Give to the Rep 

A confession: I plunked down $5 last week when the Megamillions lottery exceeded $300 million.

Turns out I was following a well-established national pattern. The research shows higher income families don't spend much on the lottery, but will play when the megajackpots pop up. Playing the scratchoffs for the occasional $20 thrill just doesn't hold much appeal for me. But $300 million? I easily got $10 worth of daydreaming out of my sucker investment.

My daydreaming always starts with the idea – so easy in abstract – that I'd tithe from my winnings, contributing 10 percent off the top to favorite charities. My church, KUAR, the Arkansas ACLU and a new nonprofit aimed at using the courts to challenge unconstitutional Arkansas laws are all on my list of beneficiaries.

But at the top, consistently, is the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. It's an instinctive feeling. Nothing else in the community gives me so much enjoyment at the same time that it enriches the broader community. It's not just the "Lion Kings" and other popular stuff that pleases me. In fact, the recent "A Christmas Story," maybe the Rep's best-sellers, didn't do much for me.

But I've cried, laughed and hummed along to the likes of "Angels in America," "Greater Tuna" and "Les Miserables" and many more. I've also been entertained by original works, student projects, small-stage productions and some real think pieces. A multi-media depiction of life in the coal mines, August Wilson's "Fences" and a retelling of the Little Rock desegregation story stand out in my memory. I never thought I liked dance much until I saw some of the stomping-good numbers worked up for the Rep's Broadway-quality musicals. "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," anyone?

We have a treasure in the Rep and its director, Robert Hupp. If I'd won the Megamillions, I'd have given them a million bucks this year. They'll have to make do with my usual modest pledge, but I've tried to add a little bit because time is running out on a critical fund-raising challenge.

The Rep can receive $600,000 from the Kresge Foundation if local contributors match that amount. The theater needs $200,000 more by Jan. 31 to finish the job. This doesn't sound like much, but remember that supporters have already given more than $5.2 million since 2007 for a phased renovation that will be completed with lobby work, an improved main theater and new seats all around.

This hasn't been an extravagant campaign to provide fancy bells and whistles and plush skyboxes. It's nuts and bolts stuff. A leaky roof was replaced, as well as inefficient heat and air systems. Exterior walls were repaired, along with dressing room ceilings. A new subfloor was built for the improved shop area, where the Rep's great stage sets are crafted.

There's a new freight elevator that now connects with dressing rooms. The passenger elevator was improved and so was the fire alarm system. Other work includes renovation of an apartment building nearby to house actors.

The building was last renovated in 1989, when it was converted from a department store. It's worn. A big plan for a major foundation grant for a new theater fell through, but the Rep hasn't missed a curtain, delighting and challenging thousands. In a city that sometimes struggles to provide big-city amenities, the Rep is a center of excellence, a place to show off to visitors.

Another $200,000? I think the community can do it. And should. It's a bargain.



Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Thursday's open line and the daily video

    Here's the open line and the daily video.
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • UPDATE: Ted Suhl gets seven years, $200,000 fine for bribery

    Ted Suhl was sentenced this morning by federal Judge Billy Roy Wilson on four counts of attempting to bribe a state official to help his mental health business supported by Medicaid money. He received 84 months and a $200,000 fine and is to report to prison in early January. He will appeal.
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • Question raised on Dallas Cowboy gift to NLR cops

    Blogger Russ Racop raises an interesting question, as he sometimes does, about Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' gift of free tickets for North Little Rock cops to attend a Dallas Cowboy football game.
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • The education legislature

    Republican political control in Arkansas means many things: lots of gun bills, lots of anti-abortion bills, lots of efforts to make religious belief law, such as discrimination against gay people.
    • Mar 10, 2015
  • Supremely discredited

    Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood and her allies continue to discredit the state's highest court.
    • Jul 30, 2015
  • Hutchinson pulls Faubus move

    I don't know what if anything might arise or be planned in the future relative to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's order to end Medicaid reimbursement for medical services (not abortion) provided by Planned Parenthood in Arkansas.
    • Aug 20, 2015

Most Shared

  • Issue 3: blank check

    Who could object to a constitutional amendment "concerning job creation, job expansion and economic development," which is the condensed title for Issue 3 for Arkansas voters on Nov. 8?
  • Little Rock police kill man downtown

    Little Rock police responding to a disturbance call near Eighth and Sherman Streets about 12:40 a.m. killed a man with a long gun, Police Chief Kenton Buckner said in an early morning meeting with reporters.
  • From the mind of Sol LeWitt: Crystal Bridges 'Loopy Doopy': A correction

    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is installing Sol Lewitt's 70-foot eye-crosser "Wall Drawing 880: Loopy Doopy," waves of complementary orange and green, on the outside of the Twentieth Century Gallery bridge. You can glimpse painters working on it from Eleven, the museum's restaurant, museum spokeswoman Beth Bobbitt said
  • Ted Suhl loses another bid for new trial; faces stiff sentencing recommendation

    Ted Suhl, the former operator of residential and out-patient mental health services, has lost a second bid to get a new trial on his conviction for paying bribes to influence state Human Services Department policies. Set for sentencing Thursday, Suhl faces a government request for a sentence up to almost 20 years. He argues for no more than 33 months.
  • Football and foster kids

    It took a football stadium to lay bare Republican budget hypocrisy in Arkansas.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Football and foster kids

    It took a football stadium to lay bare Republican budget hypocrisy in Arkansas.
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • Trumped in Arkansas

    After two solid debates and the release of a video and corroborating testimony that further confirmed the misogyny of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton is favored to win the presidential election Nov. 8
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • So many provocations...

    Another bad week demands a Worst Of listing.
    • Oct 6, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Jodi Morris's lifelong ties to the National Park Service

Jodi Morris's lifelong ties to the National Park Service

"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Issue 3: blank check

    Who could object to a constitutional amendment "concerning job creation, job expansion and economic development," which is the condensed title for Issue 3 for Arkansas voters on Nov. 8?
  • The politics of opportunity

    Are you sick of the election yet? One thing that seems certain is that our politics remain as hyperpartisan and dysfunctional as ever. I may be naive, but I think Arkansas has an opportunity to help lead the country back toward pragmatic progress on the issues that will make our families and communities stronger.
  • The end is near

    Practically speaking, it doesn't really matter if Donald Trump accepts the results of the November election.
  • Football and foster kids

    It took a football stadium to lay bare Republican budget hypocrisy in Arkansas.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The politics of opportunity

    • Great article. I also believe we can do better, and long for the day when…

    • on October 27, 2016
  • Re: The big loser

    • Investigator, you are none of those things, but simply a serial ranter. At this you…

    • on October 26, 2016
  • Re: The big loser

    • If they really wanted to knockout the Clinton's, they would have done so with guilty…

    • on October 26, 2016

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation