May fine arts

By Sean-Edward Hall

May Is literally bursting with all kinds of things to do that center around the Arts. If you have never gone downtown for Gallery Hop, then be sure to celebrate May Day by parking your car on the Square, or near it, and taking a tour of our downtown businesses celebrating the arts by hosting new artists and musicians. Festivities begin around 6 p.m.

The Jacksonville Symphony Society will close their 2014/2015 Season, “Music Is In The Ai,” with “A Scottish Ayre.” This concert will feature the return of St. Louis violinist, John McGrosso. According to the Boston Globe, McGrosso is “first class, with a robust sound and technique that seems to come from the center of the person.” He has been the first violinist of the Arianna String Quartet since 1998. He has been featured as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and is currently an Associate Professor of Violin at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where the Arianna Quartet is tenured and has been in residence since 2000. McGrosso will solo with the symphony’s performance of the meloncholy, yet exquisite “Scottish Fantasy” by Max Bruch. The concert will also feature the Grand Prize Winner from the Symphony’s 2015 Talent Among Us Competiition. The Concert is at 7:30 p.m., Saturday May 2 at Rammelkamp Chapel.

Playhouse On The Square is hosting several opportunities during the month of May. Leading the month is Lawrence Bommer’s comedy, “A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking,” directed by Cindy Fawkes. The play, starring Shirene Thomas and Shayla Pfaffe, uses one of the oldest tricks in the theatrical book: throw together two opposites, who incongruously attract each other, show one slowly coming to resemble the other, then split them up to find out who learned or lost the most.

The talk happens in the kitchen of Maude Minks, a stereotypically uptight housewife living on Charlemagne Lane somewhere in Westchester County. It seems Maude’s idea of a good time is to dance when she thinks nobody’s looking. Otherwise she is so protective of her privacy that she mows the lawn late at night and doesn’t answer the phone on Mondays or get dressed on Wednesdays. Into Maude’s humdrum life bursts her brassy new neighbor, Hanna Mae, a Texas transplant like nothing Maude has ever seen. Forward but friendly, and louder even than the colors she wears, Hanna Mae just won’t take no for an answer–though Maude gives it over and over (“In Westchester we’ve earned the right to keep our distance,” et cetera). But their husband problems bring the women together for hilarity that rivals Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple. The play runs for one weekend only, May 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. and May 3 at 2 p.m.

Friday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m., Andy Mitchell will be presenting some of his own works. If you have not read or heard any of Andy’s poetry, this is a night you must not miss! And closing out the month, Ken Bradbury will be bringing his Lincoln Land Community College Traveling Players to present their play, “Getting on the Bus/Waiting for the Hearse,” on May 15, 16, 17.

All tickets for Playhouse On The Square performances can be purchased in advance at Our Town Books or The Soap Co. Coffee Shop or by calling 217-491-3977.

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