Tuesday, February 20, 2018

"The guy's only doing it for some doll..."

This week and next, the JSU Drama Departments presents the Broadway classic, Guys & Dolls. This romantic comedy is set in a glitzy New York City and Havana, complete with underground craps games, glamorous nightclubs, and tenacious missionaries.
This week, as they prepare for tech, JSU's Adelaide, Brianna Garrett, and Sky Masterson, Brandon Clark, took time to answer some questions about the show and themselves.
  • How did you become interested in theatre? 
Brandon: I️ got into theatre with it just helping me find a way out of who I️ was finding a new person to being. I️ really enjoyed becoming a new person every time I️ walked onto the stage. I️ also like being the center of attention, most of the time, which also was a big help with not being shy on stage.

Brianna: I started acting when I was a kid, probably about five or or six. My mom took me to my
first acting class around then! From there, I did local commercials around the city. I am from upstate New York – Rochester, so I started very young. But I didn’t pick performing back up until I started at JSU my freshman year when I did JSU Drama’s production of “RENT." I actually used to turn my nose up at musicals, ha, but now, I love them and can’t imagine my life without Musical Theatre. It’s my passion and I’m planning on pursuing a career in it, once I graduate in May.
  • Who are some of the actors you most admire? 
Brandon: I️ really enjoy Hugh Jackman. He is a talented guy in my eyes and can be both sides of an actor, as in being strong as well as a loving sentimental person.

Brianna: Beanie Feldstein is my latest obsession! She was recently in the movie “Lady Bird” and just ended her run in the “Hello, Dolly!” revival. She is so talented and so pure in everything that she does. She reminds me to be true in my art and that opportunity is really is just waiting around the corner. Other performers I admire are: Audra McDonald, Lindsey Mendez, Meryl Streep, Sterling K. Brown, Sophia Bush. Well, I could go on
  • What made you want to audition for Guys & Dolls? 
Brandon: The reason I came out for this play is because I️ really enjoy musicals. Why? Also a bunch of people kept pushing me to get on stage, again, since I️ haven’t really done that while I’ve been a JSU because I️'m a technical major.

Brianna: I love Musical Theatre, so it was an easy decision to audition for this. It’s a classic, and Carrie, our director, is fantastic. She works at such a fast pace, and I have taken and am currently taking her classes. She has pushed me so much to be better and do better, so I felt like the choice to do this show was an obvious one to me. I get to grow as an artist, work with different people and see where it takes us! It’s always so fun and interesting to get to know people throughout runs of shows and see what all brought us here.
  • What's been your favorite part of playing (Sky/Adelaide)? 
Brandon: My favorite part about being Sky is honestly being such a douche bag and not getting slapped for everything that I️'m saying, and I️ can put a charm on the ladies, when in everyday life you wouldn’t actually be accepted that way. That may sound really bad but just charming people as been a lot of fun.

Brianna: One of my favorite things has got to be the accent. It feels like home to me! Adelaide’s just so loud,out there, brassy and doesn’t care who sees or hears her. I think playing her the way that I am playing her has also got to be my favorite part as well. This show is a classic Golden Age musical, and typically, an African American woman wouldn’t be playing this role. To get to be her and get to progress with the times, in a sense, has been thrilling and fun. Who knew Adelaide could have a fro?
  • What's been your favorite number to rehearse & learn? 
Brandon: Luck be a lady hands down as been the best number that I️ enjoy being a part of. I️ get to take control of the guys and the stage, and I️ just really enjoy the power it has in it.

Brianna: My favorite number has go to be “Take Back Your Mink”. That’s when we see a more
serious side of Miss Adelaide, as well as a more sensual and sexy side. The choreo is a blast and the vibe is fantastic. Adelaide and The Hot Box Chicks open the second Act, so there's a different feel in that moment than what the audience gets during the beginning of Act I.
  • Why should audiences, young and old, come see these performances?
Brandon: I️ believe people should come watch the show is because we have worked very hard to put on what I️ think is going to be a great show. Not only that, with everything going on in the world, this is two hours to go to another place in the world where none of those things matter, and what is happening in front of the audience is all that they are worried about.

Brianna: This show is timeless. There are so many lessons in it that are still so viable and valuable today! There isn’t anything like this being performed in the area right now, and sometimes, you just need a good classic piece of Musical Theatre. The music, the costumes, there is something for everyone in this show.

See Guys & Dolls, February 23-25 and March 2-4  on the Ward Stage of the Stone Center for Performing Arts at Jacksonville State University. All tickets $12, and you can order online or call (256) 782-5648 for tickets.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Single Awareness Day?

If you don't have a Valentine, take this time to try new things or fill your time with things you enjoy!

Sports to See 
Keep yourself busy, and take in a sporting event, like JSU Softball versus Samford.

Learn Something New 
Take a class, like the Native Azalea Workshop at Longleaf Botanical Gardens.

Jam Out 
If you're a music fan, turn up the volume at a concert like Seven Bridges, as Eagle tribute at Oxford Performing Arts Center.

Take a Hike 
From Cheaha to Coldwater, there are so many trails to explore and more and outdoors.

Feed to Foodie 
Treat yourself this Valentine's Day! Visit your favorite restaurants, order out or dine in and connect with a friend.


Friday, February 9, 2018

Celebrate Gal Pals Year Round

With this week's Valentine's and Gal-entine's (The Day before Valentine's celebrating female friendships), we've decided "Gal-entine's" should be celebrated year-round! Here's some suggestions!

Dinner & a Show
With local performances from JSU, CAST, CharACTers, Knox and OPAC, there's so much to see and so little time. Take the time to grab a bite to eat before the show and make a night of it!

Wine Tour
Did you know there is a North Alabama Wine Trail? There is, and it's a lot of fun to make a weekend of it!

