I live in Georgia thanks to Fred Hardin. As long as I can remember, the first local theater group to announce its coming season was Warner Robins Little Theatre, and the announcement inevitably came from Fred Hardin.
This year’s announcement came in March, and I told Fred that it would be the first one that I ran. I honor that pledge today and explain the role that long ago Fred played in shaping my destiny: The summer will open with “Peter & the Starcatcher,” followed by “Leading Ladies,” “All the Great Books,” “The Cowardly Brun” (by Houston County’s Michael Kinsley) and “The Savannah Sipping Society.” I’m not all surprised that Fred had his sleeves rolled up right until the end.
I met Fred when I first moved to Georgia, planning to stay no more than three years. I left my last military assignment in New York to enter upon graduate study at Florida State and then moved to the midstate to accept an academic post.
Isolated and lonely, I was most unhappy. On a whim, I decided to audition for a play. The folks at WRLT not only welcomed me, they cast me in “Dracula,” and no less than Fred Hardin was in the title role.
Fred introduced me to a multitude of wonderful people and suddenly this part of the world started looking a lot different. I’m still here, and I’ve mentioned several dozen times over the years, that there’s no better way than community theater for a newcomer to find a home.
I’m sure that Fred would have been elated to read in the playbill for Theatre Macon’s production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” that some of the cast members were new to this area.
Those who saw that production – or who read Katherine Walden’s column on Sunday – know that Theatre Macon has launched a “One Million Strong” campaign to ensure that downtown Macon will enjoy a professionally-directed theater long into the future. Would-be donors are urged to contact the Community Foundation of Central Georgia.
Is this a good thing or a not-so good thing? There are enough blockbuster events on the calendar this weekend to choke the proverbial bull moose.
This is the opening weekend for the Tubman Museum’s Pan African Festival and the closing weekend for the fabulous Fired Works pottery show (advertised in major cities throughout the Southeast).
On stage, Sydney Chalfa directs Wesleyan College students in four original plays this weekend, while on the music front, the Mercer Orchestra closes its season tonight by presenting the annual Robert McDuffie Center for Strings Award to the Redding Family.
The Macon Symphony closes its season Saturday night at the Grand Opera House, while on Sunday the Choral Society of Central Georgia pairs with the Mercer Choir for some Aaron Copland, while just down the street the Douglass Jazz Society will be in action. Whadya think?
Contact Larry Fennelly at LarryFennelly@avantguild.com.