For Immediate Release
Contact John Adams
The Jena Company of New York has announced dates for the first leg of the national tour of its latest offering, Rejoice Dear Hearts: An Evening with Brother Dave Gardner. The show, which chronicles the life of the late Southern comedian, will open at The Ned McWherter Center in Jackson, TN on Friday, March 31.
After a second performance at “The Ned” on April 1, the show will be performed at The Paramount Theater, Burlington, NC (April 7 and 8), The Bradley Theatre, Columbus, GA (April 18,) CoMMA, Morganton, NC (April 20,) The American Theatre, Hampton, VA (April 22,) and The Schwartz Theatre, Dover, DL (April 23.)
“We’re particularly proud to be opening in Jackson,” says Jena Company Managing Director John Adams. “Jackson is Brother Dave’s hometown, so it’s the perfect venue to begin what should be a long-running hit show.”
“We’re keeping the flights of the show short on purpose,” Adams added, “since Dave Wright wants to keep his day job.” Wright, who is the author and sole on-stage performer in the show, is Managing Director of The Paramount Theater of Burlington and Artistic Director of The Paramount Acting Company. Adams says the production has a “shelf life” of three to five years, so breaking the tour up into two to three week flights works well for the Jena Company and for Wright.
The play, which premiered in August, 2004, drew patrons from nine states to the Burlington theater. It combines Gardner’s classic comedy routines from four of his million selling albums along with the comedian’s “rags to riches to rags to recovery” story. The entire production was authorized and approved by Gardner’s family and estate.
Gardner rose from obscurity in a Southern bar band to become one of the founders of the comedy album movement of the 1950s and early 1960s. He made over 50 appearances on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar. In addition, his live performances, particularly in the South, were legendary.