Several years ago when our client Pilot Flying J got into the racing business by sponsoring a professional NASCAR driver, company CEO Jimmy Haslam told me, “Money equals speed, Mox.” What he meant was that the more money you put into a racing team, the more successful the team will be.
So, this week I learned a similar lesson. Money equals talent. Another client of ours, Knoxville lottery winner Roy Cockrum, poured a ton of money into underwriting the current joint Knoxville Symphony and Clarence Brown Theatre production of Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide” and the result is over-the-top amazing. What that generous infusion of cash did was allow Clarence Brown’s artistic director, Cal MacLean, to audition singers in New York and Chicago and bring them to the Knoxville stage. The result is spectacular.
Those voices, combined with a lively and creative on-stage performance by the Knoxville Symphony and its energetic music director, Aram Demirjian, caused the production to soar. A lengthy piece (first half is 75 minutes and the second half is an hour), it seemed to fly by. The set, lighting, costumes and sound virtually transported the audience around the globe as Candide, the eternal optimist, experienced wars, disasters, slavery and all other manner of depravity. (Don’t even get me started on the sheep!)
Cockrum was delighted with the results of his largesse when I caught up with him after the show Friday night. “I went to see a production of ‘Candide’ by the Washington National Opera in May at the Kennedy Center in preparation for this,” he beamed. “This was better.”
The show, based on a 1759 satire by philosopher Voltaire, opened last Friday and continues through Sept. 16. Don’t miss this chance to see New York-quality performers right here in K-town.
Then, off to the show. We were not allowed to take pictures during the show, but the set sure was fantastic.
The show has gotten rave reviews.
Here’s what Amy McRary of the News Sentinel had to say: https://www.knoxnews.com/story/entertainment/2018/08/30/candide-leonard-bernstein-clarence-brown-theatre-university-tennessee-knoxville-symphony-play/1142243002/