“Once I put up the decorations, everyone at the Hipp gets into the Christmas spirit,” Sharon Wary Patton said. “Everyone seems to care about each other a little bit more.”
Patton has been visiting the Hippodrome Theatre during the holidays to spread Christmas cheer with dazzling decorations for the past six years. A former employee peaked her interest in the gig, and since then, she has been returning every year.
“I think the Hipp is even more special during the holidays because of all the festivities and programs they put on,” Patton said. This holiday season, family-friendly “A Year with Frog and Toad” and the 40th Anniversary production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” share the Mainstage and open Thanksgiving weekend.
This magical time of the year would not be the same without Patton’s efforts.
When she is not at the Hipp, Patton works as a full-time caregiver and selflessly spends her time ensuring the wellbeing of her patients.
Patton is inspired by serving and helping others. She says that she keeps coming back to the Hipp every year because she recognizes that people appreciate her work.
The Hipp and Patton have collaborated on many decorating projects, and recycle most of the same ornaments and lights every year. Decorating the Hipp is not the only holiday tradition she likes to celebrate.
“I love getting together with my family and watching the classic holiday movies,” Patton said. “I’d say that’s my favorite part about Christmas — spending time with my loved ones.”
One thing is for certain, holidays at the Hipp are even brighter with Patton!
For reservations to one of our holiday shows, click here or call 352.375.4477.
Loving Vincent is the world’s first fully painted feature film produced by Oscar-winning studios Breakthru Films and Trademark Films.
“A one-of-a-kind work of art.” — Variety
LOVING VINCENT is a stunning, fully painted animated feature, starring Douglas Booth and Oscar-nominated Saoirse Ronan and directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman. LOVING VINCENT explores the life and controversial death of Vincent Van Gogh, told by his paintings and by the characters that inhabit them. The intrigue unfolds through interviews with the characters closest to Vincent and through dramatic reconstructions of the events leading up to his death.
Fri. 11/10: 6 p.m.
Sat. 11/11: 4:30 p.m.
Sun. 11/12: 3:30 p.m.
Wed. 11/15: 6 p.m.
Thurs. 11/16: 7:30 p.m.
Fri. 11/17: 6 p.m.
Sat. 11/18: 3:30 p.m.
Sun. 11/19: 3:30 p.m.
Wed. 11/22: 8 p.m.
Thurs. 11/23: 5:30 p.m.
Military veterans and their families gather for a special Veterans Day film screening of the play “Telling: Gainesville” on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m.
The film captures the poignancy of veterans discussing combat experiences, loss of comrades, and post-war traumas. After the film screening, the play’s director, Jeffrey Pufahl, will hold a roundtable discussion with actor-veterans who will take questions from the audience. Jeffrey Pufahl is a Creative Campus Visiting Scholar in Residence at the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program and a faculty member in UF’s Center for Arts in Medicine.
Telling Gainesville is part of a nationwide initiative supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Florida Humanities that connects civilian audiences with veterans in a creative, supportive environment. The program is part of the University of Florida’s, “Dialogues on the Experiences of War” and is sponsored by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) Veterans’ History Project and the Center for European Studies, along with the UF Center for Arts in Medicine.
Monday, November 13 at 8pm, the Hippodrome will be screening Tom Miller’s NOTHING, a documentary short produced by Mirador Studios, Joey Larson, Doug Waltenbough, and Alex Davidowski (Amish Mafia, Grudge Race). This world premiere is open to the public.
The short feature chronicles the “instillation” of Tom Miller’s infamous Sculpture of Nothing, which appeared at the Bo Diddley Plaza in May and June of 2017. Several famous art critics weigh in, including one who believes that Miller’s sculpture was a totally phony farce. However, another critic hailed the sculpture of Nothing as a movement important as Dadaism, Cubism, and Realism. The movie introduces us to the crew that assembled the sculpture, and features Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe and Alachua County Commission Chair, “Hutch” Hutchinson. Nothing is featured prominently in this production.
Both Mayor Poe and Commissioner Hutchinson have said they will be attending the premiere, which is open to the public.
The Film Stars: Gregg Jones, Tom Miller, Michael O’Meara, Carolyne Salt, Oliver Nordon, Nigel Hamm, The Reverend Angeldust, Mayor Lauren Poe, Commissioner “Hutch” Hutchinson.
Also screening prior to the main event is Tom Miller’s short movie, “Burning Lips”, another documentary chronicling Tom Miller’s epic 2-hour stare-down of former Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz’s mouth, and the subsequent burning of Miller’s demon-possessed Ted Cruz Mouth painting in a giant fire at the Bobbitt Compound. Burning Lips is directed and filmed by Tom Miller and Michael McShane.
