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Mark Chambers onstage now as Miss Tracy Mills!

Mark Chambers stars in now-running “The Legend of Georgia McBride”

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.”


Mark Enting’s photography featured in the Hipp Art Gallery

Current Gallery Exhibit

Mark Enting’s Photography

By Natalia Veray

“I like to get in the backroads.” Mark Enting said, “A lot of times people are moving too fast and don’t notice the little things.”

Enting’s photographic work will be featured in the theatre’s art gallery beginning Wednesday, Oct. 11, in conjunction with the Hipp’s new Mainstage production “The Legend of Georgia McBride,” with an official opening on Friday, Oct. 13, along with the show. Enting will be present for opening, and the exhibit will be on display through Nov. 12, and featured for this month’s Art Walk on Oct. 27.

Enting’s work ranges from travel shots in Paris to old automobiles he stumbles upon. He hopes that audiences relate his work back to childhood memories.

Enting first began taking photographs back in high school and recalls the natural connection with his first camera. He remembers always having it in-hand, trying to isolate moments to freeze them in time. 

Enting collaborated with commercial photographers and studios before putting down his camera and to attend the University of Florida. About five years ago, Enting stumbled upon an old-camera and fell back in love with the art. Since then he’s been independently capturing everyday life, reveling in the freedom of pursuing his interests.

A freelance-photographer, Enting captures with a low-quality toy-camera to an HDR lens, switching his shooting-style to create an ethereal tone in his work.

“I’m working for myself again and it is incredibly freeing,” Enting said. “My work can be good or bad, but it’s all up to me.”


Jon Kovach is back on the Hipp Mainstage for “The Legend of Georgia McBride”

By Daniela Esteves

Lipstick, fake eyelashes and high heels were once foreign concepts to Jon Kovach. Now, with fake hips attached to his sides, he returns to the Hippodrome in eye shadow, dresses and glitter galore.

Kovach is thrilled to take on what he calls an “exciting feat,” starring in “The Legend of Georgia McBride” as Casey. By an unexpected turn of events, an Elvis impersonator finds himself introduced to the world of drag. This is Kovach’s first time donning drag, too.

The actor, who previously starred in the Hipp’s production of “Hand to God,” is glad to be back in Gainesville and working at a local theatre that isn’t afraid of doing daring, new work.  He believes this production reveals new aspects of drag that may help dissolve stereotypes and audiences’ phobias and discomfort.

Kovach’s passion for theatre and acting stems from his belief that theatre allows actors and audiences to experience the world through different lenses. 

Though he enjoys both film and live theatre, he thinks the beauty of theatre is that the actors and audience experience it together. Everyone “breathes the same air,” he said.

Kovach has worked with recognized film-makers and authors, including the legendary George Clooney. (Side note: Ryan Gosling once called him “buddy” on the set of “The Ides of March,” and this has all the interns at the Hipp fangirling). Kovach’s repertoire includes off-Broadway and regional theatre productions, as wells many roles in film and TV.

As an undeclared major at the Miami University of Ohio, he performed in plays for artistic expression and release, he said, but was told by counselors that, as a profession, it was useless. But, after a summer of touring with his then rock-band, Cabin Fever, Kovach knew he was an artist.

See Kovach take the Hippodrome Mainstage alongside a talented cast in “The Legend of Georgia McBride” opening this Friday, Oct. 13, and running through Nov. 5.

Click here for tickets or call the box office at 352-375-4477.


Trick or treat? The Hipp Cinema presents October screenings

The Hippodrome kicks off a month of spooky screenings
with new film “Super Dark Times”

The Hippodrome Cinema kicks off the first of several spooky films for the month of October, with the new film “Super Dark Times.”

 A harrowing, but meticulously observed, look at teenage lives in the era prior to the early 1990s, “Super Dark Times” marks the feature debut of gifted director Kevin Phillips, whose critically acclaimed 2015 short film “Too Cool For School” premiered at the renowned Cannes Film Festival.

Zach (Owen Campbell) and Josh (Charlie Tahan) are best friends growing up in a leafy Upstate New York suburb in the 1990s, where teenage life revolves around hanging out, looking for kicks, navigating first love and vying for popularity.

When a traumatic incident drives a wedge between the previously inseparable pair, their youthful innocence abruptly vanishes. Each young man processes the tragedy in his own way, until circumstances grow increasingly complex and spiral into violence. Phillips dives headlong into the confusion of teenage life, creating an evocative atmosphere out of the murky boundaries between adolescence and adulthood, courage and fear, and good and evil.

“This generations ‘Mean Creek’ or ‘Donnie Darko.'” – Brad Miska, “Bloody Disgusting”

Wednesday (10/11): 7:30 p.m.
Thursday (10/12): 5:30 p.m.

One-night only special screening of “Suspiria” on Friday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.

“Suspiria” is an absurd film in the most positive way. Here’s a summation of its value by film critic Neil Young:

“There have probably been weirder, artier, funnier and gorier horror films than ‘Susperia,’ but none have come anywhere near combining all of these elements to more dazzling effect than Argento’s masterpiece. But it isn’t enough to proclaim the movie as the best of its genre – this is a rare, possibly unique example of a genuine auteur remaining true to his own personal vision, while at the same time satisfying the demands of the commercial market. A major hit on both sides of the Atlantic on its initial release, ‘Suspiria’ has enjoyed a long afterlife as a video and DVD favorite. But abandon all notions that great cinema must mean ‘well-made’ movies: Argento doesn’t worry about plotting, characterization, acting, or making much sense, so neither should we.”

Friday (10/13): 7 p.m.


The Hipp Cinema presents three films from the American Genre Film Archives Collection:


“Calling ‘Re-animator’ a crucial gore movie is like saying that fire is hot.” – Zack Carlson, co-author of “Destroy All Movies”

H.P. Lovecraft and Lucio Fulci did not team up to make the most amazing gore-sex grotesquerie of 1985 — but thanks to “Re-animator,” they didn’t have to. Director Stuart Gordon and producer Brian Yuzna’s joint debut feature, this epochal, awe-inspiring amalgam of “Frankenstein,” “The Beyond,” and “Revenge of the Nerds” is where science meets chaos to produce an hyperactive overdose of gruesome insanity.

Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) is a new Miskatonic University student who also moonlights as a mad scientist, intent on perfecting a serum that “re-animates” corpses. Soon, everyone wants a piece of the action, including an evil professor and his army of slime-covered deadites. With berserker theatrics, career-defining roles from horror icons Combs and Barbara Crampton, and a scene of two adults chasing an undead cat in a basement, “Re-animator” isn’t just a masterpiece of the horror genre — it’s a masterpiece of life.
Friday (10/20) : 8:30 p.m

Wednesday (10/25) : 8 p.m.


“Already a hero in the horror genre for producing films like “Re-animator” and “From Beyond,” Brian Yuzna unleashed the demons locked inside his warped mind with this spectacularly insane directorial debut. Billy Warlock (“Baywatch”)stars as a pampered Beverly Hills teen whose world is golden, until his sister’s ex

gives him an audiotape of what sounds like his family partaking in an incestuous, murderous orgy. Thus begins his journey down a gore-and-goo-lined rabbit hole into the shocking underbelly of ‘high society!’

“Society” encapsulates all that made the 1980s a halcyon age for horror; bursting with truly bizarre ideas, the film is a cavalcade of winking satire and social commentary, and culminates in an epicly grotesque twenty-minute finale (designed by legendary SFX artist Screaming Mad George) that remains one of the genre’s most out-there, boundary-pushing memorable endings — one you will run out and beg all of your friends to later witness.” — Josh Miller, The Cinefamily

Saturday (10/21): 9 p.m.

“The Crazies”

“After reinventing the zombie film with “Night of the Living Dead,” George Romero made his first color horror film “The Crazies,” another social commentary cloaked in exploitation trappings about a small Pennsylvania town decimated by the accidental release of a dangerous biochemical weapon in the water supply (thanks to a crashed truck.)

