If all the world’s a stage, Bob Cothran sure sets it

UT's Carol Mayo Jenkins, best known for her role in the TV series Fame, presents Bob Cothran with his Artistic Achievement Award.

UT’s Carol Mayo Jenkins, best known for her role in the TV series “Fame,” presents Bob Cothran with his Artistic Achievement Award.

The evening of the 2014 Tony Awards earlier this month, dubbed “Broadway’s Biggest Night,” also was a pretty big night for theater lovers here in Knoxville.

The Clarence Brown Theatre held its annual gala that evening, complete with a red carpet and big screen TVs so we all could watch that fantastic opening number by the Tony Awards’ handsome host, Hugh Jackman. It was an awesome evening at The Standard in downtown Knoxville with massive amounts of victuals provided by Northshore Brasserie and libations by Bob’s Liquor and Wine.

The special honoree of the evening was Bob Cothran, the veteran set designer who spent 26 years in the University of Tennessee’s Department of Theatre teaching a generation of scenic designers and himself creating numerous stunning sets for Clarence Brown Theatre productions. Not only that, while he was in Knoxville, Cothran also created sets for the Knoxville Nativity Pageant and for the Knoxville Opera Company’s Rossini Festival. He also was the recipient of the Tennessee State Artist of the Year award. On the side, Cothran spent his free time designing and building a one-of-a-kind dream house.

In addition to set design, Cothran is a painter, commercial graphic designer, interior designer and print maker.

“You can’t believe that you can have such a delightful life,” an emotional Cothran said when accepting his award. “Theater is sand painting. I can’t believe people remember.”

The Clarence Brown Theatre is unique in that it is both a professional theater company serving the Knoxville and UT communities, but it also is a learning lab for students and graduate students in its acclaimed Department of Theatre. Proceeds from the gala benefited the Clarence Brown Theatre Artists Fund Endowment, which is used to bring professional guest artists to the stages of the Clarence Brown Theatre. While these artists are in town for their performances, they share their knowledge with UT’s undergraduate and graduate students. It’s a unique and awesome arrangement.

Everyone got the paparazzi treatment when they arrived. Here are guests Spencer and Teresa Gross on the red carpet. (Photo by Jack Williams.)

Everyone got the paparazzi treatment when they arrived. Here are guests Spencer and Teresa Gross on the red carpet. (Photo by Jack Williams.)

The cocktail hour was packed. And you wouldn't have believe the noise level. I'm telling you, these folks are extroverts!

The cocktail hour was packed. And you wouldn’t have believed the noise level. I’m telling you, these folks are extroverts!

The Northshore Brasserie's take on chips and dips. Very elegant.

The Northshore Brasserie’s take on chips and dips. Very elegant.

Georgiana Vines, chairman of the Clarence Brown Theatre Advisory Board and David Byrd, Clarence Brown's managing director.

Georgiana Vines, chair of the Clarence Brown Theatre Advisory Board, and David Byrd, Clarence Brown’s managing director.

Milton Turner chats with Robin Turner (no relation).

Milton Turner chats with Robin Turner (no relation).

Susan Bolt, left, and Julie Howard

Susan Bolt, left, and Julie Howard

Pimento cheese bite.

Pimento cheese bite

From left, Susan Farris, David Butler, Rosemary Gilliam and Theresa Stone.

From left, Susan Farris, David Butler, Rosemary Gilliam and Theresa Stone.

Brooks Clark, left, chair-elect of the board, and John North of the News Sentinel.

Brooks Clark, left, chair-elect of the board, and John North of the News Sentinel

Tiny little hoe cakes with beef tenderloin.

Tiny little hoecakes with beef tenderloin

is both a professional theater company serving the community and the university and a learning laboratory for students and graduate students in the University of Tennessee’s acclaimed Department of Theatre. – See more at: http://bluestreak.moxleycarmichael.com/2014/03/17/curtains-up-clarence-brown-theatre-director-announces-wildly-diverse-2014-15-season/#sthash.GMmfLXKs.dpuf
is both a professional theater company serving the community and the university and a learning laboratory for students and graduate students in the University of Tennessee’s acclaimed Department of Theatre. – See more at: http://bluestreak.moxleycarmichael.com/2014/03/17/curtains-up-clarence-brown-theatre-director-announces-wildly-diverse-2014-15-season/#sthash.GMmfLXKs.dpuf

 

Liz Stowers and Alexander Waters. Liz is immediate past chair of the board.

Liz Stowers and Alexander Waters. Liz is immediate past chair of the board.

From left, Terry and Regina Turner greet Margie Nichols and Robin Wilhoit. Robin, of WBIR-TV, was the emcee of the evening.

From left, Terry and Regina Turner greet Margie Nichols and Robin Wilhoit. Robin, of WBIR-TV, was the emcee of the evening.

Soon we were ushered into the dining area.

Soon we were ushered into the dining area. The evening was a sellout.

Everyone thought the tomato and watermelon salad was a knockout.

Everyone thought the tomato and watermelon salad was a knockout.

From left, Carol Pelliccia, Deb and UT President Joe DiPietro, and Joe Pelliccia.

From left, Carol Pelliccia, Deb and UT President Joe DiPietro, and Joe Pelliccia.

Alice and Dean Michael Wirth of the UT College of Communications and Information

Alice and Dean Michael Wirth of the UT College of Communications and Information

UT-Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek and his wife, Ilene.

UT-Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek and his wife, Ilene

Two of our table mates were the auctioneer, Blake Wilson of Furrow Auction, and his wife, Jamie. Blake was filling in for Sam Furrow. (Don't you think he has a bit of the Hugh Jackman look? When Hugh was beardless, of course.)

