HOPE Springs a Leak

Letters published August 10-August 16, 2000

But Linda Womack's involvement was commendable: I just read your article "One Slim HOPE" in the July 27 issue, and I want to tell you that this was one of the best articles I've read in any of the five or six local papers. It was thorough, well-researched, and unbiased.

Jacqueline Marino's story of Linda Womack has feeling; it gives a view of the world that most media deny exists. Most of the story shows that there is always hope. Womack has a lot of courage to be a subject of this article.

The sad part is that Project HOPE never got to fruition, because the numbers are not coming fast enough for the funders. Ones, twos, and threes add up. Let's never give up HOPE.

Ric Hampton

Rocky's narrator expresses his horror: I am writing in response to Keith Joseph's entirely unprofessional review of the Beck Center's Rocky Horror Show ["From Rice-a-Roni to Pheasant," July 20].

Although I am an actor in this production (I play the narrator), my concerns are more those of fairness and accuracy than of being panned or not mentioned at all.

(Although, parenthetically, I must ask how a critic manages to ignore an actor who is onstage for 90 percent of the evening. I have been acting for 20 years, and I know I'm not that bad! I must assume the fault lies with the scribe and not the player.)

It has always been my opinion that the theater critic must present a true and unbiased assessment of each performance for his readers. On both these counts, Mr. Joseph failed miserably.

He mentions that the security staff disallowed anyone from using the audience-participation kits supplied by the Beck Center. This is simply not true. More than half the fun of Rocky is that audiences have the chance to play along and involve themselves with the action on the stage. At no time has this practice been discouraged.

When I accepted the role of narrator, I was fully aware that I would bear the brunt of call-back lines and heckles. I have never needed to be shielded from this aspect of the show. Indeed, the entire cast knew that some audiences would be merciless with their verbal volleys. We also knew that, if we answered every line from the audience with one of our own, the show would last three hours instead of two. Therefore, Scott Spence, our director, who is inexplicably not mentioned at all in Mr. Joseph's review, made the decision that Bob Simon and I would handle whatever ad-libs were needed. I use more discretion than Bobby, but he's not shielding me or any of us from the audience.

I and my fellow cast members do not feel we are being wiped off the stage by Bobby's performance or that we are "Knights of Columbus revelers at a Halloween bash." The ensemble of actors understand that Rocky is a star-driven show and our job is to support the star. I believe the support we give Bobby's wonderful performance is strong and worthy of high praise.

It strikes me that the cheers and applause the cast receives each evening will resound in our memories far longer than the snide and bitchy comments essayed by Mr. Joseph.

Donald Wight

A corporate axing signals more woes: What is up with the rock music scene in Cleveland? I was very lucky to grow up in the Akron/Cleveland/Canton radio station market. I am 40 years old, and yes, I still listen to the radio. I find I usually tune into Y103, but I also had WNCX tuned on my radio for evenings when Joe Kleon was DJing. Lately, I noticed that he wasn't on as much, and now they fire him! Why? Because he raised his ratings? Because he played what listeners wanted to hear? Because he has an easy, pleasant voice on the radio? No. Because they wanted to pay him peanuts. Take my word: Soon, these radio stations will only have a national DJ who is heard in all markets, à la Howard Stern, and the Corporation only has to pay him and the college intern, who only needs money to buy burgers and beer and who supplements his income by giving plasma.

How come no one promotes Todd Rundgren, Edgar Winter, Peter Frampton, or the Tubes when they come into town? But look out -- Ozzy Osburnout is back, and wow, everyone has to know. Who is running the music business? Not the people who care about others.

Mick "The Maag" Maag