A&S Center presents 2013 'Razzle Dazzle: Gone Country' Endowment named in honor of Nan Simmons and Lynne Smart

The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas went country Thursday as it opened it 2013 presentation of “Razzle Dazzle” to a sold-out crowd.

Originally scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, the center added a 2 p.m. performance for today and all performances sold out. Directed by Matt Soto, attendees were treated to singing and dancing from some of the top talent of Southeast Arkansas.

Faron Wilson served as the music director for the show and Dorothy Soto and Tana Cook were the choreographers.

After the opening night performance, the center announced its named endowment in honor of Nan Simmons and Lynne Smart, who loved the center and had a passion for the arts, according to Lenore Shoults, executive director of the center.

The Arts & Science Center Endowment Fund supports center operations and programming and Shoults said, “we would not exist without the endowment, it is one of our primary sources of funding.”

The endowment helps to provide financial stability because the funds are invested for the future with only a small portion dispersed annually. Contributions to this named endowment honor Simmons and Smart, while also supporting the center.

Simmons performed on the stage of the Catherine M. Bellamy Theater in countless productions, most recently, “Love Letters” in February, co-starring Martin Carty. Audiences laughed and cried each night of the sold-out play as Simmons gave her usual excellent performance.

Smart supported the center since its inception and attended events, including this past “Potpourri-OnStage” when, during the Friday night party, she danced the night away. As someone who knew her well said, “she danced her way through life.”

Annette Kline, who is heading the endowment fundraising effort said, “these two women loved the center and the community loved these two women, we can think of no better way to honor them than to make it possible for future generations to enjoy the arts.”

To make a donation to the Simmons Smart Endowment, send checks to The Arts & Science Center Endowment Fund, 701 S. Main St., Pine Bluff, AR 71601. For more information, contact Shoults at 870-536-3375.