open to rising third through rising 12th graders and will be held in the studios of the Dance Centre of Oak Ridge, which is at 108 East Division Road in Oak Ridge. On the last day of camp, the participants will present a workshop showcase on the Oak Ridge Playhouse stage.
Former campers, many of whom continue to be involved in theater at their schools and communities, speak highly of the summer program. Josh Cormany, 17, of Knoxville, who stage managed the recent Junior Playhouse production of “The Snow Queen,” recommends the camp to kids interested in theater.
“My favorite thing about the Playhouse Theater Camp is that you get to have fun and learn about theater in a friendly and nonjudgmental environment,” Cormany said. “The camp is so enjoyable because you can just be yourself.” [Read more…]
Note: This story was last updated at 10 a.m.
A rumor that circulated widely this month said this was going to be the last year for the Secret City Festival.
But city officials said it’s premature to say that.
It is true that a Special Events Advisory Task Force has been studying changes to the annual festival, including moving it from June and making it into an expanded celebration in the fall, starting in October and continuing through Veterans Day (November 11). It could be renamed the Secret City Celebration, implemented by a new nonprofit expected to become self-sustaining within five years, and add events while continuing to include the Secret City Festival.
At a Wednesday evening meeting, Task Force members said many of the current festival activities could continue, including music, World War II re-enactments, historical displays, and children’s activities. But they also said there could be opportunities for new partnerships with other organizations, including Wounded Warriors and Oak Ridge Playhouse. And it’s not clear that the Secret City Festival would continue to be a two-day event.
Task Force members say they’re hoping to help create something bigger and better. [Read more…]
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…]
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…]
To the Editor:
In the early days of black-and-white television, there used to be a game show entitled “I’ve Got A Secret” hosted by Garry Moore. On it, a panel tried to determine a contestant’s “secret”: something that was unusual, amazing, embarrassing, or humorous about that person. It was entertaining in a jocular fashion. Presently appearing on the stage at the Oak Ridge Playhouse is “Other Desert Cities,” also a show built around secrets that are revealed with gut-wrenching emotion. One program would give you the urge to buy toothpaste. The other will give you the urge to seek a storm shelter.
I was privileged to watch the final dress rehearsal on Thursday evening. The pedigree and jist of the play, while important, are recorded elsewhere. I wish to share with you, the reader, what I experienced with the hope that—at the curtain call—you, too, will be engulfed with a myriad of emotions. You are going to witness a prime example of ensemble acting. The seasoned actors are Ashley Peck (Brooke Wyeth), Leo LaCamera (Trip Wyeth), Karen Brunner (Mrs. Polly Wyeth), Steve Fitchpatrick (Mr. Lyman Wyeth), and Laurel Williams (Aunt Silda). While each possesses talent in his or her own right, collectively they are a super nova of stagecraft. For approximately two and a half hours, what you will see and hear is real! They are brother, sister, and aunt that have their own take of the family secret; and a mother and father who know the truth but have refused up till now to reveal it. These are not thespians but an actual family embroiled in a crisis that goes beyond the worst holiday dinner you have ever had. [Read more…]
“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…]
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…]
Farragut North continues at the Oak Ridge Playhouse this weekend, and it runs through Feb. 10.
The play opened last weekend. The remaining performances are today, Saturday, and Sunday, and then again on Friday, Feb. 8; Saturday, Feb. 9; and Sunday, Feb. 10. Friday and Saturday shows start at 8 p.m., and Sunday shows start at 2 p.m.
Here is a description of the drama provided by the Playhouse:
The Oak Ridge Playhouse will have auditions for the political drama “Farragut North” at 6:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.
The auditions are open to everyone. No experience is required, although it is helpful, and requirements can differ from production to production, an announcement said.
For more than a century, Frank L. Baum’s book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” has been a celebrated story that has inspired dozens of iterations, adaptations, and re-imaginings, from the beloved MGM film starring Judy Garland, to animated versions, to current Broadway hit “Wicked.”
But in the 1970s, “The Wiz” came seemingly out of nowhere to hit Broadway like a gale force wind and swept Broadway audiences off their feet with a hip, soulful mix of R&B, disco, and gospel-type music. With its central themes of home, self-reliance, and courage, “The Wiz” is fairly true to the original storyline, but with a style all its own.
The Oak Ridge Playhouse production is going a step further and embracing that 1970s style by conceiving Dorothy’s trip to Oz as a disco fantasy with a pulsing light show and groovy costumes and wigs by Virginia Baldwin and Sandra Herrera.
“If you love ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ you will love this show,” says Managing Artistic Director Reggie Law. “And if you would love a fresher take on ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ you will love this show.”
The production was a landmark in the 1970s for being the first big Broadway blockbuster featuring an entirely African-American cast and quickly was sent into production as a feature film starring major recording artists and actors like Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Richard Pryor, and Lena Horne.
Perhaps because of the show’s origins, there is a popular belief that “The Wiz” must be cast all with people of color. Law doesn’t think that holds as true these days.
“Over time the culture of music has really mixed. Plus, I believe in non-traditional casting except where race is a plot point,” he says. “In ‘The Wiz,’ it isn’t. So, we have a great mix of performers and artists in our show.”
Directed by Reggie Law, with musical direction by Sheryl Howard, and choreography by Tony Williams, the impressive and diverse cast is led by Playhouse newcomer Alexis Tidwell as Dorothy, whose powerhouse voice is packed into a petite body. Other principal roles include Tony Williams as the Scarecrow, Kirk Hoxie as the Tin Man, Cavanaugh Mims as the Lion, and Evelyn Jack, who knocked Playhouse audiences out of their seats as Motormouth Maybelle in last season’s “Hairspray” returns as Glinda, the Good Witch.
Presented by CapitalMark Bank & Trust, “The Wiz” opens Friday, Nov. 16, at 8 p.m., followed by a performance on Saturday, Nov. 17, at 8 p.m.
There will be a Thanksgiving night performance on Thursday, Nov. 22, at 8 p.m. as well as shows on Friday, Nov. 23, and Saturday, Nov. 24, at 8 p.m., with a Sunday matinee on Nov. 25 at 2 p.m. Final performances are Friday, Nov, 30, and Saturday, Dec. 1, at 8 p.m., and a Sunday matinee on Dec. 2 at 2 p.m.
For more information, log on to www.orplayhouse.com or call (865) 482-9999. Tickets range in price from $16 to $22 depending on performance date. This production is also made possible through support from WUOT 91.9 FM and the Tennessee Arts Commission.