During the intermission, and post-reception party, Miller & Davidowski hope to raise additional funds to enter Nothing into film festivals in 2018. They hope Nothing will garner significant attention and perhaps Nothing will win something.
WHERE: The Hippodrome Cinema
WHEN: Monday, November 13th at 8pm (Doors open at 7:30pm)
HOW MUCH: Advance Tickets are $10.00 and can be purchased through the Hippodrome Box Office. Tickets will be available at the door for $12.00. This includes admission to the screening and the reception, which will include complementary light food w/ non-alcoholic beverages, and the Hippodrome’s Cash bar will be open with beer, wine, and cocktails.
8pm – Documentary, BURNING LIPS. Directed by Tom Miller & Michael McShane.
9pm – NOTHING – a Tom Miller / Alex Davidowski Short Feature – WORLD PREMIERE!
By Daniela Esteves
Charlie Mitchell’s mom wanted her family to be cultured. With two musicians as siblings, Mitchell had only one choice to be different: theatre.
Like Casey in “The Legend of Georgia McBride,” Mitchell fell in love with the make-believe. He fell in love with the theatre’s feedback loop between actor and audience and the thrill each performance never turning out the same.
Mitchell performed through high school, where his passion grew and led him to decide it was the career for him. He completed his BFA in actor training at Ithaca College, studied playwriting at Boston University and earned his doctorate from the University of Colorado.
As a theatre professor at the University of Florida and Hippodrome State Theatre company member, Mitchell tries to be evangelical in his lessons and strives to teach his students to let the make-believe into their own lives.
Mitchell has played in Hipp favorites such as “Hamlet” and “Hand to God.” Mitchell’s current role in the Hippodrome’s production of “The Legend of Georgia McBride” as Eddie, owner of Cleo’s, a run-down, small-town Florida bar, whose love of money leads him to embrace family back into his life. Mitchell enjoys portraying the growth of his character as well as his devoted and loyal personality.
He believes the show’s themes of family, acceptance, and camaraderie is why people should come see it.
“After the Nazis come to town, people need a place to feel good,” he said, referring to the recent hosting and wildly abhorred Richard Spencer event on University of Florida campus.
Mitchell admitted this production has made him teary-eyed multiple times backstage.
The bond between the cast and backstage crew is what has made this production so special for him, he said. He’ll never forget the countless hours of eyelash rehearsals. (Yes, eyelash rehearsals are a thing, and our actors kill it!)
In it’s last runs, the play still makes him laugh, he said. It’s clever playwriting with hilarious one-liners but doesn’t shy away from emotional truth, which is why the show is so relevant and powerful.
Make your reservations quick by calling 352-375-4477 or visiting thehipp.org/georgiamcbridetickets to grab up the last seats!
By Jessica Fondo
Kevin Kantor makes their Gainesville debut as Rexy in “The Legend of Georgia McBride” onstage at the Hippodrome.
Originally from Chicago, Kantor began acting as a child and, before graduating high school, decided they wanted to pursue it professionally. They studied playwriting in Denver, and finished a nine-month apprenticeship at the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville before coming to Gainesville. They currently live in New York, but often travel for theatre.
Kantor identifies as genderqueer and chooses the pronouns they and them for themself. Kantor said they have enjoyed this particular show as an opportunity to make their Gainesville debut.
“I’m always excited to be playing queer characters, complex, three-dimensional queer characters who get to survive their own stories and celebrate their existence,” they said.
Kantor’s character, Rexy, provides exactly that.
“She is a sardonic, cutting, strong and powerful drag queen who has worked so hard to carve out a space or herself in her life. She’s a warrior. She’s hard-fought, but she’s incredibly flawed,” Kantor said. “She has battle scars, and I love being able to showcase that you can be resilient but not at the cost of your humanity.”
Kantor said they hope the audience takes “The Legend of Georgia Mcbride” as an opportunity to celebrate the people whom Rexy represents.
“There is room for all of us to take time to celebrate queer joy,” they said. “I think that this show is so full of life and fun and love.”
This production welcomes everyone into a space that queer people had to fight for, Kantor said.
“It’s inviting people into our inner circle and saying, ‘We love you. We want you here. We want you to celebrate with us,’ while also realizing and paying respect to the hardships that we had to overcome to earn this space.”
Kantor has enjoyed how supportive the community of Gainesville has been for this production to be featured on the Hippodrome’s Mainstage. They said the audiences seem warm, welcoming, excited and supportive of the arts.
