Show for Miss #8216;G#039; was long time coming

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Sunday morning I woke up depressed because I had been reminded of greatness on Saturday evening.

Mrs. Bobbie Gamble received a well-thought out surprise of a party last weekend, ushered to the Ritz Theatre for a special show to honor her upcoming 80th birthday. Let me be the first to applaud Nancy Idland and the rest of the Greenville Area Arts Council for pulling off this welcome walk down memory lane. And just as in the heyday of Mrs. Bobbie's Old Gym Players' Broadway productions, the Ritz Theatre was packed.

But truly endearing were the testimonies from her students. Time has a way of making you see things you did not see in your youth. As a boy, going to watch my sister perform in one of Mrs. Bobbie's plays, I never saw what she meant to them as well as the community and Greenville High School. But I saw it on Saturday.

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What was even more fun was watching Mrs. Bobbie interact with her former students and being a part of a long-awaited reunion. She told Joe Harvill, Sky Masterson in 1983's &#8220Guys and Dolls”, that she seriously thought about not casting him &#8220after the way he acted” in &#8220Annie Get Your Gun”, the year before. Harvill remarked later that her confession &#8220kind of hurt” his feelings. Over 20 years later, Mrs. Gamble's words could sting.

For me, it was just fun to see all the faces again I had grown up seeing on stage. Harvill. Frank Phelps. DeeDee Womack. Lee Reddick. Amy Wilson. Carolyn Messina. And many of the Old Gym Players were surprised Donna Pearcey had a little brother. There is a six- years-age difference of course, but I told them that Donna never claimed me anyway back then, (ha, ha).

About Carolyn Messina: If you ever have the chance to spend a few hours around her, please do so. She will enlighten your life and is a true believer in Shakespeare's maxim &#8220all the world's a stage.”

Messina remembered Mrs. Gamble telling her she needed to lose weight for a part in &#8220The Sound of Music.”

&#8220I ate lettuce for three months,” Messina, who lives in New York, recalled.

So the reason, it seems, I woke up depressed on Sunday was because I had been washed in the memories of my youth. As had most who were there on Saturday.

Phelps said the Old Gym Players should meet regularly for a reunion. I agree and I hope they do so again in the very near future.

Because reunions are fun. And reunions make you feel young. And everyone growing old needs to feel that way again.

If only for a few hours.

Kevin Pearcey is Group Managing Editor of Greenville Newspapers, LLC. He can be reached by phone at 383-9302, ext. 136 or by email at: