Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

‘Drift’ Combines Rock Music and Videography for Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga Production

June 3, 2012

Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil

Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga Director Garry Posey came across the concept album that this musical is based on many years ago.    To his delight, the songs from Jeremy Schonfeld have been used in the making of a musical with lyrics and music by Schonfeld and the book by Craig Pospisil.    ‘Drift’ was given a good review when it premiered at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2006.     ETC will be one of the first Regional Theatres to mount a production of this, “New, edge rock musical,” says Posey.     He says that ‘Drift’ contains very little dialog, instead relying on songs, staging and theatricality to tell the story of it’s protagonist David who is going through a divorce.     The play opened this weekend on the Black Box stage of the St. Andrew’s Center.

Here’s more about this production from the ETC website:

June 1 – 17

  • Fridays
  • 7:30
  • Sundays
  • 2:30, 6:30

“Jeremy Shonfeld, the writer, is insistent about the story being told through the music, there is very little dialogue in the 90 minute show,” says director Garry Lee Posey.  “A component from a previous production utilized videography, something that I believe could really enhance the story telling, so we are using that convention as well. To help us direct the use of this convention in the most effective way possible, we are focusing on music videos for inspiration.”

Drift marks the 25th production that Garry Posey has directed with ETC. “To me, Drift is a musical that finds its protagonist trying to survive in two different worlds- fantasy and reality. In the musical, recently divorced David lives (and sings about what is) in his mind. His ex, Laura conversely finds herself trying to pull David back into reality. Ironically, the plot of DRIFT and my tenure thus far with ETC are almost mirror images of the other.”

Drift is directed by Garry Posey.  Cast members include Maggie Bradshaw, Damon Buxton, Dana Colagiovanni, Kyle Dagnan, Ryan Laskowski, Ellen Poole, Justin Wahlne and Jeremy Wilkins.  The stage manager is Casey Keelen.

Listen to the Story:


Storier Jim Pfitzer Brings work of Aldo Leopold to Stage in One-Man Show

May 27, 2012

Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil

Jim Pfitzer spent the night in Aldo Leopold’s shack last October.   This was part of his research on forest ranger, naturalist and author of, “A Sand County Almanac,” published in 1949.   Pfitzer has built a partial replica of that shack for his one-man play about the life work of the author.    Hanging on the wall are old tools, like a two-man hand cut saw.    There is a cast iron pot on the floor and a bench that looks like the one that Aldo Leopold built for his cabin in the woods.

Pfitzer has created an hour-long play based on the work of Aldo Leopold.    Pfitzer will perform his play on Thursday, May 31st at Barking Legs Theatre.  Chattanooga favorite Butch Ross will open the show with an acoustic set of new songs from his forth coming CD.    Pfitzer will also travel to Bonaroo Festival for two performances the following weekend.

Jim Pfitzer

Here’s more from the press release:

Aldo Leopold– A Standard of Change
A New One-man Show by Jim Pfitzer
with Special Guest Butch Ross
THURS, May 31 @ 7 pm
$10 at the door

Don’t miss the final performance of Jim’s new show before it hits Bonnaroo!

Jim Pfitzer is best known for his personal storytelling that has been called “old fashioned and avant-garde at the same time.” Tonight’s play, Aldo Leopold – A Standard of Change , takes Pfitzer out of his usual role, casting him as the lone character in his first endeavor as playwright. Set in one evening in and around his famous Wisconsin Shack, Aldo Leopold–A Standard of Change explores the influences and challenges that led Leopold to penning his beloved book A Sand County Almanac.

More on Jim Pfitzer at

Special guest Butch Ross, accompanied by an acoustic band, will be previewing selections from his forthcoming album “People, Places, Things.” Long before Butch was well-known in folk and dulcimer communities for his innovation and virtuosity on the Mountain Dulcimer, he was being compared to Woody Guthrie and James McMurtry for his wistful and richly detailed songs. Butch’s new work showcases his immense talent as a storytelling songwriter.

More on Butch Ross at

Doors open at 6:30

Show begins promptly at 7:00

Listen to the story with Jim Pfitzer:

Chattanooga Public Library Hosts Internet Genealogy Workshops

May 20, 2012

Here’s more about the upcoming workshops from the Chattanooga Public Library:

1940 U.S. Census Released
To highlight the extensive Internet genealogy resources made accessible through the Chattanooga Public Library, the Local History and Genealogy Department is holding a series of free workshops.  To the delight of genealogists, the eagerly awaited 1940 U.S. Census has been released.  Because many of the 1940 records have not yet been indexed, Mary Helms, Head of the Local History Department, will guide participants through step-by step search methods.

Subscriptions to leading genealogical databases have been purchased by the Chattanooga Public Library for use by library patrons.  These include Ancestry Library Edition, HeritageQuest Online, Fold3, World Vital RecordsAmerican Ancestors by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and the Tennessee Sanborn Maps.  The use of these and other Internet resources will be covered in the workshop.

Downtown Library:  Saturday, May 12, 10:00 a.m.  (423) 757-5317
Eastgate Branch:   Saturday, May 26, 10:00 a.m.  (423) 855-2685
Northgate Branch:  Saturday, June 2, 10:00 a.m.  (423) 870-0636

Pre-registration is required.  To reserve your place, please call the branch where you will attend or email  If you would like to receive the workshop handouts electronically, please give your email address.

Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil

Listen to the Story with Head of the History and Genealogy Department of the Chattanooga Public Library Mary Helms:

Vaudeville Cafe Hosts ‘Mouth of the South’ Comedy Competition

May 13, 2012

Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil

This comedy competition has attracted upwards of 60 comedians from the Tennessee Valley and beyond, reports Vaudeville Manager Sandra Moses.    Each Tuesday night 9-10 comedians will be given 7 minutes of stage time to show what their made of.   Comics will be judged based on originality of material, stage presence and timing.    Three judges will give scores between 1 and 25 points for each act.   Three comics from each night will advance to the semi-finals.    And finalists will compete for cash and future bookings with Funny Business Comic Agency.

Listen to the story with comedians Kristine Kinsey and Chad Rosser and Vaudeville Cafe Manager Sandra Moses:

‘Who Fest’ Brings Folk Art and Bluegrass to Coolidge Park

May 6, 2012

Here’s the latest news from the ‘Who Fest’ blog:

Big news from Chattanooga. After five years at Renaissance Park, Who-Fest has tentative approval from the City of Chattanooga to move to Coolidge Park for 2012. For those who don’t live here, Coolidge Park is the most popular park in Chattanooga. We will also be moving the date back from Memorial Day Weekend to the middle of May.

As with any major changes, there is a lot to consider (lots of pros and cons). We consulted a number of officials and artists before making the change. All involved unanimously agreed this move will be a big step up for the festival.

So what are the pros and cons?

1) More exposure. As mentioned before, Coolidge is the most popular park in Chattanooga, daily attendance in the summer numbers in the thousands. The park sits directly between the Walnut St and Market St Bridge, directly on the Tennessee River. The Carousel, the Fountain and the Delta Queen make up the “corners” of the park.

2) Earlier date. This was done for a number of reasons. First, we are gambling on somewhat cooler weather (the record high 96 on Sunday was a festival killer this year) Another bonus about Coolidge Park are the taller and more numerous trees create a lot more shade. Second, with the popularity of Coolidge Park for hosting events, it was the best weekend available for April or May. Third, less competition than Memorial Day Weekend (there are a number of major events in the Chattanooga area that weekend). Fourth, better media exposure (more about that in the coming weeks).

3) Fixed Stage. Coolidge Park has permanent stage. This will be great for focusing all our music into one area.

4) More fun for the family. As mentioned above, Coolidge Park has a large fountain that kids can play in and a wonderful 100 year old Carousel.

5) Free Electric Shuttle. Carta has a free shuttle that runs from the Tennessee Aquarium to the NorthShore and right by Coolidge Park.

1) Less “funky”. Along with the step up in moving to Coolidge Park, the “professionalism” of the show will step up too. Renaissance Park was a self-contained park and allowed us to have a little more of a party atmosphere, Coolidge has a few more rules, but don’t worry, we have some great plans to make sure it is still fun for the artists. Who-Fest might be “growing up” a little bit, but that doesn’t mean we are “growing old” (aka boring).

2) Cost. Coolidge Park costs 3x as much to rent at Renaissance (it is so popular, there is a waiting list for events to be scheduled there). Also, with the higher traffic volume (including into the night), we will have to employee quite a bit more security. However, we have done a preliminary budget and we promise that the booth fee will not be increased by more than $30. This is the first time since Who-Fest was moved to Chattanooga that we have increased the entry fee. We work very hard to keep the fees as low as possible.

3) Load In/Out. The best thing about Renaissance was the ability for artists to pull right up to there booth to unload. Unfortunately that is not possible at Coolidge Park. However, the way we have proposed to set up the event will at Coolidge, most of the booths will be within 50 feet of the main road next to the park. We are also working to rent some “Gators” (think: big golf carts with loading beds) and will have extra volunteers to help the artists load and unload. This was one of our biggest concerns (after rental costs), but we feel we will have a great plan of action to make load in/out as easy as possible for the artists.

So, that’s all we have right now. Over the next two months we should have some other major announcements that will help ensure that Who-Fest [12] will be the best Who-Fest ever!

New Binkley Brothers

With almost 70 artists and 7 bands, this year’s professional, outdoor folk art festival promises to be a blast!     Winder Binder Gallery and Bookstore owner David Smotherman has been organizing ‘Who Fest’ since it began in Chattanooga.    Most of these artists have also shown in his gallery at one time or another.    The festival runs from 10-6 PM on Saturday and Sunday.    The Shaking Ray Levi’s will headline musically on Sunday afternoon and the New Binkley Brothers will close out with down-home bluegrass on Saturday.

Here’s more from the press release:

A two-day outdoor celebration of folk, outsider, visionary and self-taught art.

Winder Binder Gallery is proud to present the Who-Fest [12] Folk Art Festival on May 12th and 13th at Coolidge on the NorthShore of Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Celebrating it 6th year in Chattanooga, the Festival is produced by Winder Binder Gallery & Bookstore in collaboration with the Who Ha Da Da Artist’ Fellowship and the Shaking Ray Levi Society.

Originally produced in Atlanta, Georgia, Who-Fest moved to Chattanooga in 2007.  The festival normally attracts 70 local, regional and national artists and provides the unique opportunity to meet and purchase directly from artists that specialize in folk, outsider, visionary, and self-taught art.  Fields of study include painting, glass, metalworking, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, furniture, photography and textiles.

After 5 years at Renaissance Park, the festival committee decided to change the venue to the much more visible Coolidge Park.  An earlier date in May was also secured to help avoid the typical Memorial Day Weekend heat.

Festival organizers are also pleased to announce that the music director Tina Torrance, with the support of the Shaking Ray Levi Society, will once again host two days of diverse musical offerings from local performers.  A complete list of performers, and schedule, are available at

Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil

Listen to the Story with ‘Who Fest’ organizer David Smotherman:

Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’ adapted for Ensemble Theatre Production

May 3, 2012

Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil

Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga producers chose ‘A Doll’s House’ as this year’s classic stage play because it addresses marriage conventions.    Producer and actor Christy Gallo says that Henrick Ibsen’s play written in the late 1800’s has some, “Great commentary on marriage.”    As such, ‘A Doll’s House’ fits into the ETC theme for this season of exploring social norms.

Kelly Lapzynski directs this ETC production.    The cast will be working from an adaptation of this Ibsen tragedy written by Lapzynski who worked with four different translations of ‘A Doll’s House’ seeking agreement between them.

The following comes from ETC’s press release:

“First and foremost, Ibsen wrote a tragedy.   The story is based on the true life events of one of Ibsen’s friends, author Laura Smith Petersen,” explains director Kelly Lapczynski.   “When Laura’s husband contracted tuberculosis, doctors advised that he go south to recuperate and Laura participated in a forgery to acquire the money.  When he discovered the forgery, he divorced Laura and threw her out of the house.  Within a few years, Laura was sent to a mental hospital and Ibsen began to write A Doll’s House. “

“I love the way it addresses marriage conventions,” says actor John Thomas Cecil. “Ibsen’s classic delves into issues that are so mainstream today, yet were so controversial in his time. It has been fun to explore the contrast between the life we live today and Ibsen’s world.

A Doll’s House is directed by Kelly Lapczynski.  Cast members include Brandi Alexander, John Thomas Cecil, Evie Durant, Christy Gallo, Jamie Goodnight, Karen Keith and Doug May.  The stage manager is Eric “Red” Wyatt.

For more information about the production, check out

Christy Gallo and John Thomas Cecil, ETC’s ‘A Doll’s House’

Listen to the Story:

Shakespeare’s, ‘The Winter’s Tale’ Opens for UTC Theatre Department

April 1, 2012

This is from the Press Release:

UTC Theatre presents The Winter’s Tale, a comedy by William Shakespeare, in the Dorothy Hackett Ward Theatre. Performances are on April 10th – 14th at 7 p.m. and s 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, April 14th.

A wronged queen, a jealous king, and their virtuous daughter find love and redemption in the fantastic worlds of Sicilia and Bohemia. One of Shakespeare’s later plays, The Winter’s Tale is frequently referred to as a romance, combining humor with a sense of sadness or loss.

The Winter’s Tale will be performed by UTC Theatre students Kaleb Moran, Stephanie Hirsh, Brandon McCravy, Casey Lemons, Nicole Pavol, Kristina Lumm, Jarred Clemons, Emanuel Clark, Will Park, Thomas McNamara, Michael Haggarty, Kimberly Skoda, Loui Clagett, Megan Cobb, Troy Jensen, Austin Blackburn, Grace Holtz, Tarik Issa, Matthew Erwin, Justin Holderman, Nate Dallimore, Trevor Miles, Rebecca Rouse, Iesha Vann, Madeleine Young, and Sophia Zinkann.

Guest artist and UTC Theatre Department alumnus Larry Von Werssowetz, designed the sets, assisted by his son Doug Von Werssowetz; properties are by UTC Faculty member Gaye Jeffers, who also designed the sounds of the production. UTC Theatre student Alex Miller-Long, designed the lighting, with technical direction by UTC Faculty member John R. Burgess.

