Every now and then there is a moment of intergalactic-super-whammo-karmacitic-God-is-surely-watching-with-a grin moment–and that moment came this week when genuinely kind and gentle and uber talented Sir Charles Ponder–our friend, colleague, co-worker and outstanding human being appeared–within the same week, in the pages of the Commercial Appeal and the Wall Street Journal.
Why is this so extraordinary? Because Charles is not the star of our Playhouse on the Square/Opera Memphis operapella production of Midsummer Night’s Dream.
However, Charles might very well have the juiciest role of the play, for he portrays “Bottom the Weeeeeaver” (as Charles sings) that arch typical character, the actor a la Ted Baxter who is so darn full of himself and his “gift” for the theee-ahhhhhh-tahhhh that he is downright comical. I just love Shakespeare. And boy, would Shakespeare have loved Sir Charles.
In fact, it would seem that EVERYONE loves Sir Charles–at least from the reviews. In addition to singing, Charles can flat out act. It’s a gift. Add to that the fact that he has a knack for interpreting the physicality of his character. This is no small feat. Charles has no small feet. Charles is really tall– and takes up a lot of stage–and to demonstrate the control of his space, as well as to emote the details, it is downright awesome.
Someone asked me what Sir Charles Ponder was doing here in Memphis. “Why isn’t he in New York?” she asked.
I dunno. He could be. But that is not the way fate has played its hand. Instead, he is here, with us, blessing Memphis with his talent and his kindness.
In addition to portraying the role of one of the “mechanicals”, the rustic group of tradesmen who decide to construct a play for the Duke’s entertainment, Charles sings tenor in the voicestra down in the pit with the rest of his fellow members of DeltaCappella. Amazingly, when he is not acting, he also fronts a get-down-and-have-fun funk band. And he sings on a regular basis with the Opera Memphis Chorus.And works at our store. And he is a gifted home chef.
We could not be happier to see Charles, who is Mr. Congeniality, get all of the well-deserved recognition. The only problem is that you might not recognize him though, if you saw him on the street, since in all of the photos, in all of these various newspapers and blogs, he is shown post -“translation”–in donkey form.
So allow me to share a photo of Sir Charles, sans ears, and looking very elegant and handsome in his tuxedo at the 2010 Stone Awards.
Gosh, we are so proud of him and for him. I’m sure he is happy about his success, but it just may be that we feel even more joy than he does.
Here’s to you, Sir Charles.
You honor Memphis with your presence.