Tons of

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 28, 2007

talent in Show

Talent: Greenville and Butler County have a whole lot of the stuff.

Some of the Greenville's great talents are just getting to know each other, thanks to the upcoming show, &#8220Puttin' on the Ritz.”

Miss Bobbie Gamble, who has worked with hundreds of very gifted people during her years helming the drama department at Greenville High School and later, leading the charge of the Greenville Area Arts Council, told me last week one of the fun aspects of working on the costumes for the fundraiser was making the acquaintance of the cast members.

&#8220There are a lot of people I do know in it, but I've also met people I didn't know before. I didn't know April Lowery, Joni Thomas, Patricia Ballew - she's in &#8220Cats” and I call her ‘Cat Ballew' - or many of the other folks, so this has just been great. We have so much talent here,” she confided as we shared a cup of coffee and slice of pound cake at her home after a photo shoot.

As Miss Bobbie pointed out, many of the vocalists appearing in the show have only shown off their musical skills at their churches, &#8220and if you don't happen to go to their church, you haven't heard them.”

Be prepared to enjoy the vocal skills of mother-and-daughter POTR cast members, Elnoria and Corissa Grayson, for example. I got the chance to hear them both sing at a law enforcement and firefighter appreciation banquet organized by Ada Lee Williams and Joy Casey a few months ago.

Bet you will be impressed, too!

I've known my old buddy Carol Connally-Walters was a fine pianist for years - she played for me to sing at a wedding a few years ago (remember how good little Connally was when the spider crossed the keys, Carol?) - and she is one of ten gifted musicians performing in the show band.

And if you've never been lucky enough to hear the acoustic bluegrass gospel band, &#8220Southern Comfort,” you will get to enjoy leader Lonnie McGough on the banjo along with other &#8220Comfort” members as part of the &#8220O Brother” segment of the show. (Listen, there is something for everyone in this production, I promise.)

For some POTR members, it will be their first taste of life in the limelight; for others, like dear Harriet Bedsole Foshee, it should bring back wonderful memories of past shows, from &#8220Hello, Dolly!” to &#8220Dames at Sea.”

If you only know Harriet as your friendly small-town optometrist, you don't know the half of it.

I pointed my Canon in Harriet's direction while she was in costume at Miss Bobbie's, and our Gibson Girl started working it, girlfriend. 

I can't wait to see all these gifted people in their gorgeous costumes, singing and dancing up a storm later this month.

 Kudos to Nancy Idland, the fearless director; Charlie Kennedy, musical director; Miss Bobbie, costume designer and oh-so-gifted hat maker (and a fledgling one, too!); Shirley Huff, a lovely soul and wonderful seamstress and the delightful Joni Thomas, talented singer and seamstress for all their hard work, too. It takes a village to put on a show - and this &uot;village&uot; is going to put on a humdinger of a production!

For anyone who thinks the tickets are a little pricey ($20 for adults, $15 for students) may I remind you: this is a fundraiser for one of the most outstanding arts councils in this state.

Not many towns our size have such a flourishing council, one that brings several top-notch productions to town each season; a council that offers members lavish post-show parties with delicious food, beverages and a chance to meet the cast members.

In addition, 20 percent of ticket sales for POTR go back to the City of Greenville. The rest will go to pay the artistic fees to bring these top concerts and Broadway shows to our Ritz.  Our local talent gets a chance to shine; our GAAC gets to go into their 26th season in high style.

It's a win-win situation!

Angie Long is Lifestyles reporter for The Greenville Advocate. She can be reached at 382-3111 ext. 132 or via email at