A year long Legacy

Wed, 11/21/2007 - 10:36am
By: The Citizen

Local professional theater celebrates first anniversary

Recently, members of the cast of The Legacy Theatre’s production of “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” were discussing the major themes that they would want to relay to the audience each night from the stage. Not surprisingly, the themes they kept coming back to were the importance of friendship, family and self-sacrifice.

As Mark Smith, executive director of the Legacy, left the theater that night, he began to think back on the past year and the short history of The Legacy Theatre. He realized that these fundamental things are precisely what have seen the Legacy through their first season. Mark and his wife and partner Bethany have seen a lot transpire at the theater in the past year, from their grand opening to the launch of their second season.

The Smith’s give credit to Stephen Ball, from Doris Russell School of Performing Arts, who never took “no” for an answer. “He worked tirelessly through sickness as he helped orchestrate all the contractors, town council members, banks and sponsors who would make the theater a reality,” said Mark.

Other events the Smith’s recall leading up to the grand opening include “the Town of Tyrone welcoming us with open arms and believing in the importance of live theatre” and Ted Davis and dozens of workers who sweated through a hot, dry summer and chattered through a surprisingly cold October and November to open the theater on time.

Another important team member who the Smith’s credit with their first successful year is Dustin Lewis. Lewis, who traveled the world as a performer, decided to relocate to Tyrone, Ga. from Illinois to work both on and off the stage with the Legacy. He has worked for the theater as an actor, in the areas of marketing and public relations and in sales.

The Legacy opened amid a frenzy of activity last year, but not before Bethany and Mark’s family and friends ate Thanksgiving dinner with them in the lobby of the theatre. The assembled crew worked all the way through opening night to make sure the theatre was clean, beautiful and ready for Legacy’s patrons for the opening of their inaugural production, the light hearted holiday musical, “A Christmas Survival Guide.”

“We had dozens of volunteer ushers in black and white who swept the lobby, vacuumed the theater and lovingly scrub the bathrooms,” Mark recalled of their opening.

Throughout the year, the Legacy has brought a variety of productions to the stage for audiences in a lush environment. Productions like “Forever Plaid” also helped raise funds for local organizations including Christian City’s Home for Children.

This summer hundreds of kids participated in the theater’s Broadway Workshop, performing scenes all in green from “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Wiz” and “Wicked” for full houses.

The spring production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Song and Dance” featured both Bethany Smith, in one of her dream roles, and Lewis.

Over 500 kids walked through the doors to audition for “Disney’s High School Musical” and the Legacy had to expand their production of the show to 21 performances to accommodate all of the audiences who flocked to the theater to see it. The Legacy sold out each show of the production which featured a cast of 65, ages 7 and up, who danced, sang and lit up the stage for over 4,000 audience members.

In addition to the stand out performances of “Disney’s High School Musical,” the fall season made way for “Greater Tuna” in September and October.

As The Legacy Theatre approaches its one-year anniversary, Bethany and Mark Smith are excited. They are looking forward to what is in store for the Legacy and for the community. The duo says they are committed to continue bringing great entertainment to south Atlanta as well as educate children and influence a new generation of theater-goers.

To catch the next production being offered by The Legacy Theatre, you can check out “It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,” opening Friday. The show runs Fridays, Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. through Dec. 16.

For tickets, call 404-895-1473 or visit them online at www.thelegacytheatre.org.

Tickets for adults are $25, for seniors 60 and over and for students they are $22 and for children 12 and under tickets are $12. Group rates are also available.

The Legacy Theatre is located at 1175 Senoia Rd, Tyrone, Ga.

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