The coming year will be a busy one for local actors as they prepare to stage three plays for the winter and spring season.
“It will be an unusual, and quite busy, winter and spring, as I am not only directing the annual Foothills Theatre dessert production at Elkin First Baptist Church, but also two Art in the Garden productions at the Foothills Arts Council in March and April,” said Director Leighanne Martin Wright.
The first show for the season will take place in late February and will include dessert.
“Our first play is the comedy ‘Over the River and Through the Woods’ by Joe DiPietro starring Morgan Harrison as Nick, Tommie Ann Tulbert as Aida, Suzanne Hillin as Emma, David Nielsen as Nunzio, Tom Beckom as Frank, and Mary Johnson as Caitlin,” said Wright. “I saw the show done at Elkin High School under the direction of Jeannie Laws years ago and remembered it as one that was very entertaining.
“Nick’s grandparents try to keep him from leaving New Jersey as his parents have done by enticing him with an introduction to the lovely Caitlin. The actors break the fourth wall and address the audience with their thoughts throughout the piece, giving us not only insight into their worlds, but also more understanding of their motives,” Wright explained.
The play will be performed Feb. 19-21 at Elkin First Baptist Church fellowship hall, 110 Gwyn Ave., Elkin, with tickets at the door for $12 that includes dessert, coffee and tea. Dessert is served at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday with curtain following 30 minutes later.
In the spring, Wright will stage a show she has written. This will be the second play written and directed by Wright to be performed in the garden at the Foothills Arts Council.
The show is a comedy entitled “Olivia de Havilland’s Birthday.”
“The story is of the Farview Arts Association putting on a July 1 celebration for the actress’s birthday,” Wright explained. “Volunteers gather to act out snippets of de Havilland’s many movies. The idea for the play came to me from the one character, Priscilla, who only speaks by reciting ‘Gone with the Wind.’ Stacey Libbert has always told me she can recite the entire movie, so the role is perfect for her.”
Starring in the play with Libbert, who will be the movie reciting Priscilla, are Susan Lawrence as Debbie, Scott Carpenter as Roger, David Nielsen as Zach, Nicole Freeman as Charlotte, Claire Grider as Emily, Dylan Kupner as Uncle Chip, Tom Beckom as Craig, and Brian Patterson as Peter.
“I’m looking forward to several things about this show,” said Stacey Libbert. “Plays in the garden are always fun. I don’t know everyone in the cast, so it’s always nice to meet new folks, but I look forward to seeing old faces, too. Rehearsals always feel like a chance to get together with friends. This play is silly and funny and just a good time, and I’ve wanted to do some comedy, so that’s a big plus. But mostly, I’m really excited about my lines. I’m a huge ‘Gone With the Wind’ nerd, so this play is giving me an opportunity to, sort of, play a mix of roles I’ve loved (and known by heart) for years.”
“Our Art in the Garden series do not charge admission, but we hope people will become members when they come out to enjoy our programs,” Wright added.
“Olivia de Havilland’s Birthday” will be performed at 8 p.m. March 18 and March 20 and at 3 p.m. March 21, in the Foothills Arts Council garden, 129 Church St., Elkin. The audience should bring its own chairs, and coolers. Art in the Garden shows are subject to the weather so watch the arts council’s website and Facebook page for updates.
The next Art in the Garden production takes a different turn with Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”
“We will stage the play to accommodate for a smaller stage and not have such a large cast, but it will not affect the integrity or essence of this classic,” Wright said.
The family of wealthy plantation owner in the 1950s gathers for the birthday of Big Daddy and to celebrate the news of his good health. But nothing is as it seems within this family in crisis and the cracks are soon broken open to reveal many truths.
Starring in this play are Kitsey Harrison as Maggie, Morgan Harrison as Brick, Gary Maxey as Big Daddy, Judy Deck as Big Mama, Brian Patterson as Gooper, Sarah Moxley as Mae, Tom Beckom as Rev. Tooker, Grace Harrison and Carly Mullins as Dixie and Trixie, Christie Harrison as a servant, and other cast yet to be named. Williams won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1955 for this work.
“The idea to stage this play in the garden was discussed years ago between longtime Foothills Theatre volunteer, Kitsey, and myself, and every year it seems we would mention it to each other. Finally we said let’s do it,” Wright said.
“We are so fortunate to have an active theater community here in the Yadkin Valley and in the town of Elkin,” said Judy Deck, who will play Big Mama in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” “I am excited to be playing a role in a classic Southern play and looking forward to being in the audience for the other plays set for this winter season. The cast for ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ is excellent, truly dedicated to bring Tennessee Williams’ writing to life, and it is a treat to be working with them.”
“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” will be performed over two weekends — April 22 and 23 and then April 30 and May 1.
“We may add a fifth show on Friday, April 29 if we feel the demand is there,” Wright added. The show will be in the Foothills Arts Council garden so the audience needs to bring its own chairs and coolers are welcome.