Interlude

Happy 50th Anniversary, Rudolph!rudolph photo: Rudolph RudolphtheRednosedReindeer.jpg

This year, “Rudolph,” the bashful reindeer whose shiny red nose made him the target of merciless taunting by the other reindeer in Christmasville, truly goes “down in history.” It has been 50 years since the much-loved holiday special first aired on television. And during those five decades, we have sympathized with Rudolph’s sad plight and cheered his ultimate victory as Santa chose him to lead the sleigh team on a particularly snowy Christmas Eve.

 “My family would gather in front of the television, wearing our comfy Christmas pajamas and enjoying egg nog and popcorn. The kids were so excited knowing that after they went to sleep, Santa would come and leave toys all around the tree.” –Erin Biggers, SKyPAC Marketing Associate

“Reginald” the Reindeer?

But do you know that Rudolph’s history actually dates back to 1939 and involves Chicago-based retailer Montgomery Ward? After many years of buying and giving away thousands of children’s Christmas books, the retailer decided that creating its own book would save money. Ward’s copywriter Robert L. May was assigned the task.

May considered a number of names for the ill-treated reindeer, including Rollo and Reginald, before settling on Rudolph. (Can you imagine singing “Reginald the red nose reindeer?”)

In its first year of publication, 2.5 million copies of Rudolph’s story were distributed by Montgomery Ward.

rudolph photo: Rudolph YoureCute.jpg

In 1948, May’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, also a Ward’s employee, set the poem to music. The song was turned down by Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore before eventually being recorded by Gene Autry. The song was released in 1949. It skyrocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard pop singles chart and went on to become the seasonal standard it is today. In fact, with the exception of “White Christmas,” Rudolph has sold more records than any other Christmas song.

“My daughter, who is 2 ½ years old, loves the songs and sings along. And she knows all of the reindeer’s names.” Janelle Johnson, Campaign Manager at SKyPAC 

Rudolph’s Television Debut

In 1964, “Rudolph” was filmed in Japan in a new format called “stop-motion.” The sound was recorded in Toronto, Canada. In the process, the story was altered from the original version.  When it premiered on NBC, it included Hermey, an outcast elf like Rudolph, Yukon Cornelius, a prospector searching for wealth, Clarice, Rudolph’s love interest, and Bumble, the Abominable Snowman.

“I was afraid of the monster! I always watched that part with my eyes closed.” –Deborah Stein, SKyPAC Development Associate

The second film version also included “misfit toys” being dropped to the homes of children who found and loved them. This change was urged by viewers who wanted a happy ending for each toy.

rudolph photo: Rudolph SantaAndRudolphWallpaper1.jpgrudolph reindeer photo: Rudolph Build-A-Bear20Rudolph.jpg

Rudolph Goes Home to Chicago

In December 2013, Rudolph returned to Chicago, the home of Montgomery Ward’s and Rudolph’s birthplace. Dennis Polkow, the reviewer at Chicago’s Emerald City Theatre at the Broadway Playhouse on Water Tower Place said:

Most worthwhile about this experience is its message of acceptance and diversity which the cast delivers with verve and cheer. Rudolph generates considerable empathy for [the] first-time live-theater goers I had along with me . . . They loved the show and got the point without being hit over the head with it. All while still being immensely entertained. Dennis Polkow

It has also been said that:

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” is so faithful to the original show that it practically transports audience members into the television special. The songs drive the plot while familiar and nostalgic set designs, costumes and characters are brought to stage. The cast brings new energy to the classic songs and dialogue, while puppets help showcase the charming “roughness” from the television show’s stop-motion effects. “New Musical Stage Version of Rudolph,” BroadwayWorld.com, 9/22/2014.

Laughter and Tears

I’m sure you know how the story ends, and I doubt that any part of Rudolph’s tale will surprise you when you see it on stage at SKyPAC. But what may come as a surprise is the level of emotion—the laughter and the tears—that arise the first time you see the stage version. As for the children, you can be sure that they will be mesmerized and treasure the memory–perhaps to recount the experience to their own children when Rudolph turns 60 or 70.

My two sisters and I would watch Rudolph while sitting under the Christmas tree. I was mesmerized.”–Betty McGuire, SKyPAC Executive Assistant

As for my own personal memory, when I was a child, Rudolph–and other holiday TV shows like “Charlie Brown Christmas,” “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” and “Frosty the Snowman”—were shown only once a year. On the much anticipated evening, our family gathered in front of the TV. My father built a fire in the living room fireplace and popped popcorn that we munched on during the show.

I even remember the commercial of Santa riding down a snowy slope on a Norelco razor.

rudolph photo: Rudolph SANTAsleigh.jpg

“Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” will appear at SKyPAC at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 7, 2014, order online now! Grab a group of your favorite misfits! Groups of 15 or more save 20% call our SKyPAC Group Ticket Coordinator at 270-904-7010  to reserve your seats today!  

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Connie Thwaite is a Public Relations Associate at SKyPAC. She can be reached at CThwaite@theSKyPAC.com.

 

 

 

Show Time!

Before the theater lights dim. Before the hush of anticipation falls over the audience. Before the orchestra strikes the first notes of the overture. Before the curtain rises and the first actor appears on stage. 

Before all of that—a pre-performance air of ambience falls over SKyPAC’s immense lobby with its soaring three-story ceiling. The doors open and the first audience members drift in. As the lobby fills, a conversational hum rises, punctuated by the greetings of friends meeting up. 

It’s opening night of “Anything Goes.” The show has drawn an audience of all ages, from animated grade school children to their parents and grandparents–all here with the expectation of being thoroughly entertained. Waiting to serve them is a small army of volunteers (aka “Ambassadors”) and SKyPAC staff, with smiles all around and an eagerness to make everyone feel welcome.  

Half an hour before show time, I stand by the second floor railing, taking in the scene below, swept up by the excitement surrounding the opening night of this Tony award-winning, highly acclaimed Broadway revival.

* * *

Opening Night “Delight”

Originally produced in 1934, Cole Porter’s vibrant song and dance extravaganza was an enormous hit. One of the longest running musicals of the 1930s, it starred the legendary Ethel Merman and marked the peak of Cole Porter’s celebrated career as composer and lyricist.

Fortunately, we in Bowling Green don’t need to travel to New York City—or back in time—to attend a Broadway musical of such renown. As a prominent home for the arts, distinguished by a far-reaching reputation for excellence, SKyPAC is capable of booking shows the caliber of—and as “delightful” as– Anything Goes.

Enthusiastic Reviews

Everywhere it travels, from New York to San Francisco, Anything Goes elicits enthusiastic reviews.

  •  “Musical Comedy Joy!” says The New York Times.
  • “So delightful, so delicious, so de-lovely!” marvels the Associated Press.
  • “A TOP-NOTCH Cole Porter musical comedy!” enthuses the San Francisco Chronicle.

After 80 years, Porter’s songs—including “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top,” “It’s De-lovely,” “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” and, of course, the show-stopping “Anything Goes”—still resonate with today’s audiences.

As for the musical performances, the singing is superb, the dancing is dazzling and the tapping is near mind-boggling. In particular, Emma Stratton, playing Reno Sweeney, and Brian Krinsky, playing Billy Crocker, claim the stage and wow the audience.

 * * *

 Fifteen minutes before the opening act, I make my way to my seat. In the pit, the orchestra tunes up, creating a cacophony of sounds. To the peal of a horn, the thump of a drum, the high-pitched reverberation of violins, the audience streams in. Green-jacketed ushers hand out programs and help people find their seats.

 The house lights dim. An expectant hush falls over the room. SKyPAC Executive Director Jan Zarr walks on stage to welcome the audience, noting, to general applause, that his son, Bradley, is among the cast. (Congratulations!)

 The overture commences, the curtain rises, the first actors take the stage.

 Finally. . . It’s show time!

 * * *

 Anything Goes is the first show in SKyPAC’s 2014-2015 Broadway musical series. Coming up are Sister Act, Flashdance-The Musical and Beauty and the Beast. Join in the excitement! Purchase your tickets now for the best seats.