Though not an official part of Romero’s ongoing “Dead” series, “The Crazies” still fits in just fine thanks to its depictions of normalcy shedding apart from the inside and a ruthless but incompetent military ultimately driven by self-interest — themes which would reach their most crystallized version in “Day of the Dead.” — Nathaniel Thompson, Mondo Digital
Thursday (10/26) : 8 p.m.

The Hipp Cinema presents “The Shining”

The Hippodrome Cinema is proud to present Stanley Kubrick’s definitive horror classic “The Shining” to

celebrate the Halloween season. Frustrated  writer Jack  Torrance takes a job as

the winter caretaker at the ominous, mountain-locked Overlook Hotel so that he can write in peace. When he arrives there with his wife and son, they learn that the previous caretaker had gone mad. Slowly Jack becomes possessed by the evil, demonic presence in the hotel.

Friday (10/27): 8:30 p.m.
Sunday (10/29): 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday (10/31): 7:30 p.m.

The Hipp and UF examine the expanse of “fake news”

In an invigorating discussion that would be considered “thought-crime” in George Orwell’s novel “1984,” the Hipp partnered with the University of Florida School of Theatre + Dance (UF SOTD) on Monday night to explore the manipulation of circulating “fake news” and the consequential impacts it holds on the past, present and future.

Hosted by Jerry Dickey, chair of the UF SOTD, the panel featured UF journalism professors Mike Foley and Kim Walsh-Childers, and Andrew Selepak, Ph.D., director of the Master’s in mass communication at UF, as panelists for the discussion.

The Romans stabbed each other in the back literally and figuratively, Foley said; “fake news” has been going on since 33 B.C. With the expansion of social media today, wrong information is circulated regularly, by people of differing political ideologies. Regarding political figures, it’s like arguing over cartoon characters, Selepak said.

“Are the people in this room going to change things? Alone, no,” Walsh-Childers said. “It’s going to have to be little steps and lots of them to get us back from the brink.”

Colista Swartz, a participant, said, “They are all in their own little camps. It ultimately boils down to nobody wants to be wrong.”

Some participants said they remember reading the novel “1984” before the namesake year.

“There was a little trickle something like this could happen,” said participant Michelle Benoit.

She wondered if young people who read it now have a different impression. Eleanor Sommer, a participant, said she thought the  conversation is especially relevant to young people. “In 20 to 30 years they’re going to look back and say ‘I wish we had done something.'”

The play adaptation of “1984” is on the Hipp Mainstage through Sunday. You can get your tickets here.

“The concept is ancient, but the play is very modern,” Sommer said, “which is very frightening.”

To view a video of the livestream, visit our Facebook.


Four reasons you should see “Grave of the Fireflies” at the Hipp


At the end of the month, the Hippodrome Cinema will screen “Grave of the Fireflies.” Based on a 1967 semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, this dramatic and heart-wrenching film will take you deep into the aftermath of World War II in Japan.

“Grave of the Fireflies” will lead audience members the tough reality of the war and the devastation it left behind through the story of siblings Seita and Setsuko. Seita is a young boy who has to take care of his younger sister Setsuko after their mother tragically dies during the war. The siblings fight through hardships together and stay with each other no matter what.

The film covers a very tough topic, but it is absolutely rewarding to watch. The Hipp will be playing the film three times: once on Sept. 30, on Oct. 1 and on Oct. 4.

Here are four reasons why you should come see “Grave of the Fireflies” at the Hipp:

1. It will teach you family values.

Despite all of the tragedy around them, Seita and Setsuko still share moments of happiness together. Plus, look at how adorable little Setsuko’s rosy-red cheeks are! You just can’t help but smile sometimes.

2. It will show you the true devastation and reality of World War II.

When it comes down to it, World War II was a horrific event that claimed the lives of over 60 million people. We can all learn from this history.

3. It will remind you to value the simple things in life.

From family to basic living commodities, “Grave of the Fireflies” will make you think twice about what is and isn’t important in your life. We sometimes forget how many people have suffered and still are suffering from conflicts around the world. Seita and Setsuko suffered famine and were forced to face death head-on many times.

4. It will make you bawl your eyes out.

Everyone needs a good cry once in awhile, and it’s OK to admit that. The sadness in this film is sometimes overwhelming, but it does give you a humble perspective on life.

Don’t miss out on the Hipp’s screenings of “Grave of the Fireflies.” Get your tickets now by visiting thehipp.org/cinema or calling (352)375-4477.




From GainesvilleScene: Big Brother Hits the Big Stage with the Hippodrome’s ‘1984’

This story was originally published on GainesvilleScene.


War is peace. Ignorance is strength. Freedom is slavery. The recognizable propaganda of George Orwell’s fictional world of 1984 flash across the screens above the stage. Audience members spanning across many decades file in to the rows of the Hippodrome Theatre in Downtown Gainesville. Sitting before us, an industrial set, intimately lit with eerie hues of green— creating a chilling feeling that matches the crisp air conditioning.

The Hippodrome Theatre and the University of Florida School of Theatre and Dance came together to share of one of Orwell’s classic novels, 1984, with Gainesville. Lauren Warhol Caldwell, the Artistic Director at the Hippodrome Theatre, directed this production of Andrew White’s adaptation of the play.

1984 tells the story of a future world marked by total government control. Technology is inescapable, free-thinking is a crime and Big Brother is watching. The protagonists, Winston and Julia, dissatisfied with the lives they are forced to live, begin seeking out others with a rebellious agenda. But, deviating from the norm is a death sentence.

What captivates people about this story is that George Orwell published his ideas of the future back in 1949. Although his novel seems like an exaggerated tale of fiction, there are horrifying elements that have crept in to the modern world.

(Photo by Michael A Eaddy, Hippodrome Theatre)

Generations of students, including myself, have read 1984 for various classes. Sitting in front of me at the show, a group of women around 50 years my senior reflected on when they were first exposed to this book in high school. This just goes to show the timelessness of this piece as mankind never stops imagining what the landscape of the future will look like.

Lauren Warhol Caldwell called Orwell a visionary because we are now “living in the world that he described.” She continued in saying that “We are living in an interesting time right now and I think that’s probably one reason that the book resurged.”

The overwhelming interest in this story can be partially attributed to the time of political unrest that we are living in. Although the plot of Orwell’s novel could take a sharp political slant, the director chose to depict the work with its original authenticity. This allows for the audience to interpret the play in the way that most strongly resonates with them as an individual.

“We are living in an interesting time right now and I think that’s probably one reason that the book resurged.”

Regarding the play itself, the best word I can use to describe it is powerful. The audience is close enough to the action to feel like a participant rather than a mere spectator. There is something so gripping about seeing a fictional world that doesn’t seem possible, but then picking out an element that is present in our day-to-day lives. It’s riveting to see the dangerous possibilities of the uncertain future.

(Photo by Michael A. Eaddy, Hippodrome Theatre)

The purpose of this play is to not make you feel good inside as you are leaving the theatre. This play is supposed to make you think. You watch the protagonist completely unravel and abandon his morality. Reading about the downfall of Winston is one thing, but I have a new understanding of the plot after seeing 1984 on stage.

Audience members are kept in suspense and on edge for the duration of the show. Transitions from scene to scene were marked by metallic scraping and jolting bass, causing you to fear what will come next. To me, the most memorable part of the play was the interaction between Winston, played by Niall McGinty, and O’Brien, played by V Craig Heidenreich. The intensity in their portrayal of their characters allowed for the most extreme themes of the play to unfold before the audience’s eyes.

Caldwell said that, “If you’re looking to be riveted to the edge of your seat, that is the experience we have had with our audience.” I can personally support her claim, as I was fully captured by the performance from start to finish. I’ve been a fan of Orwell’s work for a while, but a whole new level of comprehension comes with seeing the story live.

“If you’re looking to be riveted to the edge of your seat, that is the experience we have had with our audience.”

