What is the Gridiron Show?
Well, first of all, it has nothing to do with football!
The Northwest Arkansas Gridiron Show is a theatrical performance that spoofs local, state and national newsmakers and cultural trends of the past year in sketch and song. It is written, directed and performed by the local Society of Professional Journalists.
In addition, it’s a very nice social event. Fans come out to see who’s going to get skewered and many of those targets are in the audience! Before the show and at intermission, the cash bar is open and you can hobnob with the cast.
How do I get tickets?
Tickets go on sale Sept. 1 each year. Tickets can be purchased in person from members of the sponsoring organizations: the American Association of University Women and the Society of Professional Journalists. They are also available online during the month leading up to the show. Or you can call the Arkansas Public Theater box office at 479-631-8988.
Tickets may also be purchased at the door on the night of the performances at the theater — if we have any left!!
All tickets are for general admission. There are no reserved seats.
Food and drink?
Snacks and drinks – including soft drinks, beer and wine – are available for purchase at the show.
Where is the Theater?
Arkansas Public Theater at the Victory (formerly Rogers Little Theater) is located at 116 S. Second Street in downtown Rogers. From Interstate 540, take the Walnut Street exit (Highway 71B), exit 85. Go east about 2.6 miles to North Second Street. Turn right on North Second (south). The theater is half a block down on the right (west).
Where do I park?
Patrons are invited to park diagonally along the streets adjacent to the building.
Nearby public lots are located at Second and Elm streets (1/2 block from the theater), around the corner mid-block on Walnut between Second and Third streets; and in Frisco Park.
Special seating for patrons in wheelchairs is available. Please inform box office personnel before you come about your needs.
Where does the money go?
The Society of Professional Journalists will fund scholarships with its profits; AAUW will contribute its share to the Single Parent Scholarship Fund, the AAUW scholarship at the University of Arkansas, and the AAUW Educational Foundation and Legal Advocacy Fund. The show will also benefit the Arkansas Public Theater building fund. A portion of the ticket price is tax deductible.
How long is the Gridiron Show?
We work really hard to be sure that neither half lasts more than 45 minutes. Of course, that depends on how much you laugh!
Actually, we figure into the total the time we think you’ll be laughing! But be warned. If you think that by withholding your laughter, you can go home early, we say: Bring it on! We KNOW you’ll be laughing at this year’s show.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m., and with the 20-minute intermission between acts, we usually have folks out of the theater by 10 p.m.
Who’s in the Gridiron Show?
Our rule is: You gotta be a journalist to be in front of the curtain, except for the emcee, who is often a well known public figure. Most of our cast comes from staffs of the local newspaper, TV and radio stations, public relations agencies and faculty of the university journalism department. We also are lucky enough to get journalism students involved each year.
One thing’s for sure: If you’re a newsmaker, you aren’t gonna be on the stage! It’s our turn.
Who writes the Gridiron Show?
Same folks as above.
Who plays the music?
We’re lucky to have Emily Kaitz, local singer and songwriter, as our musical director. In a moment of weakness one summer, Emily said that as long as we’re doing the Gridiron, she’ll play for us. We told her we had witnesses. And now it’s in print!
No offense to anyone else who has ever played for us, but Emily was born for the Gridiron. She can transpose into any key (even the key of N, for nonexistent) at the snap of the fingers. So many of our singers are untrained and having her to help us has made the show so much better! Thanks, Emily.
Who else contributes?
“Contributes” is not a strong enough word. Without the American Association of University Women, the Northwest Arkansas Gridiron Show would never have returned to the stage.
AAUW members do much of the behind-the-scenes work that makes the show a success — selling playbook ads, painting sets and much more.
How long has the local Gridiron been around?
The Northwest Arkansas Gridiron Show played to packed houses from 1978-1990, then took a 13-year hiatus. We’ve been back now since 2004.