Benefits for Flowers Center set for Aug. 14 to 15

Published 6:13 pm Thursday, July 23, 2009

New life is being breathed into the Flowers Center for the Performing Arts in Ozark.

Just a few months ago, the theater seemed destined to be reduced to rubble, but the City of Ozark has acquired the building through a land swap with the Ozark City Board of Education.

The center will serve a multi-purpose use with a community theater being central to its purpose.

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Before the building can be opened to the public again, it needs cosmetic improvements and several serious upgrades, including a new roof and a heating and cooling system.

Fundraising efforts for the needed repairs will begin in earnest on Aug. 14 and 15 with a local production of the musical comedy, “Smoke on the Mountain,” at the Ozark Civic Center.

All proceeds from the production will benefit the Flowers Center for the Performing Arts.

“Smoke on the Moutain” will be directed by Margie Benson, who directed theater at Carroll High School for about 20 years.

“‘Smoke on the Mountain” is a great family show and all ages will find it entertaining,” Benson said.

“It’s the story of the Sanders family that travels from place to place holding revivals. The play is filled with gospel songs — songs that we all know and enjoy. It’s funny, and it’s uplifting.”

Because the Flowers Center is locked until the necessary repairs can be made, “Smoke on the Mountain” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 14 and 15 at the Ozark Civic Center. The cast will include former Carroll High School students who performed in musicals directed by Benson.

In addition to the popular play, “Smoke on the Mountain,” there will be pre-show performances by former theater and Choral Club students on Friday night and a reunion of about 100 former students of Ricky Shirley, music director for “Smoke.”

“No advance tickets will be sold,” Benson said. “Admission will be donations to the Flowers Center for the Performing Arts. We hope that those who support the arts in our community and the area will be generous in their donations. Tickets for a typical performance would be $15.”

Benson said many people from the surrounding area have attend productions in Ozark over the years.

“We offer productions that are of interest to a wide range of people,” she said.

Most recently, the production, “Always, Patsy Cline,” attracted people from several surrounding counties, Benson said.

The Flowers Center for the Performing Arts will be a valuable addition to the Ozark civic complex that includes sports fields, the recreation center and the civic center.

The Center will be used by the high school for theatrical productions and by the City of Ozark for community events.

“The Flowers Center seats 500, but it is more than a stage and seating ,” Benson said.

“It includes rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms and a costume room. It is a wonderful entertainment center for Ozark and the surrounding area.

“We invite everyone to come out and enjoy a fun-filled night of entertainment and support the arts in Ozark and the surrounding area.”