Friday, November 13, 2009

Murder in a good cause . . .

The Wayne Theatre Alliance is working to save and reopen Waynesboro's last remaining building in its historic district. The Wayne Theatre was built in 1926 as a vaudeville/movie house. Its style is  Neo-Colonial. The Wayne Theatre Project has a budget of $5.4 million that will go toward restoring the building, and rebuilding its interior to provide stage, wings and fly tower, orchestra pit, 340-400 seat auditorium, expanded lobby, new lounge, and backstage and support areas.

The Alliance was created by the City of Waynesboro with three mandates to: 1) save the building, 2) create a performing arts facility and 3) be a catalyst for a revitalized downtown. Hard goals to denigrate, don't you think?

I'm a reformed actress, theater rat, junkie, ham, applause hog--whatever term conjures the image of someone who spent 20 years working in theater in Houston, Texas and around Virginia. As such, I have an almost visceral attachment to old theater spaces. 

I remember dancing my toes off back in the late 1980's at after-hours parties in Charlottesville's then-shabby and endangered Paramount Theater--and willing that somehow the building would be saved and restored. (In the small world department, Jeff Bushman, who I think might have also been at a couple of those after-hours parties long ago in the Paramount, is now the Bushman of Bushman&Dreyfus architects--the local architects for the Paramount restoration and the firm that's designing the Wayne Theatre's restoration.)

Also decades ago, I and some old Act I friends (any Charlottesvillians remember Act I?) stood on the stage of the Jefferson Theater and realized the old vaudeville house's perfect acoustics were wasted on movies. Revitalized, redone, it reopens this month as a performance venue. 

You can take the old girl out of the theater, but you really can't kill her love for old theaters. In my opinion, the Wayne Theatrer Project rocks! And to put my dignity where my heart is, tonight, I'm going to make a fool of my public radio self by taking part in a Murder Night to help raise a small chunk of that 5.4 million. 

My persona is Biker Babe. My assignment is to cut loose and have fun. 

As to whether or not I'm the murderer, I plead the Fifth . . .

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