Finding that support makes creating art possible, Kantor said.
“Ultimately, I’ve found that it’s about finding your people who will, you know, take those free hours they have between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., in the middle of the night, to get their hands dirty and just create some magical art together.”
In addition to being an actor, Kantor is also a poet and a playwright. They said they admire the way young artists refuse to limit themselves to one artform.
“There used to be this sort of, I think, belief that you have to choose what you wanted to do,” Kantor said. “You wanted to be an actor, or you were a writer, or you were a director. And now we are saying, ‘Screw that. We are interdisciplinary creators.’”
By Amanda Grohowski
After a hop-skip-and-a-jump of 3,661 miles, Caroline Strang is now in Gainesville, Fla., charming audiences at the Hippodrome Theatre as Jo in “The Legend of Georgia McBride.” But, believe it or not, Strang was not always an actress nor was she used to the pounding heat of Florida.
Strang was born and raised in the chilly town of Fairbanks, Alaska. Her first exposure to acting was in her hometown church, where she used to participate in plays. Despite her natural attraction to acting, her parents did not allow Strang to participate in any shows outside of her church.
Her mom thought theatre people were “wicked,” to which Strang teasingly agrees is true.
So, Strang pursued singing instead, which she says has always been her long-time passion. Strang even thought at one point that she was going to be a Christian popstar.
Strang started her undergraduate studies of opera at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, but later transferred to Western Connecticut State University to finish her degree. After vocal nodes forced her – at least temporarily – to abandon singing full time,
Strang decided to take a few acting classes before graduation to keep herself busy.
This fateful pursuit of acting led Strang to discover a whole new side of herself and a new world of vulnerability and emotion altogether. She went on to pursue a master’s degree in acting at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she simultaneously was able to work herself back up to a healthy vocal state to be able to sing again.
During her graduate studies, Strang acted in a variety of plays, ranging from light-hearted comedies to emotionally-turbulent dramas.
But Strang says some of the most impactful roles she’s ever played are those that challenge society’s perspective and portrayal of race.
Strang says that she now understands that every time she is in a show, “Race is an element.”
Even as Jo in “Georgia McBride,” she feels empowered to take the stage as the only black (and female!) cast member.
Strang praises Jo’s unapologetic nature, which she says challenges many antiquated stereotypes of women. Strang believes Jo’s struggle to keep her life balanced is very relatable and will be to many women that come see the play.
“For Jo, she has to be strong, black and independent and still deal with the realities of life, like paying rent and working hard toward a relationship with Casey,” says Strang.
Strang says she is excited for everyone to see “The Legend of Georgia McBride,” a play that she feels does a great job casting and portraying people of color and differing gender identities.
Come see Strang take the Hippodrome Mainstage alongside a talented cast in “The Legend of Georgia McBride” through Nov. 5.
Visit thehipp.org/georgiamcbride for tickets or call the box office at 352-375-4477.
By Jessica Fondo
Cheers to the happy Hipp couple! Logan and Marissa tied the knot and celebrated with a reception in the Hipp’s Lower Level following eight happy years together.
Logan and Marissa met in college at the Florida School of the Arts while studying theatre, and they both moved to Gainesville after that to attend the University of Florida. The two were best friends before anything — Logan would say that it was love at first sight, and he eventually won Marissa over.
Now, they’re happily married! Until recently, Marissa worked at the bar, Logan worked in the box office, and they were both house managers. They have also been performing as company members at the Hipp for about 5 years. Logan and Marissa decided to come back to the Hipp after hours to celebrate their wedding day; they held their reception in the Hipp’s chic Lower Level.
This space has an elegant, unique and stylish atmosphere that provides a versatile backdrop for any and all events. Find out more about how you can rent the Hipp today at thehipp.org/rentals.
by Jessica Fondo
I am the rentals coordinator here, so anybody who is interested in renting our basement or our cinema for a private event, it all goes through me. So I book those and make sure they’re on our calendar, and I’m there assisting if they need any additional help along the way.
In September! I just moved here from Arizona in August.
In Arizona, I was a wedding coordinator at an all-inclusive event venue. We did about 100 weddings a year. People would come in and tour our space and book their wedding date. From that moment on we were with them throughout the whole planning process. We would do their decorations, assist them with their vendor choices and of course we were there day-of. We would coordinate the ceremony and then be there throughout the evening to ensure the event ran smoothly.
