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.



By Connie Thwaite

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.”