By John Schaffner
johnschaffner@reporternewspapers.net

Georgia Shakespeare begins its 25th season with “Shrew: The Musical,” a melodic adaptation of the bard William Shakespeare’s play “The Taming of the Shrew.”

The theater company was co-founded in 1985 by three friends and theater buffs, Richard Garner, Kirby McLain “Lane” Anderson and Robert Watson, and played to audiences under tents for its first three years. By five years into the venture, only Garner remained, and he is still the group’s producing artistic director.

Georgia Shakespeare landed at Ogle­thorpe University, where it performs today in the Conant Performing Arts Center, primarily because the university wanted the theater group. So, in 1995, the university built a permanent building for the company in which it could practice and perform.

An interesting point is that the permanent structure is built to resemble a tent, but it does not have to deal with the weather elements outside. The group was called Georgia Shakespeare Festival but has become the Professional Theater in Residence at Oglethorpe University.

Over the years, Georgia Shakespeare has developed more than 12 educational programs serving elementary-school-aged children to adult students. And the company has won numerous local and national awards. It has been praised by some of the country’s most respected theater critics.

And so, Georgia Shakespeare is gearing up to start its 2010 season—its 25th season—with “Shrew: The Musical,” June 9-Aug. 8; “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” June 24-Aug. 6; and “King Lear,” July 8-Aug. 7.

The Reporter Newspapers congratulate Georgia Shakespeare on its 24 years of successful seasons and are proud to be a sponsor for the 25th season. We urge our readers to support this fine theater group.

An overdue step on Peachtree

We announced in our last edition of the Brookhaven Reporter (page 3, May 21-June 3) that DeKalb County is taking the first steps toward installing sidewalks, streetlights and other pedestrian enhancements along Peachtree Road between Dresden Drive and Ashford-Dunwoody Road.

The county has allocated $3 million funneled through the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Livable Cities Initiative to pay for the work that will be done on the west side of the road (opposite the MARTA rail line). The area includes Ogle­thorpe University and the new Town Brookhaven development.

Project manager Taylor Wright told a group of civic leaders the project was just getting into the design phase and construction would not likely begin until 2012 and be finished until 2013.

Included in that group was community activist Ronnie Mayer, who, with his group of close friends and concerned community residents, has on several occasions bought and planted trees on the other side of Peachtree to spruce up the streetscape along the Brookhaven community’s major thoroughfare.

Like me, I am sure Mayer and his friends wonder why it will take three years to lay some sidewalk and put in some street lights along that stretch of maybe not more than a mile. It seems pretty simple and clear-cut and doesn’t need a lot of design work or public hearings from where I sit.

If private enterprise were doing this streetscape work, it likely could be done in a month.

Perhaps that is why when a tree gets run over by a car along Peachtree Road and needs to be replaced or a green space needs trash cleaned from it, a core group of Brookhaven residents just gets the job done rather than wait for the county to pass it through all the bureaucracy.

Funny how most of us think government is here to serve the public needs and do it efficiently.

Finding Clack’s Corner Park

Clack’s Corner Park is really there in the Brookhaven Fields neighborhood, and it really can bring friends together across space and time.

I knew if I wrote in my commentary piece that I could not find Clack’s Corner Park, someone would come to my rescue. I just didn’t think it would be the person who was my right-hand helper 30 years ago when I was managing editor of the Atlanta Constitution.

But Brookhaven resident Jean Stanley, who was my administrative assistant those many years ago, immediately sent me an e-mail with a short but helpful message: “Clack’s Corner is at 1410 Cartecay Drive, three blocks from Haven on Appalachee. Better accessible via Ellijay from Dresden Drive. Hope you’re enjoying your work. The paper is great. Jean Stanley.”

As in the past, I followed Jean’s instructions and drove right to Clack’s Corner Park. And, on top of it all, it was great hearing from an old friend and a person who had been my right hand for a few years in another life.