I wanted to get into event planning. In college I took an event-planning course, and I fell in love with the organization of it, planning the event and meeting new people, working with everybody. And every day on the job is totally different. It’s definitely my passion. I got an internship in college working with wedding flowers and decorations. My job would consist of going to all the weddings and set everything up, making sure it all looked picture perfect. I did that internship for about a year and I loved the coordinating aspect of it so I jumped right into coordinating weddings full time!
Glendale, Arizona. I’ve been here for about two months now.
I like it! I like that there’s a lot to do here. Gainesville’s like a little, big town, and like a country city. I also love that Gainesville is it’s own little community and so involved with everything.
I love it. I love how everybody is so supportive of each other, very appreciative of everybody’s work. We all work as a team. And I think that’s the most important thing about workplaces, that you all work together. You don’t ever feel like you’re by yourself. So yeah, I think the teamwork makes the whole place. And, definitely, everybody, accepting one another is a great way to describe the Hipp.
The building is so unique. They’re not going to find another building anywhere like this. I think it really speaks to people who have an appreciation towards historical buildings and the arts and everything. I think its uniqueness really speaks for itself. It draws people in without you even having to really try.
We have our basement other known as the lower level. This space is ideal for wedding receptions, gatherings, private parties, business meetings and so much more. We have the full-service bar down there and no vendor restrictions. And then we have our cinema room. If people want to rent out a private screening or showings, this room is perfect for that. The Cinema is our movie theatre-style stadium that seats 75 guests. So more small gatherings, business meetings, speeches, and presentations.
Each rental space has its own unique feel to it but also very versatile and goes with any decor/theme you want to create. We have full-service bars in our Lower Level and Cinema room available. Every package comes with a bartender and a house manager. The house manager is there for your whole entire event to make sure your event runs smoothly which I think that’s a great aspect. Our packages also include tables, chairs and linens. Our Lower Level is A/V equipped which is great for slideshows and presentations that can be shown throughout the event.
I think the location of the Hippodrome is perfect. I mean, it’s right in the middle of everything. It’s easy to get to. And again, the uniqueness: it’s not just a blank little room… it adds character. It’s historical and unqiue.
For showtimes and ticket information, click here.
By Jessica Fondo
“It’s the farthest thing that I can be from myself,” Mark Chambers said.
Chambers dons drag in his return to the Hippodrome Theatre to play Miss Tracy Mills, the queen of drag queens in “The Legend of Georgia McBride,” currently on the Mainstage.
The opportunity to tell this particular story brought the San Francisco resident back to the Hippodrome.
“It’s lighter fare, you think, on the surface, and then it goes much deeper than that.”
Miss Tracy Mills wouldn’t be the first feminine character Chambers has played; drag has been a large part of his career from the get-go.
Since his theatre debut as a flying monkey in “The Wizard of Oz,” Mark Chambers has notably played the part of the mad, sexually deviant scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter, wheelchair-bound former Hollywood star Blanche Hudson and East German transgender glam-rockstar Hedwig.
When Chambers, a company member, first acted at the Hippodrome in 1994 in “The Sisters Rosensweig,” he sensed that the theatre was a rare find.
“I think it’s the most special theatre that I’ve ever worked in,” Chambers said.
A company member at the Florida Repertory Theatre in Fort Meyers, and often performing at the Penobscot Theatre Company in Maine, he travels to theatres with roles for him.
The Hippodrome’s collaborative approach sets it apart from other theatres, he said.
“You’re not just a hired worker here,” he added. “It’s a thoughtful, mindful, respectful place. I love it!”
This show marks Chambers’ 23rd year at the Hippodrome, but he began acting long before that.
Since his experience as a child actor in Memphis, Tennessee, he knew he wanted to be onstage. As his father was a puppeteer, his parents didn’t want the risks of a performer’s life for him. He pursued it anyway, and they supported him.
He has worked as a cosmetologist and barber, but now acting is his only job. In his free time, he likes to read, walk and paint. He tries to read a play every week, he said.
Now, he is rereading “The Legend of Georgia McBride.” It’s about questioning the status quo and becoming a better version of yourself, Chambers said.
“You need to figure out what this means to you, and then you need to learn how to be better at being that person.”
This play is especially powerful in front of an audience like Gainesville. The small-town feel of this city brings people together through culture in a way that is unusual outside of college towns, he said.
“The arts and letters seeps into daily life for all ages, unlike in a bigger city,” Chambers said, “You can have all those, but they’re so segregated by age and money and the class system.”
Chambers said he feels a special connection to Gainesville, as though he has watched it grow up while he has been returning year after year. Chambers said he simply hopes to never retire.
“I’m still just a working actor,” Chambers said. “I hope and pray for the next part, the next role.”