Last night at Wayside Theatre magic happened. Yes, I say that quite a bit. There's a reason it is not a cliché. That's because magic happens quite a bit at Wayside Theatre. After two preview performances we headed into the opening night for Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming last night. And the entire evening was filled with magic.
The cast, the audience, and the play met straight up in that "little theatre with a big heart" and together they created one of the most wonderful opening nights I can remember. And we've had some very memorable ones. Every beat, every laugh, every moment in the show that could possibly eke out a response from the audience did so. Laughter filled the room. There were stilled silences when 170 or so folks held their breath in unison. And the applause and cheers were almost deafening at times. Our cast was superb. Steve, Bob, Pam, Thomasin, Jennie, Richard, and Don not only entertained a room full of people, you could tell that this is what these wonderful actor/musicians were born to do. The standing ovation at the end of the performance was not only well deserved but a great way for the communion between the stage and the audience to come to its conclusion last night.
The show was the reason folks were there. But obviously given the fight we're in to keep Wayside Theatre alive there was more anticipation and anxiety than usual at an opening night. Folks who have joined the campaign were there along with first-timers. Kids from the Suzuki Violin Class at Shenandoah Conservatory, who have already been helping raise funds during this campaign, played and entertained the audience pre-show in the Curtain Call Cafe. Destination Imagination kids were there selling bracelets with Save Wayside Theatre emblazoned on them. And before the show they presented us with over $700 that they have raised so far with their wonderful efforts. Current Board members mixed with former Board members and Leo Award winners proudly displaying their medallions to show their support for the theatre.
The Wayside Theatre was so full of positive energy last night that I would imagine if you at looked at the building from across the street it might have seemed like it was vibrating a little.
I said last night that even though we've had some early success in this campaign we were hoping that this opening would be a big push to the next level of the campaign. We're three weeks and have raised over $30,000 so far. If we could bottle what happened on Main Street in Middletown last night and sell it we'd meet our goal in a heartbeat. But it takes more work than that. Hard work. The first step is getting folks in to the theatre to experience the magic for themselves. And then it is to talk with them and lay out the case for why it is important to keep that magic alive.
And that's what we become about this morning. Now we turn past opening night and look to the run of the show and the work we need to do to make sure this was not the last magical opening at Wayside Theatre.
Come join us in the fight. It's not easy, I know. But I tell you, for hard work, there is no more exciting and fun time that can be had when you have such an amazing production to demonstrate to the world why Wayside Theatre is worth that fight.
If you'd like to read more about this campaign please check out more infomation here on this blog, on Facebook, or at Wayside Theatre's website. If you'd like to help or share your story we'd be very grateful.