Phil Van Embden is a very convincing man. And I really want him to be right.
As many of you know, ArtC is working on a video about Pat Witt and the Barn Studio in Millville. When finished, it will be about twenty-five minutes long and deserving of a premiere, but where? A few weeks ago it hit me, the perfect place, actually the only place that makes sense…the new Levoy Theater in downtown Millville which will be opening later this summer. One problem though, I’ve been one of those people who have questioned the viability of a theater in Millville. I’ve questioned my hometown’s ability to make it work. And by doing so, I’ve angered some of those in charge. Then this morning Frank Weiss and I met with Phil Van Embden and his daughter Lauren. They graciously listened to the idea about the Pat Witt video and also our suggestions for a video to promote the Levoy. Then Phil took us on an hour long tour of his ‘baby’.
It’s still just a shell of what it will be, but Phil painted such a picture, we could easily envision the finished product. He knows this theater down to every last detail. He easily answered every question from parking to financing to seating. He described the sound system, the orchestra pit and what flooring will be used. He talked about the upstairs mezzanine and the chandaliers. He even proudly showed us the bathrooms. Everything is well thought-out. It will easily and professionally accommodate any kind of performance or performer. I have no doubt it will be awesome.
Like most things today however, the ‘build it and they will come’ philosophy isn’t enough. My biggest concern about Millville still holds true, they haven’t been able to think beyond their own borders when it comes to marketing and promotion. I’ve always been a fan, an ardent supporter of the arts district, Wheaton Arts, The Barn Studio of Art and now the Levoy. We at ArtC want this to succeed as much as anyone. We now believe in the product, and we want to help get the word out. We just think it has to be done with the same professionalism, creativity and passion that Phil, Lauren and the rest of the Levoy team have displayed in making this project a reality. Phil and Lauren are smart people. If they haven’t already, I think they will figure it out. I hope so, I love to be proved wrong.
Thanks for listening.