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Whether it was the opening night of Breath of Life with Judi Dench and Maggie Smith in London, or the pre-Broadway opening of Carol Channing’s Hello Dolly! in Washington, D.C., or experiencing Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in Macbeth at Stratford-upon-Avon, C. Robert Jones has enjoyed a lifetime of adventures as playwright, director, teacher, composer, and avid theater-goer—adventures that have taken him to fascinating places filled with fascinating people.
I Like It Here! chronicles these stories, along with many others, and also tells the backgrounds of several world-premiere productions he directed: Bernard Sabath’s You Caught Me Dancing, Steve Bouser’s Senator Sam, and his own musical, The Clown. Taken as a whole, C. Robert’s adventures provide a charming slice of theater life in the last half of the 20th century.
Available now from Pisgah Press at www.pisgahpress.com,
and at select bookstores
261 pp., b&w illustrations
ISBN: 978-0985387563 LCCN: 2013950757
Pisgah Press, LLC PO Box 1427 Candler, NC 28715
C. Robert Jones started writing in the third grade. First, it was poems, then short stories and even a novella dramatically called Greed. In high school, he composed his first songs and edited the high school newspaper. In college, he composed a piano concerto and edited the college literary magazine.
In all the years since, he’s never stopped writing. And that roughly adds up to forty-five plays (including seven full-length musicals and two short musicals for children–book, music, and lyrics for all nine), over 100 songs, and two major narrative works of fiction plus a formal history of the Town Theatre in Columbia, SC.
Called “C. Robert” by all who know him (to stave off inevitable questions about being related to Bobby Jones, the golfer, or to the Bob Jones University Joneses), he is a native of South Carolina but has spent most of his life in the beautiful North Carolina mountains near Asheville.
He holds two BA Degrees from the University of South Carolina, an MA in Theatre from the University of Georgia, and an MFA in Theatre from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.
After a year of study in Paris and Dijon, France on a Fulbright Scholarship, C. Robert began his theatre career as an actor in a production of Charley’s Aunt at the Gunton-Temple Players in Washington, DC. He was “discovered” by noted theatre director, Pauline Eaton Oak, and acted with her Masquers Troupe for three years before finding that his heart was really in writing and directing.
His first playwriting effort was Dock Street, an original full-length musical (book, music & co-writer of the lyrics with Pattie Fulgham.) He also directed.
With MFA fresh in hand, he became the Director of the Little Theatre of Savannah (GA) where he directed 26 productions in four seasons. His popular musical for children, The Clown, premiered there and was later published by Baker’s Plays in Boston and telecast on NBC-WSAV TV in Savannah.
He added the title of “Professor” to his name when he next founded the Department of Theatre Arts at Gardner-Webb College (now University) in Boiling Springs, NC. In his five years there, two more plays were premiered: The Spelling Bee (a musical for children which was also telecast over CBS-WSPA in Spartanburg, SC) and a work for Readers Theatre, Love is Better Than The Next Best Thing, telecast over PBS-TV in Chapel Hill, NC. Those two plays and a one-act called Marked For Murder were all published by Baker’s Plays.
Following that era, C. Robert joined the faculty of Mars Hill College (now University) in Mars Hill, NC where he would become the founder of the BFA Degree in Musical Theatre and Chairman of the Department of Theatre Arts. He was also a part of the group that founded the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre (SART), one of the southeast’s outstanding professional theatre companies. The bulk of his writing and composing has taken place in Mars Hill.
He is a member of ASCAP and The Dramatists Guild.
Honors, Awards, Recognitions
Fulbright Scholarship to the Sorbonne in Paris and to the University of Dijon, France
David B. Marshall Award in Musical Theatre from the University of Michigan, honoring the musical Rivals, based on Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The Rivals
Robert S. Gibbes Award - as a Distinguished Teacher at Mars Hill College
Theatre Memphis (Tennessee) - premiere of Chiaroscuro (later Nocturne), a winner of Theatre Memphis’s national play search
Mellon Foundation/Appalachian College Association - grants for Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts, a one-person play based on the life of Stephen Foster, and for Bert Williams, Broadway Star, a one-person play based on the life of Broadway’s first black superstar.
National Endowment for the Humanities -
Fellow at Yale University
Paul Green Multi-Media Award for the musical Treasures from the North Carolina Society of Historians
Robert Chesley Foundation Award for
The Catbird Seat and The Love Quartette
Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, Taos, NM, Residency, I Like It Here!
Paul Harris Fellow - Rotary Foundation of Rotary International