Entering, stage left

By Tim Smith

@ Home Edition

Entering, stage left: I am honored to be associated with, (since 1984) and currently participating in a monthly zoom session with the management team that guides Chino Community Theatre, (CCT), in Chino, California.

In our last meeting early this past week, it was learned that the state of California will be opening up in early June and that hopeful news brought a new level of discussion to those assembled.

Due to CCT’s longevity and influence in the extensive theatre community, most notably, in Southern California’s Inland Empire region, a number of participants on these calls, historically, have resided outside Southern California, reinforcing the organization’s impact.

Whereas the re-opening news was certainly hopeful, there was also a positive and affirming management sense of what lays ahead navigating what most certainly will be local and county mandates that further define that process.

Stay tuned here as there are also theatres in Texas and Arkansas that I follow closely, that have already begun staging new works.

Tonight, is the night that film fans around the globe have been waiting for as the Academy Awards, the “Oscar,” will be handed out in what appears to be a most interesting format change due to the vagaries of the virus. Over the last few weeks, it has been exciting to watch as a film featuring a story set in Northwest Arkansas is in line for a number of awards, including best picture.

“Know that there is often hidden in us a dormant poet, always young and alive.” [LeMusset]

EFA’s Town: A long-time colleague instrumental in over-swing much of the growth in that part of the “Natural State,” forward me an article from an online digital news summary offering, AMP: Arkansas Money and Politics, centering on the increased film production work being done in that state.

Titled: “Like A Back Lot: Film Industry On The Upswing in Northwest Arkansas”; by AMP Staff, dated September 14, 2020, and written by David Conrads. I invite you to read the full article on Google. A short excerpt:

“Benton County – Nobody has ever mistaken Hiwasee for Hollywood, but there’s no doubt that more and more moviemaking has been going on of late in Northwest Arkansas. Spectacular scenery, financial incentives, two full-service film studios, a growing crew base and a most hospitable populace have all worked to make NWA – and the state as a whole – an increasingly desirable place to make movies. In recent years, film production here increased exponentially, HBO shot the third season of its popular 'True Detective' anthology series in Fayetteville a few years ago. Numerous other features – some locally produced, some from out of state – have been shot in NWA. One Hollywood producer, after shooting two features in NWA, liked it so much he moved to the area and plans to make more movies here.”

Returning to the bookcase: Yes, I know what you are thinking, I keep encouraging you to get out and support arts institutions, in particular, live entertainment venues. Therefore, to aid you while waiting for those curtains to rise, I highly recommend the book “Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution” by Todd S. Purdum. From the New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice): “Purdum’s authoritative and ultimately moving book brings these masterpieces to life with bracing clarity.”

If you are a fan of musical theater, this is a must read. Through their 11 collaborations, beginning with “Oklahoma” in 1943, and ending with Mr. Hammerstein’s passing in 1960, shortly after the opening of “The Sound of Music,” their roster of hits included seven additional musicals, a film with music, and a made for television movie with music.

According to one source, seven of their musicals were made into full length feature films. For nearly two decades, they were the toast of Broadway.

Speaking of film: Watched the wonderful, “Miss Potter,” starring Renee Zellweger as Beatrix Potter, creator of “Tales of Peter Rabbit” and other children’s story masterpieces.

Set in the years just after the death of Queen Victoria of England, this passionate work seems, at first, as a perfect fit for the times in which we are living. As time passes, it is more than a bookend, and I will let you make that discovery. I was particularly impressed with the use of music, especially the tie-in of a song that appears early in the film, and then, is featured as the closing credits overlay. It will stop you in your tracks. Ewan McGregor’s supporting performance is a comforting match against the intensity of Ms. Zellweger’s Potter.

Enjoying seeing you in the “E” paper

Remember, there is always an opening night!

t A s

[For EFA-62]

(This is the @ Home Edition of Where A r [to] Thou? by Tim Smith)

[Since 5/2020]

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