Guest designer Angela Youells Sweet, assisted by UTC student Jessica Thomas, created the costume design. UTC student Kimberly Skoda choreographed the play and UTC Faculty member Kate Forbes-Dallimore edited the text and served as vocal coach.

For ticket information, call the UTC Fine Arts Center box office at 425-4269 or by visiting the Fine Arts Center website at

Listen to the Story with Director Steve Ray:

Hunter Lecture Series Brings Michael Pollan to the Tivoli

March 29, 2012

The George T. Hunter Lecture Series sponsored by the Benwood Foundation in partnership with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga schedules renowned food advocate and author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma to speak on April 19th, 2012.    Here’s more from the press release:

Environment: Michael Pollan

April 19, 2012 • Tivoli Theater • 7p

This event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6pm. Seating available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For the past 20 years, Michael Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where the human and natural worlds intersect – with a focus on food and agriculture. He is the author of the bestsellers In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto and The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, which was named one of the 10 best books of 2006 by the New York Times and the Washington Post. It also won the California Book Award, the Northern California Book Award, the James Beard Award for best food writing, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Pollan’s previous book, The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World, was also a New York Times bestseller, received the Borders Original Voices Award for the best non-fiction work of 2001, and was recognized as a best book of the year by the American Booksellers Association and PBS premiered a two-hour special documentary based on The Botany of Desire in fall 2009. His most recent book is Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, which was an immediate #1 New York Times bestseller upon publication; an expanded, illustrated edition of Food Rules will be published in November 2011.

In 2009 he was named one of the top 10 “New Thought Leaders” by Newsweek magazine. His essays have appeared in many anthologies, including Best American Essays (the 1990 and 2003 editions), Best American Science Writing (2004), and the Norton Book of Nature Writing. In addition to publishing regularly in TheNew York Times Magazine, his articles have appeared in Harper’s (where he served for many years as executive editor), Mother JonesGourmetVogueTravel + LeisureGardens Illustrated, and The Nation. Michael Pollan was chosen by Time Magazine for the 2010 Time 100 in the Thinkers category.

Pollan’s lecture is entitled: In Defense of Food: An Omnivore’s Solution. 

Year 3 of the Strategic Plan for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

March 28, 2012

Reporting:  Rabbit Zielke

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has completed year 3 of the current 5 year strategic plan.  During the course of the strategic plan development and implementation UTC focused on four areas of impact; Partnerships for Students- Teaching and Learning, Partnerships for Education and Research, Partnerships for Diversity, Enabling Partnerships in the Community.

Listen to the story.

Related stories:

Strategic plan development.  Aired December 12, 2007

Implementing the strategic plan.  Aired March 10, 2008

Mid-point of the strategic plan.  Aired June 21, 2010



‘Little Owl Festival’ for Chattanooga Audubon Society

March 25, 2012

Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil

Saturday, March 31st, 2012 Chattanooga Audubon Society invites you to attend the inaugural ‘Little Owl Festival‘.    There will be two stages set up with musicians and spoken word artists slated to perform.   Save Our American Raptors will fly birds of prey over the fields at Audubon Acres that Saturday afternoon.

Here’s the schedule of performances:

1:00-2:00 p.m. Raptors arrive and set up
2:00-2:45 p.m. Birds of Prey Raptor show by SOAR
1-2p Dance demonstration from “Emerald Hips Belly Dance Instruction” teacher Suzanne
Rambo. She will also do hooping.
1-2p Chattanooga Kirtan Band in the field including the following instruments: Native
American flute, Vocal, Sitar, Harmonium, Tabla and Jymbe drums,and other percussion.
Orchard Stage
NOON Opening song by Gilbert Sewell & welcome by Bill Fisher
12:10 Bob Carty, Announcements/giveaways
1:00 Hara Paper
1:30 Frank Eaton
1:40 Announce the Birds of Prey Show
2:00 Birds of Prey Show
2:30 Uncle Lightning
3:00 Jack Pine Savages String Band w/ Gilbert Sewell/poster
contest winner announced
3:30 Troy Underwood
4:00 Jerre Haskew
5:00-6:00 Dalton Roberts

Porch (Spoken Word) Stage
Ray Zimmerman – MC
12:00 Robin Burk
12:30 Jim Pfitzer
1:00 Grant Fetters
1:30 Michael Gray
2:00 Break for Birds of Prey Show
3:00 Finn Bille
3:15 Chrystina Jensen
3:30Marcus Patrick Ellsworth
4:00 Janie Dempsey Watts
4:20 Dr. Susan Hickman
4:40 Ray Zimmerman
5:00 Ginnie Strickland Sams
5:30 Peggy Douglas

Listen to story with spoken word artists Ray Zimmerman, Finn Bille and Peggy Douglas: