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Leila Case: Motown and R&B plus a Dawg win make us happy

Rylander Theatre director Heather Stanley and the Friends of the Rylander organization brought Americus and the surrounding area a taste of Broadway with an exciting evening of Motown and rhythm & blue the evening of Sept. 20.

“Cruising Steady: The Music of Aretha Franklin and Smokey Robinson,” the 2019-2020 season opening performance, starred Broadway’s Jesse Nager and Felicia Boswell, two terrifically talented vocalists who explored the friendship and music of the late Franklin and Robinson. During the performance, Nager told the audience about how he and Boswell actually spent time with the two musical icons and grew to know them well. Their back-up crew: pianist, drummer, guitarist, and bass, added more to the already fantastic musical.

It was truly an evening of fun and nostalgia and listening to some of the best music written. We had a great time.

A local star was singled out that evening. When Nager, crooning “My Girl,” surprised Jean Deriso of Americus to perform the number with him. Of course, she received an ovation. Kudos to Jean who has also been on stage at the Fox Theatre and, of course, performed at many of the Friends of the Library plays.

Following the two-hour performance, Nager and Boswell greeted their many fans at a stage door performance. Among them was Allene Reeves who complimented Boswell on her beautiful voice and asked about her musical ability. Boswell smiled and indicated that it is God-given.

A large crowd filled the auditorium. Among those I spotted were my and son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Anne Barrett; Mary Ferguson, Jane Merritt, Dee Hardin, Linda Bartlett, Dr. Schley and Karen Gatewood, Frank and Robin Lowery, Jim and Carlene Peace, Judy and Carl Tott, Kelly and Reda Rowell, Stick and Elise Miller, Randy and Nancy Jones, Nancy Harvey, Brooks Nettum, Cindy Pryor, Gail and Thurston Clary, Danny and Lisa Atkins, Dave and Kathleen Tucker, Bill and Ann Harris, Charles Crisp, Charles and Cami Chappell, Bill and Meda Krenson, Joe Daniel and Karen Holloway, and a large contingent from the Albany Red Hat Club. Of course, we all would have had trouble locating our reserved seats if it had not been for Carol Sears and the coterie of other knowledgeable volunteer ushers.

If you haven’t joined the Friends of the Rylander, there is still time. There is a sterling line up of musicals and plays to entertain every one of all ages this year.

Elsewhere the University of Georgia Bulldogs met the Irish of Notre Dame under the lights at Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium last Saturday. The Dawgs took the fight out of the Irish with a final score of 23-17. Exciting fourth quarter.

Among the Georgia fans from Americus cheering them on were John Carroll, who had just returned from exploring Ireland, along with his wife Beth Carroll, son Andrew Carroll, daughter Caroline Carroll and her fiancé Timothy Kennedy of Columbus. Accompanying John and Andrew to Ireland were John’s parents, the Rev. John and Ann Carroll of Macon, sister Cathy Carroll of Tucker, and brother Michael Carroll.

Others at the game were Hulme and Janet Kinnebrew with grandsons, Mac Kinnebrew, 15, of Columbus, and Kinne Kinnebrew, 10, of Americus; Morgan and Jimmy Whaley; Steve Pinnell and family; Dr. Lou and Candy Riccardi, long-time Georgia supporters, and his family who celebrated Lou’s birthday.

Sue Fitzgerald and David Bottomley are back in town after spending the summer in Vermont; Sally Markett and daughter, Beth Fowler, enjoyed a recent visit to Maine where they were guests of Bill and Anne Markett Lee at their summer home, and Malcolm and Phyllis Argo are back after spending the summer at Black Mountain, N.C.

Happy birthday wishes to my stepdaughter, Lori Shivers, who celebrated the big day on the way home from a beach trip with friends Ginger Perkins and Christy Lightner. Hope Henderson marked her birthday surrounded by family and friends at the Windsor Hotel’s Rosemary and Thyme. And Aaron Shivers celebrates his birthday on Monday.

Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus.