Tag Archives: Hippodrome State Theatre

Remembering the Hippodrome’s Rusty Salling

Rusty Salling
Rusty Salling as he conjured up a rendition of his infamous, “Bah Humbug” line from “A Christmas Carol” during an interview with Donna Green-Townsend

The halls of the Hippodrome State Theatre in Gainesville feel a little darker this week with the passing of one of its most beloved actors.

Rusty Salling died on Sunday, June 12th at the age of 67 after battling cancer for more than a year.

Salling, who is best known for his role as Ebenezer Scrooge in the annual production of “A Christmas Carol,” graced the stage of the Hippodrome State Theatre over the past four decades. It was one of the many roles he had at the Hipp, but there were several Salling handled the general public never even realized.

In November of 2010 Salling came in to the studios of WUFT to talk with Donna Green-Townsend about his longtime role as “Scrooge.”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Over the weekend this Hippodrome Facebook post appeared:

We are heartbroken to share that early this morning we lost our dear Rusty Salling after a courageous 14 month battle with cancer. Today the Hipp’s halls are dark… and hearts are heavy all over the world. The Hippodrome was Rusty’s home for over 40 years. Beloved by all who knew him, we know you join us in forever holding Rusty close in your heart. Farewell, Sweet Scrooge. You will live forever in the memories of thousands.

“When he shall die take him and cut him out into stars and he shall make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night and pay no worship to the garish sun.” (William Shakespeare)

Here’s a beautiful tribute to Rusty Salling posted on Facebook by his friend and colleague Marilyn Wall:

Marilyn A. Wall

Rusty my dear dear friend, did you think it was final dress rehearsal? You have left us to soon. We still have ten more years of stories to tell…..here is what I will carry in my heart forever…….we have been close friends since we were eighteen. We met at freshmen orientation . We used to meet after rehearsals and share our dreams and study our lines. Rusty played a Hand (really!). And Lenny in of Mice and Men..the theatre department took notice of him. I earned a lead in my senior year and Rusty was on in front row center to cheer me on. It was a glorious year for us. Rusty went to New York and I gathered with five other wild and passionate friends and rented an empty connivence store. We named it the Hippodrome Theatre. We traveled to New York a number of times in a beat up van with no air conditioner. We always invited Rusty to join us and star in The Caretaker. He was so good and Gainesville began their 40 year love affair with Rusty Warren Salling, a stunningly brilliant theatre talent. With insight beyond his comprehension, Rusty played young men with a cause, old men, princes and kings, children and wicked clowns, gay and straight couples, killers and Angels and Spirts, my husband twice, Nell’s husband three times, and caused us to all wet our pants laughing at his one man pig puppet show, while his wife ( me) dropped her Christmas roast on the floor and dumped the gravy all over them both! Oh God we had fun! Sara Morsey played a few of Rusty’s wives too, along with funny funny Dana Moser. Men, women,young and old, he just understood all of their souls, their tragedy, their redemption. His heart was steel and velvet. Rusty will truly be a legend……….. Once upon a time a golden prince walked among us. He carried hundreds of stories and in the wake of a million stars and a hundred voices, he promised to return and build another tower in the sky. May your flight be full of light and memories and more memories……….thank you Jessica Hereof and Dan Jesse and Lauren Warhol for holding him, and knowing when it was time to let go………….Marilyn

Here’s a link to his obituary: 

Archival Hippodrome State Theatre, Gainesville Community Playhouse and Acrosstown Repertory Theatre features

Click on a link below to hear archive theatre features produced by Donna Green-Townsend

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Always Patsy Cline (07/14/1999)

A Christmas Carol at the Hipp (11/29/2010)

Avenue Q at the Hipp (07/10/2013)

The Big Bang (08/29/2004)

“Carrie” at the Hipp (10/12/2012)

“Come Back, Little Sheba” in Gainesville (12/06/2012)

Costume sale at the Hipp (10/01/2010)

‘Dead Man’s Cellphone’ Opens At The Hipp (01/12/2010)

Don’t Dress For Dinner Opens At The Hippodrome (08/30/2013)

Dracula– two versions

“The Drawer Boy” at the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre (08/24/2012)

“End Days” at the Hipp (01/06/2011)

Forever Plaid (06/2000)

God of Carnage at the Hipp (09/01/2011)

The Hot Mikado (07/2007)

Love and Fate

The Marvelous Wonderettes at the Hipp (06/01/2012)

