The Road To Wedded Bliss – Part Four

Here at the Thrasher-Horne Center, weddings are second nature. Our massively accommodating Events Center has played host to hundreds of perfect weddings for couples all over the region. As a result, we’ve encountered numerous bridal checklists – all of which provided varying degrees of personal success for the new bride. After witnessing the best and the worst, we’ve assembled the following as your ultimate go-to list, which we’ll be doling out in monthly installments to keep you on schedule until your big day.

valentines1

Time is ticking along, We are now headlong into a Spring that’s feeling more and more like Summer everyday, and you are now finding yourself three months into your brand new engagement. You’ve checked off all the boxes on the first month’s planning checklist (as well as the second month and the third), and now you’re ready for your next round of tasks. Luckily, the Thrasher-Horne Center is here to provide you with Part Four of our yearlong wedding planning guide. Below, you’ll find your next steps on the path to a perfectly smooth blissful wedding.

12-17-16-indian-8

Staying organized will keep you on track while you try to make your wedding memorable, awesome and creative. The items on our monthly checklists are your perfectly portioned must-do’s to make this spectacular event come together in a way that only we know how.

checklist

ABOUT 6 TO 7 MONTHS BEFORE

You’re rocking it

You are on your way and you can’t believe how much more there is to do! Good thing you have this checklist.

  • Book your florist. Try to find one who specializes in weddings and can give you unique ideas to go with your theme.
  • Book the hotel room for your wedding night. Make sure it’s romantic and management knows it’s your wedding night. Oftentimes there are suites available for this special occasion.
  • Meet with the officiant to discuss the ceremony and confirm you have all the official documents. You also need to make sure you have applied for that marriage license.
  • Choose cake styles and schedule tastings. Yummy!
  • Arrange transportation for the bridal party. Consider what you are wearing during this step. Remember, entries and exits from certain modes of transportation can be a bit tricky in a fancy dress.
  • Purchase wedding invitations. Addressing them yourself can be a time-consuming process, so take that into consideration when making your time and money budgets.
  • Decide on groomsmen attire. Don’t forget to include your fiancée on this decision!
  • Purchase wedding bands.

 

white-table-setupThe Ideal Setting for your Wedding Day… The Thrasher-Horne Center, one venue which has it all!

Many stunning weddings have already been held at the Thrasher-Horne Conference Center! Nestled on the scenic St. Johns River State College campus in Orange Park, this venue provides the perfect atmosphere for your wedding and/or reception, with ample free guest parking, flexible catering choices with a full staging kitchen, and an accessible location right in the heart of Clay County. Comprised of six suites that can provide space in whatever design you envision, such as the Grand Banquet Room with comfortable space for up to 240 guests including enough room for dancing. Additionally, our other banquet or theatre spaces are the perfect setting for your wedding ceremony, combining both of your venue needs into one!

Call 904-276-6815 or visit  http://weddingsjacksonvillefl.com to schedule an appointment with a Thrasher-Horne Center Wedding Specialist today!

 

THRASHER-HORNE LONG READS: The story of how MAMMA MIA! became MAMMA MIA!

MAMMA MIA!’s creator Judy Craymer tells how this magnificent record-breaking musical first triumphed in London and then conquered the world…

As Creative Producer of MAMMA MIA!, my job started long before any script had been written. The story begins more than 25 years ago when I first met Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, the songwriting geniuses behind ABBA. I was working for Sir Tim Rice at the time, who was collaborating with Benny and Björn on his musical Chess, and I was immediately smitten – after all, these were the men who had written ‘Dancing Queen’, one of the greatest pop songs of all time – but it was another of their songs, ‘The Winner Takes It All’, that first suggested to me the potential of an original musical using Benny and Björn’s classic compositions. The lyrics revealed a roller coaster story of love and loss that struck me as extraordinarily theatrical, but how was I to bring this to life?

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First I had to approach Benny and Björn, who were understandably a little unsure of my intentions. I explained that the project I had in mind would focus on a new and exciting story; it wouldn’t be a tribute show, or the ‘ABBA Story’, but a truly original ‘book’ musical. They weren’t 100% convinced at the time, but they didn’t absolutely close the door so I took hope.

