President’s Blog September 2019

President Matt Grimes in the darkened Pull-Tight Theatre during rehearsal for THE MIRACLE WORKER


In my sixth grade Sunday school class, we were asked to memorize a Bible verse to recite for Confirmation Weekend. I chose Ecclesiastes… no, let’s be real. I chose “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by The Byrds. It was the closest thing I had to a known Biblical selection off the top of my head, and so I went with that passage.  The whole passage.  To say my mom was mortified when I skipped entire sections would be an understatement. Perhaps it was a fool’s errand, but it was one that has stuck with me to this day.

That passage has more meaning today than it did back then. As it goes, there is a time to be born and a time to die, and it is unfortunate that we should have to lose a Pull-Tight family member so young. Raymond “Ray” Cruz passed away in late August after a valiant battle with Ewing-like sarcoma cancer. His fight was not without grace or beauty, though. In his waning time here with us, Ray strived to be the best example of humanity, of us all. His outreach was vast – you couldn’t go anywhere in the city of Franklin without finding someone touched by Ray’s spirit, be it a classmate from Centennial High or a fellow Pull-Tight player. He truly was a Ray of Light.
We at Pull-Tight hope to embody that same enthusiasm for life and for art in all that we do, and it should come as no surprise that our Youth Guild members – JYAG and Teen YAG – have done much within these past months to make everyone proud. The Junior Youth Actors Guild welcomed Melanie McBurney as a new advisor and reconvened after a summer break with a costumes and wigs workshop in August and a Shakespeare/Dr. Seuss fusion entitled “The Capulet in the Hat” written by Mark Price in September. Their next meeting is Saturday, October 12th, from 10:30 AM until noon – a Halloween party! All children are invited and encouraged to come in costume.
The Teen Youth Actors Guild also welcomed a new member with the addition of Carmela Hofstee as co-advisor. We want to thank Jeremy Hargis for all his years of service! Jeremy has taken a well-earned break this year. Leslie Berra continues to serve as co-advisor. Their season started off with a bang in September with an Improv workshop led by the fabulous Abigail Nichol and Lily Thomas. The next class is on Saturday, October 5th from 10:30 AM until noon. The topic will be basic dance movement for the stage/musical theatre.

Thanks to Jeanne Drone, director extraordinaire, and her wonderful cast and crew for a fantastic production of The Miracle Worker! Everything about the production was transformative, and many patrons left with a bit of water streaming down their cheeks. Of course, that could have been from the Splash Zone (courtesy of the working pump!), but I am more than certain the lack of dry eyes was a testament to the hard work and effort of all involved.

Megan Roberts and Esther Jane Pope in THE MIRACLE WORKER

In closing, I highly encourage you to purchase tickets as soon as possible for our next production, Moonlight and Magnolias. Sarah Kieffner makes her Pull-Tight directorial debut with this hysterical show that depicts the tumultuous writing of the script for Gone With the Wind, and I guarantee a hefty dose of laughter sprinkled with a dollop of ole-fashioned drama. This small but intimate show – starring Dan Kassis, JT Landry, Tom Gregg, and Melanie McBurney – is bound to be a crowdpleaser. And just as a heads-up – you may never look at peanuts and bananas the same way again! (If that doesn’t pique your curiosity, I don’t know what will…)

To everything there is a season, and we hope to be one small part of your fall season. Thanks for your support of Pull-Tight Theatre.


Matt Grimes
President, Pull-Tight Board of Directors