A Few Minutes with the Mayor – April 2017

In my years as Mayor, the two questions I get most often are, “Will we have a museum again?” and “What are the chances of having a live theater in town?” In case you didn’t know, Jacksonville once had a permanent melodrama theater in the old Pioneer Village location before it was torn down. Today, I am pleased to announce that the theater question is resolved—The Randall Theatre, located in downtown Medford, is expanding to Jacksonville where it will operate under a joint-use agreement with the Calvary Church on 5th Street. Its seating capacity will be more than double its location in Medford.

This announcement was two years in the making and was possible thanks to the hard work of two people—Brian Steller of the Calvary Church and Robin Downward of the Randall Theatre.

For those who have never visited the Randall, let me say that it is unquestionably the finest venue of its type in the Valley. Over the past six years, Robin has developed a body of local talent capable of performing in any type of show, from musicals to drama and everything in-between. Years ago, Ginger Rogers told local aspiring actors to work hard and learn their craft right here in the Valley before moving on to attempt Broadway or Hollywood. She spoke from personal experience, having spent several years in vaudeville before crashing Broadway. With Robin’s guidance in developing local actors’ skills, several are ready to make that move.

Randall productions scheduled for Jacksonville this year are On the Town, California Suite, Young Frankenstein, and Dial M for Murder…an imposing lineup. The first production, On the Town, opens May 5th, all music, high energy, fun.

Compared to most other theaters, the Randall is offering these shows at a very reasonable cost, thereby giving more of our citizens the opportunity to attend. The Randall even has a policy of “Pay What You Want” at the door for seats remaining unsold 30 minutes before show time.

But wait…There’s more!

To raise funds to cover the expansion to Jacksonville, a Fashion Show of Ginger Rogers’ gowns is planned. (A previous fashion show celebrating her 100th anniversary was a smashing success, garnering a substantial donation for the Southern Oregon Historical Society.)

Offered for sale at the silent auction will be 38 pairs of her shoes, 30 pairs of her gloves, and a dozen and half milk bottles from the Rogers’ Ranch in Shady Cove, milk bottles complete with caps! The highlight will be the “fashion runway” models wearing a number of gowns from her personal collection. In addition, other apparel will be offered with a live auction…a unique chance to own a personal item of Ginger Rogers!

Snacks and beverages will be included with the $30 price of admission. So, save the date—Saturday, April 22, 2:00-4:00pm at the Calvary Church on 5th Street… across from Pony Espresso. Doors open at 1:30pm. Reservations are being taken now at 541-632-3258. And although seats for the plays will be reserved, seats for the fundraiser will not be.

Laurence Olivier once said, “I believe that in a great city, or even in a small city or a village, a great theater is the outward and visible sign of an inward and probable culture.” Jacksonville will now be home to a great theater.