Mary Hausch Recaps 40 years at the Hippodrome State Theatre (05/17/2013)

Mindgame (Oct 16, 2009)

Robin Hood at the Hipp (04/12/2013)

Don’t Dress For Dinner Opens At The Hippodrome (08/30/2013)

Aired on WUFT August 30, 2013

Hipp play 2
Cast of Don’t Dress For Dinner at the Hippodrome State Theatre

The sequel to the popular comedy, Boeing-Boeing is now on stage at the Hippodrome State Theatre in Gainesville.  Don’t Dress For Dinner, which is the first play of the Hipp’s 41st season, has had success on Broadway and in London.  Donna Green-Townsend talked with Michelle Bellaver who plays Suzette the cook in the play.  Bellaver says she’s glad the season kicks off with a comedy.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Don’t Dress For Dinner runs through September 22.  Longer version of the interview:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Due to Popular Demand, ‘Avenue Q’ Will Continue at the Hippodrome

Aired on WUFT on July 10th, 2013

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Avenue Q
Michael Hull and Jennifer Lauren Brown

The coming-of-age musical “Avenue Q,” which features a unique blend of actors and puppets, is in its final three weeks at the Hippodrome State Theatre in downtown Gainesville.

The original play garnered Tony Awards for best musical, best score and best book. WUFT-‘s Donna Green-Townsend talked with two New York actors who are in the play, Michael Hull and Jennifer Lauren Brown, about the popularity of this “adult-themed” comedy.

For more on the show, visit the Hippodrome’s website.

Click here to see this story on the WUFT website with an additional video from the puppets.

Mary Hausch recaps career after 40 years at Gainesville’s Hippodrome Theatre

Aired on WUFT May 17th, 2013

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Mary Hausch
Mary Hausch

Mary Hausch announced earlier this month her decision to step down from her position as a producing director at Gainesville’s Hippodrome Theatre.

Hausch spoke for nearly 35 minutes about topics spanning the theatre’s history within Gainesville, pivotal moments, famous plays and playwrights, and her plans for life beyond the Hippodrome.

Theatre management hopes to have Hausch’s successor hired by Aug. 31.

 

Hippodrome launches ‘Robin Hood’

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

robin-hood-poster-3-203x300It’s opening night for the Hippodrome State Theatre’s production of “Robin Hood.” The action-packed play brings to life the adventures of the historic hero who is dedicated to taking a stance against injustice.

WUFT’s Donna Green-Townsend talked with Ric Rose, the lead actor playing Robin Hood, about this family friendly production.

“Carrie” brings campy fun to the Hipp

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Carrie pic
Cast of “Carrie”

The Hippodrome State Theatre is launching what they call a “campy twist” on the Stephen King novel Carrie. The show, which opens tonight and runs through Nov. 4, is a comedic version of the classic King novel involving a young woman dealing with her peers and her fundamentalist mother.

“The Marvelous Wonderettes” opens tonight at the Hippodrome State Theatre

Aired on WUFT on June 1, 2012

Marvelous Wonderettes 1

The Marvelous Wonderettes
The Marvelous Wonderettes

 

The latest production at the Hippodrome State Theatre, opening tonight will take the audience on a musical trip down memory lane.  Florida’s 89.1, WUFT-FM’s Donna Green-Townsend talked with two of the actors in the the Hipp’s production of “The Marvelous Wonderettes.”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

God of Carnage brings comic relief to adults squabbling over their teens

Aired on WUFT on September 1st, 2011

Hippodrome State Theatre
Hippodrome State Theatre

god-of-carnage-posterThe Hippodrome State Theatre’s latest play opens Friday night in Gainesville. God of Carnage is a three-time Tony Award winner, including Best Play.  Florida’s 89.1, WUFT-FM’s Donna Green-Townsend talked with two of the actors from the comedy, Benjamin Burdick and Jessica Iris Morris.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Hippodrome improvisational theatre students hold relief drive for tornado victims (05/05/2011)

Aired on WUFT on May 5th, 2011

The Director for Education at the Hippodrome State Theatre, Kim Berry, says she and her husband will be driving a truck full of relief items to an emergency shelter in Tuscaloosa for victims of the recent devastating tornado. Items can be dropped off at the box office at the Hippodrome State Theatre until 6:00 tonight in downtown Gainesville. The emergency shelter is being run by the Tuscaloosa Parks and Recreation Authority. Berry talked with WUFT-FM’s Donna Green-Townsend about what items are needed.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.