So I sat on the floor of my apartment listening to ABBA late into the night. I may have driven my neighbors to despair but as time passed I became more and more certain of my idea. In 1995 my tenacity finally paid off. Björn said, “If you can find the right writer and story, well… let’s see what happens”…

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A year later I was on location with a film I was producing when the director mentioned Catherine Johnson. I was aware of her work as a playwright and, even better, I knew her agent. We met in January 1997 and soon I was confidently telling Björn that we had found our writer and that my co-producer Richard East and I had commissioned her to write the story.

My brief to Catherine was that no lyrics could change, the story should be a contemporary, ironic, romantic comedy and that if she listened carefully to ABBA’s songs, she’d notice how they fell into two different generations: the slightly younger, playful songs like ‘Honey, Honey’ and ‘Dancing Queen’, and the more mature, emotional songs such as ‘The Winner Takes It All’ and ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’…and so the idea of a cross-generational love story was devised.

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By the end of that year Catherine had finished the first draft of MAMMA MIA!’s script and I persuaded Phyllida Lloyd to come on board as our director. Her background was serious, legit theatre and opera and her secret weapon was her ‘Dry Martini wit’. We discovered we all shared the same birth-year and soon firmly bonded.

It was unusual, if not unheard of, for three women to be the collaborative creative force behind what was to become such a commercial success. From a personal point of view, I think it readdressed the balance and had a great nurturing effect on the production. We were all happy to jump in and make the tea. Appropriately, MAMMA MIA! features three strong women in the story. Their characters are completely different – slightly bossy, a bit chaotic, extremely practical, and very high maintenance! We have a lot of laughs about who is who in real life, and, as time goes by, it’s a little worrying that we have become even more like those characters on stage.

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Suddenly it was time to give up my day job as a television and film producer and prepare for the white-knuckle ride of making the dream a reality: money to raise, a theatre to find, artwork to create, ticket agents to seduce, deadlines to meet. It was the summer of 1998 and we had to open by April 7th 1999 or we’d lose Phyllida, who’d been booked years in advance to direct an opera at The Coliseum in London. The suggested opening dates were April 6th or April 9th. April 6th happened to be the anniversary, to the day, of ABBA winning the Eurovision Song Contest with ‘Waterloo’ 25 years before. It seemed a good omen.

Although Björn was enthusiastic and shared the vision for the musical, Benny was a little more cautious and at any time both could have put an end to the whole project. It was a tense time, as their emotional backing as well as their creative input was very important to me. If they were going to trust me with their fabulous songs I didn’t want to let them down. Benny and I agreed that on our First Night one of us would be able to tell the other “I told you so”.

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By now we had a date for opening but we had no theatre. We’d been looking at smaller venues when suddenly the rather large and prestigious Prince Edward Theatre in London’s West End became available, the very same theatre at which Chess had opened ten years earlier – another omen perhaps? But its sheer size meant that the scale of the production had to expand dramatically too, with cast, crew, set and budget all having to be reworked. A lot of fingers were crossed for the big night.

And so… April 6th 1999, a night I will never forget – the World Premiere of MAMMA MIA! The audience were charmed and one British critic wrote, “MAMMA MIA! could put Prozac out of business”.

Benny heartily accepted his defeat: with the entire theatre dancing in the aisles, he turned to me and said, “You can say it now”. I flashed back, “I told you so!”. We still joke about it.

JudyCraymer3

On the Road with MAMMA MIA!

The idea of MAMMA MIA!’s international appeal had never been seriously considered when the show was in its infancy, but with a certifiable hit in London came the chance to recreate the show in other countries, and over the past 17 years we have certainly done that. The statistics are mind-boggling and defy comparison with any other musical production in history.

JCalexandra

Our very first North American premiere was in Canada at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre, where we were booked in for six months. The production ran for five years. The first US Tour ventured into the United States, opening at the Orpheum Theatre, San Francisco also in 2000. We were warned that America wasn’t as familiar with ABBA’s music as their European counterparts, so we should consider Broadway a cautious dream. Not for long. Having celebrated over 12 years and 5000 performances at the Winter Garden Theatre, MAMMA MIA! transferred to the Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway in late 2013. As of its final performance in September 2015, MAMMA MIA! was the 8th longest-running show in Broadway history.

