July 26, 2007:
Since 1966, Chicago native Max Cooper has operated McDonald's franchises in the Birmingham area, 42 stores as last count. To say he's a very successful businessman is an understatement. But that bit of information doesn't begin to scratch the surface in describing his eclectic and extraordinary life. He was the first Marketing VP for McDonald's who's credited with "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun." But what you might not know, is this year, Max Cooper the Broadway Producer, won his fourth Tony Award for the runaway hit musical Spring Awakening. Set a small German town in the 1890, the musical tells the tale of young people with the usual raging hormones coming of age in a very repressive time. Since 1990, Max Cooper's passion has been producing Broadway shows including hits like The Odd Couple, Long Day's Journey Into Night, and The Crucible. I visited Mr. Cooper in his office and asked him how he got started on this road to show business.
When I asked Cooper to recall his fondest memory as a Broadway producer, he told me this story.
The play Harvey won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and continues to be an audience favorite today. It's the story of a likeable man and his imaginary friend "Harvey" - a 6-foot, three-and-a-half-inch-tall rabbit. Through the year, there have been many interpretations. In 1958, Art Carney of the Honeymooners played the lead character in a television special. Forty years later, Harry Anderson of the TV series Night Court reprised the character in made-for-TV movie that also featured Swoosie Kurtz and Leslie Nielsen. This weekend and next, Birmingham's Theatre Downtown takes a crack at it. WBHM's Tanya Ott spoke with actors Richard Scott and Dianne Daniels.
Harvey was a late-season replacement for Theatre Downtown. Director Billy Ray Brewton tells Tanya Ott they wanted to add a show that was family friendly. Harveyruns through August 5th at Children's Dance Foundation in Homewood.
To hear the audio portion of the Community Calendar from Tapestry, click here.
Want to know more? Activeculture.info is a one-stop source for finding out what's going on in the Birmingham metro area.
There's a band from Cullman called Chalk. An unusual name, for sure, especially when you consider the full name of the band: "Creatures Harboring Ancient Limitless Knowledge". Not exactly what you'd expect from a heavy metal band, but that's okay with singer Derek Boyd and guitarist Dennis Calvert, who visited our studios. The song is "Oceanic Oversoul" from the CD with the same name. (AUDIO MONTAGE) Chalk plays the Baker's Music Hall in Cullman July 28th.
Tapestry is produced by Tanya Ott, Michael Krall and Hunter Bell, with help from Islara Vazquez, Steve Chiotakis and Robert Brooks. This week we say goodbye to WBHM's Rosemary Pennington, who's returning to the Midwest for graduate school. The great poet and transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." He was talking about the human need for exploration and the desire to make a mark. Rosemary has made a mark -- most importantly on her family, but also on those she's touched here in Alabama - her colleagues and friends at WBHM. Rosemary - we'll miss you! I'm Greg Bass, and we'll see you next week.