Connie Thwaite is a PR Associate with SKyPAC. She can be reached at CThwaite@TheSKyPAC.com

Interlude

Lost River Cave Scarecrows

I recently visited the Lost River Cave for the first time. My mission: to photograph the Beauty and Beastscarecrows sponsored and created by local businesses, particularly the prize-winning SKyPAC scarecrows depicting Beauty and the Beast.

At the gift shop, an accommodating employee had given me a map of the trails, and I happily set off along the path she recommended. But soon, I was wandering off the path, forgetting my assignment, mesmerized by the spectacle of the site itself.

Excuse me while I extol the marvels of this seven-mile cave system with a river running through it. The Butterfly Habitat. . . the stone house, dilapidated shack and other buildings with mysterious origins. . . the shimmering, opaque blue pool. . . the purple flowers cascading over wooden fences. . . the dance floor with twinkling strings of lights where scores of weddings, proms and parties have taken place. . . the trail markers describing former inhabitants: Native Americans, early European settlers, Civil War troops, even Jesse James. . . the sunshine filtering through towering trees. . . and the way the river and pools appear and disappear beneath the backdrop of soaring stone walls carved by countless millennia of coursing water.

Excuse the digression; but, honestly, I was transfixed by the beauty and wonder surrounding me.

Finally, I came upon the first scarecrows and remembered why I was there.  As my photographs illustrate, local organizations tapped the best of their creativity and put together not just scarecrows but complete tableaus depicting their organizations’ missions and operations.

A few favorites.

WEHS Art Club’s young boy attached by chain link to a really despicable bunch of monsters, reminding us that October is Bullying Awareness Month.

Hartland Family Dentistry’s friendly dentist, his head in the shape of a smiling tooth, dressed in a white lab jacket and blue scrub pants.

Bowling Green Visitors and Convention Center’s cheerful backhoe operator. That’s a yellow toy corvette hanging from a chain, reminding us that Bowling Green is “Geared for Fun.”

Farmers National Bank’s tableau depicting its “Through the Generations” slogan, with one of the three scarecrow generations watering a money tree.

A man and a woman dressed for a night out on the town (she’s carrying a little purse; he’s sporting a dapper black hat). Presumably, they are financially comfortable customers of Monticello Bank.

Re-Pets cute burlap-wrapped cat and red tee-shirted dog, reminding us that we can prevent homeless animals by spaying and neutering our pets.

By the end of my walk, I’d taken more than 50 photos, but failed in my original mission.

Jess Kem, SKyPAC’s Marketing Manager and Gallery Director, took the picture of SKyPAC’s Beauty and the Beast scarecrows.  I never found them.

A final note. At one point during my ramble, an older woman stopped me and asked if I’d ever seen the spot covered with winter snow and ice. I told her this was my first visit. “You must come back,” she said. “But be sure to bring your ski poles!”

I surely will.

Connie Blog Pic

 

 

 


 

 

 

Interlude

By Connie Thwaite
10/7/2014

We live in a time when purchasing a novel involves little more than a few clicks on a tablet or Kindle. There is no need to travel to a book store, no browsing through stacks of volumes, no sensory connection with the weight of books in our hands or the aroma of fresh ink on crisp pages. And there certainly is no stimulation of our visual creativity.

For all of these reasons, the Portland, Tennessee Student Book Project in SKyPAC’s Children’s Gallery is a surprising and compelling visual experience. Under the tutelage of Mrs. Tiffany Brown, a former exhibiting artist in SKyPAC’s main gallery, the Portland students created works of art using acrylic on books as their primary media.

"Country Boy" by Brett Vanatta

“Country Boy” by Brett Vanatta

In their technique, the students’ art brings to mind Henri Matisse’s collages—a form the artist called “painting with scissors.” While scissors may not have been a primary tool in Brett Vanatta’s “Country Boy,” Brett’s strong image juxtaposed against flowing fabric-like shades of blue and yellow could very well have been inspired by a Matisse interior scene. And Shelby Weatherbee’s “For the First Time in Forever,” with its color blocks of blue, yellow and brown, has a collage quality reminiscent of the art produced by Matisse during the latter years of his life.

