Friday, March 27, 2009

Rejoice Dear Hearts!

If you think of Lewis Grizzard as the original Southern comic, then you have never heard of Brother Dave Gardner. Brother Dave was a native of Columbia, Tennessee, later calling Jackson home. His career was tragically cut short by a heart attack at the age of 57, but if you missed him the first time around, you can catch his current incarnation at Sheffield's Ritz Theatre on March 31.

Originally studying to be a Baptist preacher, Dave Gardner first entered show business as a drummer and aspiring singer. After some modest success as a vocalist, he was asked to perform on the Tonight Show where he peppered his routine with jokes about the Southern way of life.

Gardner's star shot to the top, but only briefly. After suffering serious injury in a plane crash, Gardner lost most of his fortune to the IRS. The death of his wife Millie brought him to the edge, but a chance meeting with an old friend turned his life around. Not only did the old friend help resurrect his career, she became his second wife. With Judy's help, Dave was soaring to a comeback when he suffered sudden cardiac arrest while on tour.

Playwright David Wright was so taken with the story of Gardner's life that he developed and performs in the one-man tribute to the late comedian. Wright will bring his play to the Ritz for one night only at 7:30, March 31st. Tickets are $10.00 in advance or $12.00 at the door.

Not only will you be supporting the Ritz, you'll have a chance to step back into the 1950s. Brylcreem and pony tails are optional.

What's up with this: Don't forget the special Ritz yard sale on April 4th. Located in the Foodland Shopping Center, the semi-annual sale makes productions like Rejoice Dear Hearts possible.