Actor Spotlight: Michelle Geouge

Today we are speaking with Michelle Geouge, who will be playing Mrs. Hudson in our upcoming virtual production of A Sherlock Holmes Radio Mystery.

Michelle Geouge

PPH: Tell us a bit about yourself!

Michelle: Hello, my name is Michelle Geouge.  I have taught school in Yancey County for 22 years. My first encounter with Parkway Playhouse was watching my grandson participate in several playhouse productions.  

PPH: What other acting experience do you have? Are there any previous roles that stand out?

Michelle: The role of Mrs. Hudson is my very first acting role.  I have quickly learned that a lot more goes into acting than memorizing lines! It is a lot of work! But I have enjoyed the experience very much.  I hope it won’t be my last.

PPH: What inspired you to take a chance and audition for this show?

Michelle: I was always so impressed with the quality of the acting and directing within our community.  I always left a performance feeling like, “I want to do that!”  

A Sherlock Holmes Radio Mystery will be streamed virtually on April 24th, at 7:30pm for ONE NIGHT ONLY! To purchase tickets, please click here.

Actor Spotlight: William Tyler Ezzell

Today we are speaking with William Tyler Ezzell, who will be playing Sherlock Holmes in our upcoming virtual production of A Sherlock Holmes Radio Mystery.

William Tyler Ezzell

PPH: Were you familiar with Sherlock Holmes, or any of Arthur Conan Doyle’s works before this process? 

William: Yes, in fact, when I was in grade school I dressed up as him for a literature parade held by the local library. I’m also fascinated by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s life outside of literature as sort of a professional skeptic and his strange friendship with Harry Houdini.

PPH: Are you having fun with accents? Any tongue twisters in there for you? 

William: I love accents! The challenge of doing them well & the mental acrobatics they sometimes require can be a lot of fun!

PPH: What has been your favorite moment during rehearsal

William:  I don’t know if I had a favorite but there were definitely a lot of very hilarious moments. We were very fortunate to have a very funny group of people working on this. 

PPH: Are you acting with any old pals (or new acquaintances)? How has that been?

William: Yes! I’ve been in shows with Kristen Livengood (Amélie & The Three Little Pigs) and Lara Hollaway (Avenue Q & MIracle in Bedford Falls) and it was so wonderful after such a challenging year to get to work with some beloved familiar faces! It was also a lot of fun to get to know Daniel, Chris, Michelle and of course Jenny as we worked together.

PPH: Tell us a little bit about your character? What about your character is the least like you? 

William: He’s a precocious know-it-all with terrific style and a penchant for accents & costume. How could he be less like me? I mean really!

A Sherlock Holmes Radio Mystery will be streamed virtually on April 24th, at 7:30pm for ONE NIGHT ONLY! To purchase tickets, please click here.

Actor Spotlight: Nick Ryan

Today we are speaking with Nick Ryan, who will be playing Dr. Watson in our upcoming virtual production of A Sherlock Holmes Radio Mystery.

Nick Ryan

PPH: Tell us a bit about yourself!

Nick: This radio drama is actually only my second project in six years, since I graduated with my Masters in Theater Performance from West Virginia University  I was extremely excited to return to Parkway Playhouse, having worked there early in the 2010s, and I have some great memories there of the community and the work we did! (The Martins are the best host family any actor could ask for!)

PPH: Were you familiar with Sherlock Holmes, or any of Arthur Conan Doyle’s works before this process?

Nick: I am a HUGE Sherlock Holmes fan, and am pretty familiar with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work, so it is a great experience to get to add a version of such a storied character to the world.  I’ve always found the interplay between Irene Adler and Sherlock Holmes to be especially interesting.

PPH: Are you acting with any old pals (or new acquaintances)? How has that been?

Nick: Through this show, I’ve had a chance to reconnect with both Daniel Moore and Jenny Martin, who are both just excellent performers and collaborators.  It’s also been great to get to know and meet all of the new folks working with Parkway.  We all seem to like each other well and the chemistry has been fantastic.

PPH: Tell us a little bit about your character? What about your character is the least like you?

Nick: Watson is unique in this particular version of the Sherlock Holmes story because he can’t just be an interested party, he’s also the reliable narrator that the story is told through.  It’s almost like playing two different characters at the same time, as you need to be Watson as the events of the story happen and then Watson with the benefit of hindsight, looking back on what you learned and experienced.  Watson has this great sense of reliability that lends a stability to the show that I’d like to believe I emulate in real life, but probably fall short of.

PPH: What would you like the audience to take away from this production?

Nick: I hope the audience takes away that theater, even done during a pandemic recorded over Zoom, is accessible to everyone, both to watch and to perform.  The whole experience is to let everyone have a good time and maybe to tell a story we can all relate to along the way. 

