Monday, February 20, 2012

It Was A Third Thursday With The King Of Rock'n Roll And The James F. Dean Theatre

The rain and clouds had cleared out. The 6 o'clock skies were beginning to darken. The day was bidding a final farewell to the setting sun and embracing the arriving night. The air was comfortably warm for a February Thursday. "It's Now or Never." The downtown festivities were underway and no one would be asking "Are You Lonesome Tonight." Starry-eyed amatuer astronomers were setting up their telescopes on the corner of Old Central and W. Richardson Ave with hopes of catching a glimpse of a distant neighbor in the Milky way.

Happy patrons were already filling the restaurants and shops "You Can't Help Falling in Love" with along South Main Street. Sounds of "don't you step on my blue suede shoes" and "a hunk, a hunk of burning love" filled the courtyard near O'Lacy's Pub. A black modified zamboni operated by a man dressed in a star-studded white jump suit and cape with long sideburns, a funky black wig, and sunglasses breezed on by belting out tracks of "Fools Rush In" and "Love Me Tender." My "Suspicious Mind" arrived at the obvious conclusion it was Elvis Presley Night in Summerville. It was another edition of Third Thursday.

Third Thursday is an signature event sponsored by Summerville D.R.E.A.M. and celebrated each month throughout the year. The goal is to foster community spirit and ensure Summerville's economic vitality by promoting its businesses. Residents and visitors from throughout the Lowcountry and from around the nation come to experience its famed historic downtown district which offers live music and entertainment, fine arts and crafts and more. It begins at 5:00 pm and runs till 8:00 pm.

My focus this past Third Thursday was the historic James F. Dean Theatre near the corner of South Main Street and W. Richardson Ave. This old theater was built in 1935. It flourished as Summerville's movie house until the mid 1960's, then also known as "The Show." In 1976 the Flowertown Players bought and renovated the theater installing state-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment with an emphasis on highlighting local talent. The theater group offers some unique opportunities for those interested in the acting arts and the processes involved in live stage productions. You can volunteer to help design the costumes, the building of the sets, or be an usher with the benefit of seeing the show for free. You can also audition for one of the acting parts.

I was taking pictures and making an attempt at politely soliciting some inside information on the upcoming production "Wait Until Dark," a play that was made famous by the movie bearing the same name released in 1967 just a few years after the Summerville theater closed as a movie house. So, it is likely the movie starring Audrey Hepburn was never shown at the downtown theater.

"Wait Until Dark" highlights one of the scariest movie moments in film history. When I heard the play was appearing at the James F. Dean Theater, my curiosity was peaked. During my visit, I got a preview glimpse of the set, which was receiving the final touches for opening night. Now, I am keenly interested in seeing how the play will duplicate the famous scary scene. The theater staff graciously offered me two complimentary tickets to the first showing. It opens March 2nd at 8:00 pm. It was a successful Third Thursday.

The next Third Thursday will be March 15th. Come and join the party. At some point in the night you will find me at Aura Lee's Jewelry, Handbags & Accessories making southern small talk and drinking northern beer, which is made available for free courtesy of Aura Lee's. Stop by and say hello. I would very much like to meet you.

1 comment:

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