Roses and raspberries, Oct. 9

October 8, 2013 

Roses to Richard C. Wall and all those behind “Broadway Sings for Equality NC,” a benefit for the state’s leading LGBT rights organization, at the United Church of Chapel Hill last weekend.

The audience for Saturday afternoon’s show, the second of two performances, was small. But those in the bright chapel with floor-to-ceiling windows saw performances they will surely remember for years to come.

There was a time when the music of Broadway was the popular music of its day. Ed Sullivan brought the stars of New York’s theater district into the nation’s homes, and original cast recordings were bestsellers.

And if those songs sometimes seemed larger than life, they spoke to universal longings, even when society forbid open expressions of love that crossed boundaries of race, ethnicity or gender.

Today, the best of Broadway still breaks barriers, and the best of the old retain a timeless relevance. So it was no surprise, really, when last weekend’s performers sometimes teared up with the audience. After Evelyn McCauley, Greg Travios and Ryan Widd sang a blistering “You Don’t Know/I Am the One,” about a family’s struggle with the wife and mother’s bipolar disorder, director Wall took a breath for all in the hushed room and said simply, “Powerful stuff.”

To close the show, Shelly McVicker, whose version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Some Enchanted Evening,” had captivated earlier, returned for a duet with Jeri Lynn Schulke.

McVicker started to sing and then suddenly stopped. Had she forgotten a lyric? She didn’t say.

Wall looked up from the keyboard.

“I have to say, being the age I am, there was a time you could get killed for doing this,” he said, as the two women on stage held hands, tears now welling in Schulke’s eyes.

“That’s why buildings like this and causes like this are so important,” Wall continued, “because no one should be denied happiness.”

Bravo to the cast and crew of ‘Broadway Sings.”

Roses to the inaugural class of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame.

The businesses of a community like ours, primarily small business, often family owned, help shape the character of a community as much as zoning, form-based codes and political campaigns. They provide jobs, athletic uniforms, yearbook advertising.

The chamber wanted to recognize individuals with a record of achievement, inspiring leadership and lasting impact on the community, a high bar for those who seek to become entrepreneurs.

The first 12 honorees, as published in Sunday’s paper, are Stein, Bill and Jesse Basnight Sr. of Basnight & Sons; Michael Barefoot of Southern Season, Mildred Council of Mama Dip’s; Orville Campbell of The Chapel Hill News; restaurant Ted and Edward Danziger; Mickey Ewell of the Chapel Hill Restaurant Group, R.B. and Jenny Fitch of Fitch Creations; Mac Fitch, of Fitch Lumber and Hardware; Jim Heavner of WCHL; George Watts Hill Sr. of Central Carolina Bank; Frank Kenan of Kenan Oil and Kenan Transport; and Mel Rashkis of Mel Rashkis & Associates.

The chamber will hold a Hall of Fame gala Nov 13 at the Carolina Inn. For more information contact Laura Morrison at 919-357-9989 or lmorrison@carolina chamber.org.

Roses from a reader named Louisa to Joe, Allen, and an NS bus driver from Chapel Hill Transit for helping get her phone back to her after she left it on the bus.

“Both Joe and Allen went above and beyond the call of duty to return the phone, Louisa writes. “I am so grateful for how kind and helpful they were in my moment of panic.”

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