You can catch this dark classic gracing the stage of the Hippodrome Theatre until September 24. Show times and ticket information can be found on the Hippodrome’s website.


The Hippodrome Cinema will be a part of music-film history

The Hippodrome Cinema will be a part of music-film history.

The cinema team is excited to participate in the one-night special screening of “David Gilmour: Live at Pompeii.” It is one of 2,000 theaters worldwide that will be playing this film on the same day — and only for that day.

The concert film will be screened Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m., and $15 tickets are on sale now. “David Gilmour: Live at Pompeii” captures one of the first-ever rock concerts for an audience in the legendary Roman amphitheatre.

Patrons will not want to miss this one-time opportunity to see Gilmour’s out-of-this-world performance, complete with lasers, pyrotechnics, a huge screen with incredible film elements and, of course, their favorite Pink Floyd classics. The concert’s set list includes “One of These Days,” “Wish You Were Here” and many of Gilmour’s solo tracks.

“In the film, Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour performs songs from the entirety of his catalog, and this is such an audio and visual experience,'” said Jason Potak, cinema program manager. “It serves as a reminder of how influential one musician can be.”

This nostalgic film will take attendees back to their days of Walkmans and teenage angst. Tickets can be purchased by calling (352)375-4477 or visiting thehipp.org/cinema.


“The Young Girls of Rochefort” is September’s Cocktails & Classics


“The Young Girls of Rochefort” is about two women looking for love, but it’s also much more than that. Here’s why you should come see it at the Hipp:

1. They just don’t make movies like this anymore.

Real-life sisters Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac play a pair of twins, Delphine and Solange, living in a small, seaside town in France. They give dance and music lessons, but of course dream of love and more exciting lives in a big city. Suddenly, a carnival comes to town! They meet a couple of carnies who offer to bring them to Paris if the twins perform in their show. This film is chock-full of musical numbers, missed connections and improbable coincidences, which is precisely why we love it.

2. It’s all about girl power.

Unlike most movies of the ‘60s, the women run this movie. They’re talented educators who run their own business in an idyllic French suburb and travel to Paris. Additionally, the plot focuses on Delphine and Solange and their mom’s stories. Talk about GOALS.

3. Gene. Kelly.

“Singin’ in the Rain.” “An American in Paris.” Gene Kelly can do it ALL. He plays the charming, successful American in this one –– can you even call that acting??

4. There will be drinks

We’ll have themed cocktails ready at the bar, and appetizers will be catered by Dragonfly. Need we say more?

Come join us on Sept. 23 for Hippodrome Cinema’s next Cocktails & Classics screening – “The Young Girls of Rochefort.” Our reception starts in the Bar and Art Gallery at 6:30 p.m., and the film will follow in the Cinema at 7:30 p.m. Your $20 ticket includes one free specialty cocktail or soda as well as admission to the film. Get yours by calling (352)375-4477 or at http://thehipp.org/event/the-young-girls-of-rochefort/.


Response to Hurricane Irma: The Hippodrome will be closed Saturday through Monday

Response to Hurricane Irma: 

The Hippodrome will be closed Saturday through Monday

The Hippodrome Theatre will be closed Sunday and Monday in response to Hurricane Irma.
To keep our patrons, staff, actors and interns safe, the theatre will be rescheduling the following programming:
  • “1984”: Cancelling Saturday and Sunday’s Mainstage shows
  • Cinema shows: The cinema will be closed Saturday Sunday
  • “A Fundraiser in 3 Acts!”: Rescheduling Monday’s 6 p.m. benefit concert
  • “The Shakespeare Code”: Rescheduling Monday’s David Patrick Ford class
  • “One City, One Story: A Talkback with Alex Woloch”: Cancelled Tuesday’s talkback; regrettably cannot be rescheduled
Patrons can stay up-to-date with the Hippodrome’s adjusted hours on its Facebook page. The box office will work diligently to move affected patrons’ tickets to alternate dates, and patrons are encouraged to call (352)375-4477 with any questions.