In their form and structure, the students’ works also evoke cubism. This artistic direction, which most often is associated with Pablo Picasso, reduced natural, three-dimensional images into two-dimensional shapes. This technique is evident in Julie Murphy’s “The Tenth Doctor,” in which the subject’s features are cut into geometric shapes and fitted back together like puzzle pieces slightly askew. In Devon Moore’s “Arnold,” it is the background books that take on a two-dimensional geometric format. The same can be said of “Mom” by Victoria Enfinger.

"Mom"by Victoria Enfinger

“Mom”by Victoria Enfinger

"The Tenth Doctor" by Julie Murphy

“The Tenth Doctor” by Julie Murphy

"For the First Time in Forever" by Shelby Weatherbee

“For the First Time in Forever” by Shelby Weatherbee

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I moved through the exhibit, I was struck by the choice of bold color in the students’ works and especially moved by the way in which the students’ outer images evoked their interior spirit. If I had time and space, I would discuss every piece in the exhibit because I do believe they all are spectacular. Instead, I will simply say that I hope all of the young artists will continue to pursue their talent—if not in visual art, then another art form of their choosing, because the greatest tool of an artist is his or her spirit and unique vision of beauty—whether sweet or harsh—in the world around them.

"You're a Tree" by Elle

“You’re a Tree” by Elle

And, to return to where I began, with the sensory impact that books deliver—even as technology assumes an increasing role in the way we are exposed to art—I will conclude with “You’re A Tree” by Elle. In her Artist’s Statement, Elle says, “When I was young, I was told that what you read makes you grow. The more you read, the more you grow. ‘You’re A Tree’ is a representation of the stories I was told, of how the written word makes you grow into a strong tree.”

About the BloggerConnie Blog Pic
Connie is a freelance writer living in Bowling Green. She can be reached at conniethwaite@gmail.com.

Interlude

Gallery

This gallery contains 5 photos.

By Connie Thwaite 9/14/2014 It’s no accident that I chose “Germination,” the current exhibit of sculptor David Marquez’s work, as the topic of my first SKyPAC post. To my mind, Marquez’s sculptures are simply all of the things that current, … Continue reading

WKU graduate stars in national tour of ‘Veggie Tales Live’

The SKyPAC:

SKyPAC is thrilled that WKU Graduate, Jonathan Perry, will be performing on the SKyPAC Main Stage for VeggieTales Live! Silly Song Sing-Along on September 25th!

Originally posted on WKU News:

Jonathan Perry, a 2007 graduate of WKU’s Department of Theatre & Dance, will be returning to Bowling Green next week with the national tour of Veggie Tales Live.

Jonathan Perry

Jonathan Perry

Perry, a native of Nashville, Tenn., plays the host of the show that features lively storytelling, colorful costumes and lessons about life. Based on the TV show for kids, Veggie Tales is now part of DreamWorks Animation. Veggie Tales Live! Silly Song Sing-Alongwill be presented at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center.

Perry was in numerous shows at WKU including Sweeney Todd, Children of Eden, Blood Brothers and Street Scene, and played the key role of Younger Brother in the WKU Centennial Celebration Production of Ragtime.

“I had a lot of stage time and was given many valuable opportunities,” Perry said of his time at WKU. “I always…

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Calling All Artists & Writers!

The 2015 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are now open! Enter your work today with 905857_10152394077697993_3661342105419736824_othese three easy steps:

1.) Get the info! Deadlines vary by region. Find your local program guidelines and deadlines at http://bit.ly/197KaWj.
2.)Create an account! Once you’ve made your masterpiece, visit
www.artandwriting.org to create your Scholastic Awards account and upload your work. This will be your creativity command center!
3.)Stamp it and Send it! Have your submission forms signed by a parent / guardian and an educator, and then mail them off with your submission fee to your local program.

Click below for more information about the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards: http://blog.artandwriting.org/2014/09/15/calling-all-artists-and-writers/

Regional Information: Southern Kentucky
http://www.artandwriting.org/Affiliate/KY003A