Still remains at the top of my list of shit shows. Is the below post true? Are Johnny and Tom still there?
You know the below reviews are true when you can meet total strangers in auditions find the connection and immediately bond over "omg you worked there too?!?!" Followed by endless hours of horror stories.
Clarksville was alright though.
I can confirm that Tom and John are not longer a part of the Roxy. The board appointed Ryan Bowie as executive director in July 2016.
I attended a show last March and have now been cast in a show this season. It is blatantly obvious to me the exponential increase in production value between the two shows.
Ryan is incredible at what he does and has gracefully and patiently taken the lemons he was handed and made a very nice spiked lemonade.
Tom and John did not always treat ALL their artists with respect, nor did they run a well organized company - either artistically or financially. Ryan has been gracious enough to clean up their mess, all the while directing and designing really high quality theater.
The battle to makeover the Roxy is not won, but the tarnish that is clouding its reputation is getting polished off as we speak.
If you have the opportunity to audition for Ryan or work here, know that the below posts are from previous administration and things are really looking up for the Roxy!
Honestly, my time at the Roxy was an even mix of the good and the bad reviews on here (a good dose of both are true). But I only just learned of this. Ryan is a nice guy, and I wish him well, but...
Anyone who has worked with me at this theatre or knows me personally outside would notbe surprised at how I felt during my time at the Roxy. I thought that John and Tom were horrible men to work for. They lacked knowledge and care for what the rest of the country would deem acceptable on a professional level. John did seem to connect with a few fellow actors which would allow them to have a good time. However, I also saw him continually say insensitive RACIST comments that he just didn't understand as being so, he crossed the line into mens personal lives, he sexually harassed straight men who were very uncomfortable around him, he screamed at actors, he constantly up and left rehearsals during a run leaving us to doing a glorified line through (waste of time), he dragged his heels to actor suggestions....Tom just seemed not to care as his only fault...below it's stated that most enjoyed their time. During my time there it was the opposite. Long time employees there talked about how most casts have issues, my casts had their issues, not everyone, but most...the two have announced their retirement. If that is totally true and you don't have to deal with them in the future then praise yo life.
Clarksville is small but can be a really great time if you take the initiative. We made some great friends with locals, had different activities we could do every night of the week, explored new and upcoming excursions around the city, Nashville is super close! It is also a super low cost of living, so even on the small paycheck, you can make it work!
The theatre itself has a lot of potential. It is SUPER small, but that can be charming. However, the lighting is atrocious. Like 12 instruments, all white light, "we only have 3 pools of light"...seriously, and if you aren't as far downstage in those 3 pools, you're in the dark. Backstage is a hazard, but just needs attention and some time to clean up (nails sticking out everywhere, a JUNGLE of extension cords blah blah blah). Usually no sound. We did for American Idiot that was run by high school interns who aren't sound people. Feedback, horrible to no mixing, distortion. No bueno. No costumer, usually done by management and then a fellow actor to do "tailoring". American Idiot set was great because the Roxy didn't do it...other sets were lower quality than my high school and community theatre growing up. There were some pretty big flaws that even the "regulars" agreed upon.
Ryan Bowie is taking over. My personal time with Ryan is difficult. I thought his company manager, lead actor, please give us money, community outreach, reigning in two crazy old men, laundry man and everything else position was WAY too much. I felt that he was very detached and cold to the rest of the company. He tried to balance a professional and personal relationship with people and aside from a specific few, he did not accomplish that. As posted below, he was supposed to be in a show with me that we postponed for his benefit, then we rehearsed until just before opening and then was cancelled last minute before opening. Ultimately this was John and Toms doing, they had ample time to come up with a plan B that I had brought up 2 months before. But the going out and drinking with friends leading up to that decision was a personal choice, and keeping me in the dark and being blindsided by it (conveniently after opening American Idiot) was unprofessional, showed a lack of character, and rude.
I think Ryan will do a much better job of running this theatre. I don't know if he has learned terrible habits from the previous two men over the years...but hopefully the lack of money, difficult market and stain from John and Tom don't keep him from growing the little theatre in Clarksville into something much less community theatre and into a place where actors can go to learn.
Over the next few seasons I think young actors should give him a chance. The town deserves it to be great, Ryan should have his life in Clarksville be great because I think he does actually care about it and we could always use more great places to work.
I am deeply saddened and beyond painfully hurt.
Nothing was said of the hospitality of Easter Brunch, nor of the trip to the bus station and the bag of goodies packed for your travel.