Two of our tablemates were the auctioneer, Blake Wilson of Furrow Auction, and his wife, Jamie. Blake was filling in for Sam Furrow. (Don’t you think he has a bit of the Hugh Jackman look? When Hugh was beardless, of course.)

When it was time for Hugh's big opening number, we had plenty of screens for viewing.

When it was time for Hugh’s big opening number, we had plenty of screens for viewing.

And one really giant one.

And one really giant one

Have you ever seen a bigger serving at a formal dinner? It was veal, but some folks thought it was brontosaurus.

Have you ever seen a bigger serving at a formal dinner? It was veal, but some folks thought it was Brontosaurus.

The chicken serving was not skimpy, either.

The chicken serving was not skimpy, either.

I guess the food put Marga and Jay McBride in a romantic mood!

I guess the food put Marga and Jay McBride in a romantic mood!

Konomi and Tom Wolf.

Konomi and Tom Wolf

Melissa and Doug White of Lexus, Toyota and Scion of Knoxville, the evening's presenting sponsor.

Melissa and Doug White of Lexus, Toyota and Scion of Knoxville, the evening’s presenting sponsor

Doug with his friends Albert and Carmen Harb.

Doug with his friends Albert and Carmen Harb

Cal and Rebecca MacLean with Carol Mayo Jenkins, at right. Cal is artistic director of the Clarence Brown Theatre and Head of the Department of Theatre.

Cal and Rebecca MacLean with Carol Mayo Jenkins, at right. Cal is artistic director of the Clarence Brown Theatre and Head of the Department of Theatre.

Milton and Mimi Turner. Mimi was chair of the Gala Committee. Good job, Mimi!

Milton and Mimi Turner. Mimi was chair of the Gala Committee. Good job, Mimi!

Wes Stowers and Fay Bailey.

Wes Stowers and Fay Bailey

Maggie Erickson and Ruth Fielden.

Maggie Erickson and Ruth Fielden

State Sen. Randy McNally and his wife, Jan.

State Sen. Randy McNally and his wife, Jan

UT Provost Susan Martin and her husband, Paul Barrette. Larry Brakebill is in the back left.

UT Provost Susan Martin and her husband, Paul Barrette. Larry Brakebill is in the back left.

Stephanie and Steve Hess.

Stephanie and Steve Hess

With everyone sufficiently stuffed, it was time for Blake to do his job.

With everyone sufficiently stuffed, it was time for Blake to do his job.

Dessert was something deeply chocolate.

Dessert was something deeply chocolate

My husband, Alan Carmichael, here with our friend Jackie Wilson, left a happy man.

My husband, Alan Carmichael, here with our friend Jackie Wilson, left a happy man.

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12 Responses to If all the world’s a stage, Bob Cothran sure sets it

  1. Alan Carmichael, on June 24th, 2014 at 12:11 pm said:

    It was a festive evening, but what else would you expect from theatre folk? What a nice honor for Bob, well deserved. The food was delicious.

  2. Carol Mayo Jenkins, on June 24th, 2014 at 1:41 pm said:

    Thank you, Cynthia, for this wonderful coverage of our gala.
    The Blue Streak is a terrific addition to living, breathing partying Knoxville!

  3. Cynthia Moxley, on June 24th, 2014 at 1:47 pm said:

    Carol: I think YOU are a great addition to living, breathing partying Knoxville! Thanks for bringing your talent and enthusiasm here!

  4. Gay Lyons, on June 24th, 2014 at 2:26 pm said:

    This was a great party. Everyone seemed excited to be there, which may have contributed to the noise level during the cocktail hour. I’d forgotten just how noisy it was ’til you mentioned it. PS: I needed Fred Flinstone’s help with that brontosaurus.

  5. Cynthia Moxley, on June 24th, 2014 at 2:29 pm said:

    Gay, coming from you, the Knoxville party queen, that is high praise! I’m wondering if The Standard is too small for next year’s event since this one was sold out. What do you think?

  6. Georgiana Vines, on June 24th, 2014 at 2:38 pm said:

    Thank you, Cynthia, for highlighting the CBT Gala for its artists fund on (or is it in) Blue Streak.

  7. Cynthia Moxley, on June 24th, 2014 at 2:52 pm said:

    Georgiana: I loved your dress! It was an awesome party.

  8. Gay Lyons, on June 24th, 2014 at 4:31 pm said:

    They might be able to squeeze a few more tables in there–maybe at the front?–but it was pretty tight & seemed at maximum capacity to me. Ultimately as an organization, you have to decide whether you want to keep increasing the headcount & growing the event or whether it’s better to determine an optimal number and create the best possible experience for them. Tough call.

  9. Stan Trew, on June 24th, 2014 at 4:33 pm said:

    Great fun…awesome food but WAAAAAY too much…must do it again…thanks again to JWS!

  10. Cynthia Moxley, on June 24th, 2014 at 4:40 pm said:

    Good points, Gay. Thanks for your comment, Stan.

  11. Mimi Turner, on July 8th, 2014 at 9:01 am said:

    Cynthia – Bravo! And, again thanks for suggesting that CBT segue from “Hollywood’s Greatest Evening” to “Broadway’s Biggest Night”! I think it was a perfect fit. Loved sitting with you and Alan! Kudos on your spot on reportage. Thanks to Gay for great suggestions for the future of this new event! I really loved chairing this one and appreciate the support and guidance of a great cast and crew! While putting it all together, I called it “reality theatre” and Managing Director David Byrd referred to it as CBT’s 9th production of the season.

    P.S. Many thanks for the “big tide stick”!

  12. Cynthia Moxley, on July 9th, 2014 at 6:09 am said:

    Mimi: It was fun all the way around! You and your team really pulled it off. Can’t wait until next year.

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