When I walked into the theater I was drawn back to my childhood and early adulthood. The set was the 1961 that I remembered.
Our seats were to the right side so we were seated close to the "kitchen".
Tom was as impressed with the kitchen as I was. He said, "Take a close look at the calendar on the refrigerator."
Tom, Pat, and I started pointing out other things we remembered.
The broom and dustpan parked beside the refrigerator...the flyswatter where it was handy...the radio on top of the refrigerator...the braided rug...the ruffled curtains on the door...linoleum on the floor.
We remembered the curtain hanging from the sink to cover the plumbing and the Brillo Pads box as well as Bon Ami Shaker container...the cutting boards, the copper molds. Way to the left is a spice rack typical of the era. Even the cupboard doors felt right. Pat spotted a toaster like the one her family had.
And then we began looking at the items on the open shelves. Do you recognize anything?
On the left side of the theater as we looked at it was a corner of The Esquire Ballroom which was outside Houston, Texas. This is where Patsy Cline and Louise Seger met.
The sign on the middle of the back wall is a vintage neon Pabst Blue Ribbon Sign which lit when this part of the set was the focal point.
Gretchen Gantner, was in charge of Set Decor and Tobie Braverman was in charge of Properties. The two women did an outstanding job. I was so drawn into the era that I was still back in 1961 after the play was over.
My dad was an insurance agent and also, for a while, a superintendent for The National Life and Accident Insurance Company. The company's annual convention was in Nashville and the conventioneers always went to a performance of The Grand Ole Opry. Dad was proud that his company had been part of the start of what became a Nashville tradition. Dad worked for the company nearly all the years that I was growing up.
Our son, Ray, created the central Grand Ole Opry set design from a small black and white photo he found after much searching. Until I told him, he didn't realize that his grandpa had worked for the insurance company.
Ray painted the barn detail but Tobie Braverman, Gretchen Gantner, Karen Romero, and Elaine Volker painted the barn.
But before any painting could be done, the Construction Crew built the set. Builders included Linda Abbott, Lydia Abbott, Clint Bramkamp, John Farrow, Gretchen Gantner, Cynthia Mottel, Dennis Murphy, James Reuter, Karen Romero, Greg Schaper, Megan Schultheis, Patrick Schultheis, Kent Smith, Fred tacon, Eric Thomas, Veronica Thomas, Elaine Volker, Amy Waldfogle, Katie Waldfogle, Mark Waldfogle, and Robert Weidle.
Thanks, all of you. You helped create a play I will never forget.