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Recovery at core of play

By Eric E. Harrison

This article was published November 15, 2012 at 3:58 a.m.


Gary Kimble (left) plays Bill Wilson and Richard Springle plays Dr. Bob Smith in Pass It On, An Evening With Bill W. and Dr. Bob this weekend at the Argenta Community Theater in North Little Rock.

— Two actors and recovering alcoholics (with 40 years’ sobriety between them) present a touring show about the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous to central Arkansas this week, and the co-sponsor and beneficiary of the three performances couldn’t be more pleased.

Gary Kimble plays Bill Wilson and Richard Springle plays Dr. Bob Smith in Pass It On, An Evening With Bill W. and Dr. Bob, 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Argenta Community Theater, 405 Main St., North Little Rock.

“What is really terrific for us is that Little Rock is a teeny-tiny piece of sand on the map, and everywhere else this has been performed has been a big city,” says Markey Ford, executive director of the Little Rock-based Wolfe Street Foundation, which is putting the show on as a joint presentation with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc.

“We have a friend named Dr. Al Mooney in Georgia who met the actors on a recovery cruise, and told them what a great location central Arkansas was to perform, a ‘hot spot of recovery.’”

Admission is by $20 donation to the foundation; after it has covered the production costs, a portion of that will go to the national council. Call (501) 372-5662 or visit

Kimble and Springle stage the show, which consists of scenes from the off-Broadway play Bill W. and Dr. Bob by Samuel Shem and Janet Surry, as if it were an old-time recovery meeting with the A.A. co-founders as the keynote speakers, sharing their experiences; dramatizing key events, including their pre-A.A. drinking sprees and the night in 1935 that they met in Akron, Ohio; and retelling yarns about the early history of A.A., including writing and publishing the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and creating the 12 Steps.

They will share their personal stories of recovery during a post-show question-and-answer session.

The foundation, which is not affiliated in any way with Alcoholics Anonymous, “serves groups faithful to the original 12 steps and develops and implements programs for education and prevention of alcoholism,” according to its website.

Weekend, Pages 36 on 11/15/2012

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