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It’s been a similar story wherever we’ve been: in Las Vegas the show ran for six solid years at the Mandalay Bay Theatre. Across Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore it ran for four years.

And then we began translating MAMMA MIA! into other languages, beginning with the German-language production at the Operettenhaus in Hamburg in 2002, where 2.5 million people saw the show over the following five years. Similarly, audiences have flocked to hear their favorite songs sung in their own language in Utrecht, Antwerp, Moscow, Gothenburg, Oslo, Mexico City, Copenhagen, Sao Paolo, Aarhus, Rome, Milan and Buenos Aires, as well as throughout Germany, Spain, The Netherlands, Japan, Korea and France. Benny and Björn certainly had their work cut out in the build up to the Stockholm production, which ran for over two years. We were delighted to launch the English-language International Tour, which premiered in Dublin in 2004 and has been enjoyed by over 5 million people.

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And then there’s China, Shanghai to be precise, where MAMMA MIA! opened in July 2011 and what an extraordinary achievement by the whole organisation that represents. It took literally years of planning and negotiating as well as actual political change within the People’s Republic to reach this goal…to reach the point at which MAMMA MIA!’s technical complexity and artistic excellence – leaving aside the challenges of translation and casting – can be staged and performed to the highest professional standards by an entirely Chinese company yet still under the direction of the British associate creative team who work on MAMMA MIA! around the world. With a Chinese language version of the show flourishing, the potential is astronomical: in effect, another 1.3 billion people or one-fifth of the world’s population now have their very own version of MAMMA MIA! to enjoy.

On the Big Screen with MAMMA MIA!

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And let’s not forget MAMMA MIA! – The Movie. What a thrill to work with Universal Pictures and the same brilliant team of Catherine and Phyllida, augmented for some glorious weeks in 2007-2008 by movie stars of the caliber of Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper. The film had its worldwide premiere in London on 30th June 2008, in the city where the stage play had celebrated its premiere nine years before, and rapidly made history as the highest grossing movie of all time at the UK and Irish box offices.

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One thing I’ve learnt from seventeen fun and frantic years of overseeing and coordinating the many productions of MAMMA MIA! is that the potential and possibilities are continuously exciting and seem to be limitless. The way our film was received and taken to heart by so many people throughout the world seems to confirm that.

For me, the whole experience of MAMMA MIA! has been totally life-changing and would simply not have been possible without an amazing creative team and the trust and co-operation of Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. My special thanks must also go to the wonderful actors, musicians, stage management, crew and theatre staff who make MAMMA MIA! happen on stages around the globe, night after night after magical night…

Enjoy the show!

 

JudyCraymer

SEEN AT THE SCENE – Trace Adkins

At the Thrasher-Horne Center, the only thing more beautiful than our shows is our audiences. Our crowd last Thursday night put on their best cowboy boots and their fanciest ten-gallon hats and moseyed on down to catch Trace Adkins live on our Main Stage. Trace definitely didn’t disappoint, launching into a high-energy set packed with all the hits. It was a night the audience won’t soon forget. Pick up your tickets today for our upcoming shows at THcenter.org and who knows… you may be the next beautiful person to grace our blog!

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SEEN AT THE SCENE – Steve Trash: Ecology Is Awesome

At the Thrasher-Horne Center, the only thing more beautiful than our shows is our audiences. This morning was a delight as over 1,200 local students packed into our Main Stage to catch Ecology Is Awesome, the latest nature-themed magic show from Steve Trash. For over an hour, Steve taught the kids about pollution, recycling, and how to help save the planet through an array of illusions and zany sight gags. Afterwards, Steve magically appeared in the lobby to greet and take pictures with all the kids. Pick up your tickets today for our upcoming shows at THcenter.org and who knows… you may be the next beautiful person to grace our blog!

