Jupiter, Fl: Don’t ever doubt the devotion of Burt Reynolds’ fans! They are a fiercely loyal bunch and not the slightest bit shy about expressing their love for the man who has brought so much joy into their lives for over fifty years. When Mr. Reynolds took the stage at The Lyric Theatre on Friday evening, December 2nd, the crowd reacted with rafter-reaching enthusiasm.
The Burt Reynolds Institute for Film & Theatre (BRIFT) and The Lyric Theatre sponsored this free event to demonstrate new classes, which will be taught by Mr. Reynolds’ at The Flagler Center in Stuart. For many fans, watching Mr. Reynolds instruct his Master Class actors provided a once in a life time opportunity to get up close and personal with the Bandit himself. Quite a few fans stopped by the registration desk to talk about their pleasure at seeing “Burt,” as they like to call him, in person. He is more than a movie star to them. He is a friend!
Many had travelled long distances just to get a glimpse of their idol. Three very special ladies used the evening’s festivities as a reunion of sorts. Sabrina Taylor and Tabitha Hall came from Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Tina Rollins drove down from Daytona Beach. To hear them tell it, they follow their idol whenever and wherever possible. The ladies scooped up mementos from the BRIFT gift shop and made it clear that there was nowhere they wouldn’t go for “their man.” Ron Castellano and his nine-year-old daughter, Vanessa, made the trip from south Palm Beach County. Vanessa is a student at Freedom Shores Elementary School in Boynton Beach. She is on the honor roll, and she is a Burt Reynolds fan. No wonder Ron is so proud of his daughter!
For Orlando resident, Julie Hendrix, the evening proved to be a dream come true. When she arrived at the Theatre, Julie told BRIFT staff members that it would soon be her birthday, and the only gift she wanted was a hug from “Burt.” From her mouth to the Bandit’s ears! During the question and answer segment at the end of the show, Mr. Reynolds, smiling broadly, listened as Julie announced she had waited 39 years to meet him. He immediately walked across the stage and embraced her. The moment, though shared by a packed house, was personal and sweet. No doubt Julie will carry it in her heart forever.
Although a great actor, Burt Reynolds’ greatest talent is his ability to make an audience feel like they are spending the evening with a friend – probably because they are. His charm, his wit, his easy, down home manner are part and parcel of a man who has never taken for granted the love and loyalty of his fans.
Burt Reynolds and his Master Class actors return to The Lyric Theatre on January 13, 2012 with the BRIFT Winter Showcase. Tickets ($25/each) will be available at The Lyric box office. Call 772 286-7827 for information. The Lyric Theatre is located at 59 SW Flagler Avenue, Stuart, Florida