Opt Outside
If your friends are outdoor enthusiasts, take a hike or hit the trails! This spring, make plans to kayak!

Shop til you Drop
Our region has so many unique boutiques and shops!

Get away for a weekend and just rest! We've go some great accommodations and Bed & Breakfasts that will take care of you!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


What do you do with a building that once served as a school, city hall and a jail? You revitalize it, expand and transform it into a beautiful performance venue presenting more than 130 performances annually in a state of the art 1,133 proscenium theatre.
From performance arts and education to community programs and events, the Oxford Performing Arts Center reaches more than 14,000 children each year with performances of music, theatre and dance.
Sitting at 100 Choccolocco Street, the building dates back to 1920 as an elementary school, but when the school moved in 1952, the property became Oxford City Hall, including the police department, and remained so until the new Justice Center was completed in 2009.
The old original building serves as the lobby and entrance, complete with its original pine floors, columns and brick exterior.
The space now also includes the Wren's Nest Gallery, featuring the art of local artist Larry Martin.
Just this week, they will host everything from magicians and Broadway medleys, and during the upcoming weeks, they'll host a songwriters showcase, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and more!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Date Day Spots

Valentine's Day is coming! Have you bought your gifts or at least made plans? If you're sweating it, unsure what to do, or just forgot, we've got some suggestions for you.

The Architect
If you're a planner, orchestrate an elaborate day of plans surrounding their favorite things. Maybe begin the day, with brunch at a quaint cafe like Java Jolt or Classic Too. Take a stroll around Oxford Lake, and follow it with the latest romantic comedy at the movie theater. Make a pit-stop at White Oak Vineyards for a nice bottle of Alabama wine, and then, catch sunset at Alabama's Highest Point, Cheaha State Park, followed by a romantic dinner at Garfrerick's Cafe or nearby Hubbard's Off Main, etc. 

The Artist
If you're into arts, take a stroll down and around Noble Street to admire the murals of local artists and take in history at the Freedom Riders National Monument. Stop in shops like Nunnally's or JC Morgan that feature and sell local artists' works. Also, take a moment to browse local gallery's like Wren's Nest and the "Images of the South" exhibit at the Oxford Performing Arts Center. Splurge and purchase tickets to their next show or catch something with Knox Concert Series.

The Advocate 
If you're all about giving love, spend the day in service, volunteering or contributing with local non-profits in honor of those you love or alongside those you love. Work at organizations like Interfaith, Soup Kitchen, Community Enabler, Center of Concern, and the Right Place. Pick up trash around community sites like Neely Henry Lake, Terrapin Creek, Choccolocco Creek, or along the roads of your favorite routes. Play alongside kids at the YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, UCP Center, the Learning Tree and the Dannon Project.

The Adventurer
Whether you're more spontaneous or the avid Thru-Hiker, Calhoun County is surrounded by adventure. From Historic Driving Tours to indoor escapades at the Berman Museum or Anniston Museum of Natural History, to biking and camping along the Ladiga Trail, climbing rock gardens at Coldwater to chasing waterfalls at Little River Canyon, within an hour's drive, there is something for everyone. Tee off at area golf courses for the afternoon, or iIf weather doesn't permit more outside adventures, make it a friendly competition at the CMP South air rifle range.

For more adventures than Valentine's can store, browse VisitCalhounCounty.com!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Cabin Fever

With these extremely cold temps, opting outside isn't for everyone. So, what are some indoor activities for the whole family, in case of inclement weather?

Shop 'til you drop
From quaint shops on Noble Street like Alexander's, Nunnally's and Simply Shabby, and Oxford's Rustic Farmhouse, Hannah Closet and more, Calhoun County has so many unique boutiques and shops to keep any avid shopper busy.

Explore Your World
The Anniston Museums & Gardens are complete with the campus of the Anniston Museum of Natural History and Berman Museum. Peruse everything from mummies to African safaris to World War II and Napoleon artifacts.

Historical Driving Tour
From Freedom Riders National Monument to Janney Furnace and including historic homes like the Parker House B&B and Springwood Inn, Calhoun County is full of rich history, including the Church of St. Michael and All Angels, which offers tours during office hours.

Up for a friendly competition?
The Civilian Marksmanship Program offers world-class air rifle and air pistol training and competition facilities that feature state-of-the-art electronic targets at each of the 80 firing points the locations house. See who has the best eye.

Make an Escape 
If you're locked in a room with a mere 60 minutes to break out, who in your family or group of friends will be the most valuable? Annoying? Smartest? Test your ability and mind in this quest and test of problem solving with EscapeZone Oxford.

There's so much more to explore at VisitCalhounCounty.com!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wanna Play?

Generally, Alabama has a very mild winter, with an average temperature of 48 F in December, 46 F in January and 50 F in February. With very few days below freezing, it's ideal for golf courses to remain open year round. We have several courses, throughout our county and region, making Alabama a golfer's haven in winter. 
What was once Fort McClellan's golf club, Cane Creek Golf Course remains open under the management of the City of Anniston with 18 holes. The course is complete with a pro shop and restaurant at the club house.
Just off Highway 431, Indian Oaks Golf Course also has 18 holes, complete with weekly scrambles for every level of golfer.
Located in White Plains and Choccolocco, Pine Hill Country Club not only provides 18 holes, but also a pro shop and food and beverage for every level of golfer, including hosting several local teams each spring.
The City of Oxford's Cider Ridge Golf Club provides 18 holes surrounded by picturesque landscapes and views, challenging terrain and a full restaurant and pro shop at the club house.
Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail has a gem of the hills at Silver Lakes Golf Course, complete with four nine hole courses, including a "short" course of mentally and strategically challenging par 3s. They too have a full pro shop and restaurant.