Keeping the arts alive in the city

Published 10:35 am Wednesday, April 8, 2009

During last weekend’s District 34-N Lions Convention in the Camellia City, attendees were treated to a performance by members of the Ritz Players in that downtown jewel, the historic Ritz Theatre.

They got to see the brand-new marquee shine in all its neon glory, see the restored Art Deco interior, and hear Greenville Area Arts Council director Nancy Idland share details of the history of the Ritz.

The Ritz Players put on an entertaining mini-version of their upcoming show “Shine!” and Stacy Edwards wowed the audience once more with her sultry vocals on “Crazy” from last year’s “Encore.”

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Greenville’s talent really did shine for those guests in our city Friday night, with several of those attending making plans to return to the Camellia City to see the entire show.

We hope many local citizens will join them later this month to see this musical fundraiser for the GAAC. Not only will they be entertained; they will also be helping promote the arts in small town Alabama.

As Mayor Dexter McLendon pointed out recently, it is a significant expense to bring touring companies of Broadway musicals and other performers to the Ritz yearly as part of the GAAC season.

That’s why the arts council holds a big fundraiser each spring: to help defray the costs of mounting such ambitious productions so folks can enjoy them right in their hometown.

Wonderful professional productions like “Bye, Bye Birdie” and “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and fabulous musicians such as the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band and The Platters would not come to Greenville without the hard work and dedication of Greenville Area Arts Council volunteers.

If not for the joint efforts of the City and the GAAC, coupled with lots of research, sweat equity and dogged determination, there would be no delightful and colorful theater to mount them in.

Let’s help keep these productions coming to our city by supporting “Shine!”

The curtain rises at 7:30 p.m. April 23, 24 and 25.