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SEEN AT THE SCENE – Dark Energy & Dark Matter: Margaret Schnebly Hodge Gallery Opening

At the Thrasher-Horne Center, the only thing more beautiful than our shows is our audiences. The Thrasher-Horne Center’s Lee Adams Florida Artists Gallery saw some wonderful faces last night as art lovers arrived ready to view Ormond Beach artist Margaret Schnebly Hodge’s newest opening, Dark Energy & Dark Matter! Stop by during regular Box Office hours (10AM-3PM) and check out the installation yourself, and while you’re here don’t forget to pick up tickets for one of our upcoming shows. Who knows… you may be the next beautiful person to grace our blog!

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SEEN AT THE SCENE – Todrick Hall presents Straight Outta Oz

At the Thrasher-Horne Center, the only thing more beautiful than our shows is our audiences. Just witness our crowd last Friday night as we welcomed Todrick Hall and his troupe of sensational singers and dancers of Straight Outta Oz to our Main Stage for a high energy musical spectacular that included laughter, tears, singalongs… and even a surprise on-stage marriage proposal (SPOILER ALERT: She Said Yes)! Pick up your tickets today for our upcoming shows at THcenter.org and who knows… you may be the next beautiful person to grace our blog!

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Todrick invited a few people on stage at the end of the show, including his “most energetic fan”, a fan celebrating his birthday, and a third fan who had her life changed with a surprise engagement from her fiancee.

The Road To Wedded Bliss – Part Three

Here at the Thrasher-Horne Center, weddings are second nature. Our massively accommodating Events Center has played host to hundreds of perfect weddings for couples all over the region. As a result, we’ve encountered numerous bridal checklists – all of which provided varying degrees of personal success for the new bride. After witnessing the best and the worst, we’ve assembled the following as your ultimate go-to list, which we’ll be doling out in monthly installments to keep you on schedule until your big day.

valentines1

Time is ticking along, Winter has segued to Spring, and you are now finding yourself two months into your brand new engagement. You’ve checked off all the boxes on the first month’s planning checklist, as well as the second month, and now you’re ready for your next round of tasks. Luckily, the Thrasher-Horne Center is here to provide you with Part Three of our yearlong wedding planning guide. Below, you’ll find your next steps on the path to a perfectly smooth blissful wedding.

12-17-16-indian-8

Staying organized will keep you on track while you try to make your wedding memorable, awesome and creative. The items on our monthly checklists are your perfectly portioned must-do’s to make this spectacular event come together in a way that only we know how.

checklist

 

ABOUT 8 TO 9 MONTHS BEFORE

Great job so far

While you’re still making and changing plans, there are some things that need your attention if you want your guests to be happy, too.

  • Find three hotels at different price points for your out of town guests and book a block of rooms at a discounted rate. Not everyone will choose to stay in a high-end hotel, so make sure you choose hotels for everyone’s budget.
  • Create gift registries. Look for gifts with pricing that everyone attending will be able to afford.
  • Begin planning your honeymoon. Have you been to Aruba yet? Looking for an adventurous honeymoon? Look forward to this opportunity to kick back and relax after all the planning you and your fiancée (now new spouse) have done!
  • Browse wedding invitation designs and all the accompanying stationary. The options are endless and you want to make sure they reflect the theme you have chosen.
  • Refine the guest list and mail your “Save the Date” cards. Include the link to your website. The guests will be able to post their congratulations and thoughts on your site. Keep everyone up to date via social media.

 

white-table-setupThe Ideal Setting for your Wedding Day… The Thrasher-Horne Center, one venue which has it all!

Many stunning weddings have already been held at the Thrasher-Horne Conference Center! Nestled on the scenic St. Johns River State College campus in Orange Park, this venue provides the perfect atmosphere for your wedding and/or reception, with ample free guest parking, flexible catering choices with a full staging kitchen, and an accessible location right in the heart of Clay County. Comprised of six suites that can provide space in whatever design you envision, such as the Grand Banquet Room with comfortable space for up to 240 guests including enough room for dancing. Additionally, our other banquet or theatre spaces are the perfect setting for your wedding ceremony, combining both of your venue needs into one!

Call 904-276-6815 or visit  http://weddingsjacksonvillefl.com to schedule an appointment with a Thrasher-Horne Center Wedding Specialist today!