I had nothing to do with the email which upset you so.
Yes,I yelled at my dear friend,Jay, who in his old age is going deaf...I wasn't my best self that day, dealing with another actor's sprained ankle.
If I made any straight actors uncomfortable,I would question their insecurity, if complimenting them on their good looks or telling them how to create a cod piece was considered a come-on I
Lastly, I know I'm not the greatest director, but I have been able to produce some good theatre by allowing fine performers like yourself to bring their best to the fore.
As for the set, I had saved that bit of Mary Poppins for both of those shows. I spent hours on them. I know, when I send the DVDs, you will see for yourself.
As for being racist,that was the lowest blow. I learned a great deal from that cast. I've never worked that way before, and it was a new style of working which was frustrating for me, and, I'm sure, for them as well.
As for Thrill Me, there was no one else. Sickness notwithstanding, I don't think your fellow actor was looking forward to working with you, so it became a no-win issue.
I am sorry you were so unhappy. I wish you well and hope all good things for you.
I liked your friends very much and hope they will come back and work for Ryan.
P.S. Ah, yes, wearing a wig for the final performance at any theatre without asking is always a "no-no". I'm sure all this was urged on by a third party.
Opportunity of a lifetime!
I just returned to the Roxy for the 4th time, and had the time of my life – again. The artistic staff has worked tirelessly for 33 years to build this theatre community – not an easy feat as we all know - and it’s a wonder and privilege to be a part of it. I wanted to work with director John McDonald again before his retirement, and it was a delight.
I personally adore the magic this bare-bones theatre creates. They mount shows quickly and rely on their actors greatly to supply the good work that polishes the pieces, which is a unique opportunity to work on individual craft, and teamwork. It’s an artistically challenging environment that makes an actor feel alive. I only wish the shows ran longer.
The housing provided is wonderful and is a short walk from the theatre. There are 3 big bedrooms each with a large bathroom, and ample common areas – kitchen/living/dining room, decks, basement. The place is thoroughly outfitted with kitchen supplies, washer/dryer, all you really need. Many restaurants are within walking distance, as are stores, museums, the post office, the lovely Cumberland Riverwalk, the Austin Peay University campus, and the great Riverview Hotel for your guests (ask for the nice Roxy discount). A car is a bonus, of course, but not necessary. It’s such a quaint downtown, filled with largely theatre-supporting businesses.
The Stage Manager does a wonderful job of caring for the stage and running the shows. I found that if an issue should arise, it can be addressed respectfully and a professional solution found.
The theatre staff appreciates you volunteering to help with small tasks. With ample time off from rehearsal, it poses no problem, but it is in no way mandatory. Strike is often easy and quick.
You are paid each Friday, and often find small treats in your mailbox in the box office.
The dressing rooms are sufficient, as are the quick-change spaces backstage.
The staff sincerely wants you to have a great experience, onstage and off. They are approachable and available – and are fixtures in the lobby as you come to work each day.
Since ½ the year the Roxy is a professional theatre and the other ½ a community theatre, the local interns present are a wonderful resource as well.
Your time at the Roxy can be anything you want it to be. Bring a great attitude and enjoy working on great shows. In my experience, it is much more a fluke to have an unsatisfactory experience than to have a great one.
YES YES YES YES YES!!! So wonderfully said and I couldn't agree more!
Never have been on one of these sites before, but I would like to weigh in on what's going on at the Roxy. As an actor, I have never had an unhappy experience at this theater. I have played there many times over the years, everything from the classics to contemporary work. I find the directors to be knowledgeable and accessible. They might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I think that's ok. I like them, you may not. Go there and decide for yourself, you are no longer children. More seem to have good experiences than not (according to this site and personal acquaintances). I know this theater has come under scrutiny in the last few weeks, and that they are undergoing changes. Congrats to J and T, it is a retirement well deserved. I hope the new director can fill their shoes, but I have some reservations. He has struck me as an individual that rarely goes beyond what is needed. I know it is difficult to transition to management among your peers, but that is the job. Someone who drags their heels on acting assignments and tries to opt out of shows he has committed to seems irresponsible. And I find it curious, according to the article in the Leaf Chronicle, that donations started to decline shortly after his hire.
(...continued)Hope everything works out for all of them. Best of luck.
I have worked at the Roxy a number of times and it has always been a wonderful experience. Tom and John, the owners, have created a special place for people in the community to come and see and participate in live theatre! They pick interesting pieces, so while you are here, you will get to do different types of roles. My resume is very diverse because of my time at the Roxy! The housing is beautiful and only four blocks away from the theatre.
first half of my contract was very pleasant, second half was actual Hell.
- you do get payed on time (make sure you negotiate, because they will low ball you)
- housing is nice
-theatre is close to housing (Bring a car if you have the option... I wish I'd had one to get around)
-costumes are not always cleaned between productions
-costumes almost NEVER fit (I mean to an absurd degree)
-No microphones are used in the theatre, generally, so some actors had vocal problems
- they are not always invested in the safety or health of the actors
-Theatre is run by pleasant people, but they became very unprofessional.
- a simple question was asked about the contract, this issue was taken personal and created a huge divide that was never fixed
- prepare yourself for an insane work load
- If you can manage to keep your head low and just work, dont create personal relationships with creative team. I watched them turn on people so quickly and it was a giant game of trying to keep them happy and do your work at the same time..not worth it
Quite a few people tried to warn me before I took this. I should have listened. Everything stated below is a true! Just a weird experience.
-You get paid on time
-it's close to nashville
-little or poor direction
-little or poor music direction (we had to decide our own cut offs and dynamics as a cast for the show I did)
-ignore all problems on stage, with costumes/changes, with housing
-don't regularly wash costumes
-disrespectful to actors and audience members alike
-bad businessmen (contracts,offers,negotiation,roles)
-general unprofessionalism across the board in and out
-unsafe working conditions
-they try tell you where you can and can't eat (for real)
-the worst attitudes towards everything
If this sounds like your kind of place then by all means take the contract but if we were friends I'd do everything I could to talk you out of it. You will leave generally unfulfilled and disappointed. No credit is worth it!
Before shipping out to Clarksville, TN for this theatre I'd read a few not-so-great things about this theatre, I have to say many of the things have changed or are wrong.
Working with the directors--- Tom and John run the shows. Freelance choreographer comes in, kind of quirky choreo here and there but it works. They're all great people, fun to be around but they get business done too. Definitely people I don't mind working with.
Cast Housing--- So nice! Frickin jacuzzi in the master bathroom, really cool. Nice kitchen, 3 to a room but no worries, the rooms are big. A 4 bedroom 2 story house. 5 minute walk to the theatre. Best to have a car for groceries but a few people in the cast will probably have a car.
Pay--- 300-350 a week. Probably 300.
Casting--- They have a lot of loyalty. If you're good they'll probably ask you back for a few shows. Some people stay for about 11 shows or more, others come for one and leave.
The theatre itself is nice, only holds about 190 max but it's definitely worth it and fun. Lots of school shows. A positive experience.
A great theater if you are looking for a long term, hands-on experience and building up your credits. Lovely people, low-drama environment, and comfortable surroundings. The cast house is great, but be prepared to share a bedroom with between one and three other people.
It can be a good, but not a great experience if you've worked in an equity theater, ever. Certain safety regulations and protocol get overlooked. Expect to have to ask if you'd like costumes laundered, or to have to navigate pitch black wings full of set pieces with no glow tape and partially obstructed doorways. The building has seen better days, and the management seems to have a strict we're-not-going-to-fix-that-because-hopefully-in-a-couple-years-we-will-have-a-new-building attitude. The theater would absolutely fall apart without its unpaid high school intern staff. Meet & greet after every show, and expect the performance to be interrupted every show while someone on the staff asks for money and sends a bucket around the audience.
Lovely people, and they will reward your loyalty with loyalty (and jobs!) in return. The independent contractor status is a major point to consider when you budget whether you should live off $300 a week for months on end. Not covering your travel to get there is a huge deal, but may be worth it if you plan to stay for a long time. There is no company manager, and despite not being within walking distance to a place to purchase food and basic necessities (okay, there IS one sketchy dollar store nearby), the theater expects you to deal with that issue on your own.
A discounted membership to the local YMCA and getting a library card (both driving distance) can help make your free time both productive and within the budget.
The contract has a lot of bizarre clauses and reads more like a summer camp handbook than a legal document, but overall I found that most of its eccentricities ("please do not drink", "refill the coffee pot if you drink the last cup") were not only unenforced but totally irrelevant.
Enjoy the beautiful town, the kind people, get some great principal roles for your resume, and then don't look back. Or do, as many actors return in AEA Guest Artist contracts to job-in later in their career.
I am not sure where some of the shade on this theater has come from in the past. However, I love working at the Roxy! Great housing, organized leadership, professional work environment, talented actors. Not really sure what more anyone would want? Ok, the pay is mediocre but pretty standard for the non-eq circuit. I have worked shitty summer stock internships, performed at respected LORT theaters, and have completed contracts with some of the highly sought after non-equity companies. And yet the Roxy still remains my favorite gig. The leadership knows how to treat actors with respect. They don't waste your time, condescend, or stifle creativity. And they are approachable! Again, not sure what more you would want from a non-eq gig? They do great book musicals/plays and offer you fabulous roles for your resume. The town is fine. And, to correct an earlier post, the library is lovely and ABSOLUTELY WALKING DISTANCE. 15-20 minutes tops. Anyone from NYC wouldn't even blink an eye at the distance. I didn't have a car and had no problems in that regard. The grocery store is pretty much walking distance as well. Although not exactly comfortable walking back to the house if you have four bags of groceries...many cast mates had cars. Someone was going to the grocery store on an almost daily basis via car so you can always hitch a ride. Once again, to correct an earlier post, the theater's management always avails themselves for rides if someone is in a bind to get somewhere. I highly doubt you ever will be.
Also, there is a reference below to the Roxy's housing consisting of "two houses." This is no longer the case. They rent one large, comfortable, air conditioned house literally a three minute walk from the theater. The house also has great wifi and cable television. Most actors are housed in this facility. But overflow might go into a home stay which would include all of the same amenities. Very few complaints during my contract about the housing.
It has been a couple years since I was there, so take everything here with that in mind. I very much enjoyed working at the Roxy, but... The housing was bad for me, but other actors had much better apartments than I (although still very crowded). Pay was $300 / wk, which could be cashed immediately at the bank across the st from the theatre. The town has a military base, so the downtown bar scene is very "No day but today". I found absolutely no time to get away from the theatre during this gig. Managers were absolute Saints while working with me during a family emergency (I did not go out of the show). Dressing rooms were shitty. Very small stage, but a great supportive community. Rehearsal process was fast and furious. We were blocking final scenes right before opening (Not DISorganized... just WAY fast). Sometimes the director had too much to say (don't let it all get too Personal). If its a role you need on your resume, this is a decent theatre to perform at. However it does have a reputation of being on the low tier of the regional non-eq theatres that cast out of ny. Its basically a Ma and Pa operation(except its actually Pa and Pa) that actually makes money. I was asked to do a LOT of extra projects for free- so decide beforehand where your boundaries lie and then stick to them.
They have new housing now, which is really nice. They do put some people with local families though, which could be great or terrible depending. I found my experience to be the opposite of the above, in that we got no direction whatsoever. The tech is not so good and you'll get next to zero music direction, but the theater and the town are adorable. Go if you really want the role on your resume.
I worked at the Roxy last year and I did 4 shows there (although thankfully some were concurrent). I quickly realized that the two guys who run the theatre, Tom and John are crazy. John is a crazy old man who is also an alcoholic and possibly a racist. Tom usually comes off better, but he's really the one running the show and he's shady. That being said, I was there to do a show I've wanted on my resume forever and I just limited my interaction with them.
I'd say limit your interaction with all management. Tom and John are aggravating. The Stage Manager/Company Manager (since when is that a combined position?) is indifferent at best. A younger guy Ryan, who is an actor/fundraiser for the theatre likes to pretend that he's better than the other actors at the Roxy and he can be quite obnoxious. When I was there he barely spoke to some of the actors. This is pretty comical since he's decided at the age of 25 to give up his life in NY and do crappy non-eq theatre in Tennessee.
The quality of shows are inconsistent. Tom directs all the musicals and I'm using the term "directs" loosely. John directs the plays and he'll treat you like you are 12 because he also directs their theatre program for kids and I think he forgets he's dealing with professional actors. They will try to offer you their entire season because they are lazy and don't want to find actors. Don't do it! Everyone I know that has done more than one show at the Roxy has regretted it. There is no internet in either cast house and one of the cast houses didn't even have cable. The other cast house only had cable because they were stealing it. WTF?!
I'd only work at the Roxy if it's a show you really want to do. Otherwise it's not really worth it. You could be in NY and book far better jobs. But if you are new to the business and trying to get some credits it's not awful. If you have worked at equity houses and expect a truly professional experience, every thing about the theatre will annoy you. I personally would never work there again, but there are a lot of non-eq theatres that I would never work for. Some places are just way too unprofessional.
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