A Sherlock Holmes Radio Mystery will be streamed virtually on April 24th, at 7:30pm for ONE NIGHT ONLY! To purchase tickets, please click here.

Actor Spotlight: Lara Hollaway

Today we are speaking with Lara Hollaway, who will be playing Irene Adler in our upcoming virtual production of A Sherlock Holmes Radio Mystery.

Lara Hollaway

PPH: Where are you from? What’s your theatre background? 

Lara: I started my acting career in Birmingham, AL when I was just 11 years old, and was chosen out of several hundred little girls as the understudy to Annie with Fannie Flagg and Robert Alda.  I have performed in musicals and plays throughout the US since then, spending a lot of my professional career in Los Angeles. Some of my favorite roles have been: Sally in You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, Kate in Pirates of Penzance, Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street, Agnes in Gypsy with JoAnne Worley, a Lost Boy in Peter Pan with Cathy Rigby, Helen in Bye Bye Birdie, Texas in Cabaret, Ellen in If I Forget. After spending a few years in both NYC and Austin, my husband Matt and I moved to Asheville in 2018, and we both began performing right away for several theatres around town. Some of my favorite Asheville performances thus far include Cecily Pigeon in The Odd Couple (SART), Kate Monster in Avenue Q (ACT), Halina in Indecent (The Magnetic),, Karen in Dinner With Friends (Attic Salt),, Hennie in Awake and Sing and Marie-Louis in The Constant Wife (TAP). Longing for a creative outlet during COVID, I recently decided to a YouTube Channel teaching people of all ages how to tap dance.  Feel free to check it out: Lara Hollaway- Tap Tutorials

PPH: Are you having fun with accents? Any tongue twisters in there for you? 

Lara: I have always loved doing accents. It’s hard work for me for sure, but I’m thoroughly enjoying working on Irene’s Standard British. With every role that requires an accent, I’ve found that there is always a line or two that trips up the tongue and becomes daunting. Of course, the more I concentrate on saying that bit correctly, the worse it can sometimes get. Funnily enough, the line “I am Irene Adler” is that line for me in this play. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood in front of my mirror saying this line and laughing at the way it ultimately comes out. 

PPH: Are you acting with any old pals (or new acquaintances)? 

Lara: YES! I was so pleased to learn that I would be doing this show with both Will Ezzell and Daniel Moore. Will was Trekkie Monster to my Kate Monster in Avenue Q at ACT in 2018. We had loads of fun in that production! We were also slated to work together in Sister Act at SART last summer, prior to the season cancellation due to COVID. Daniel and I performed together at The Magnetic in the NC Premiere of Indecent in 2019, and I was determined to work with him again in the future. Both of these guys are outrageously talented and I am thrilled to have the chance to share the stage with them once again!  I am also really enjoying getting to know all of the other actors as well. Everyone in this cast is a joy, and rehearsals have been full of laughter…which has been MUCH needed when you’re stuck at home and away from the theatre! 

A Sherlock Holmes Radio Mystery will be streamed virtually on April 24th, at 7:30pm for ONE NIGHT ONLY! To purchase tickets, please click here.

Actor Spotlight: Kristen Livengood

Kristen Livengood

Today we are speaking with Kristen Livengood, who will be playing the maid in our upcoming virtual production of A Sherlock Holmes Radio Mystery.

PPH: Are you acting with any old pals (or new acquaintances)? How has that been?

Kristen: I have to say that it is so nice to have rehearsals again.  While I have found joy spending much more time with my family during the pandemic, I will say going back into rehearsals and being creative with other people has been a breath of fresh air.  It’s so nice to get to work with Jenny, Daniel and Will again.  I feel like I’ve been able to catch up with them and see how they’re doing, and have really enjoyed creating with them again.  It’s also so nice that while we’re still stuck at home, I’m getting to make some new friends in Michelle, Nick and Lara.

PPH: What makes this particular experience unique?

Kristen: This is an incredibly unique experience, in that I’ve never performed over Zoom before.  What I like about this is that it’s a radio show.  I had the pleasure in performing in It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play with Parkway Playhouse about 7 years ago, and I just love that it’s so much more focused on sound.  It’s so fun to play with voices, accents and sound effects.

A Sherlock Holmes Radio Mystery will be streamed virtually on April 24th, at 7:30pm for ONE NIGHT ONLY! To purchase tickets, please click here.

Chocolate Sensation: A Season Celebration

Final 2019 Gala Invitation

Our 73rd Parkway Playhouse season has almost ended and it’s time to celebrate!

Kick up your heels, get ready to party, and bring your sweet tooth to our 3rd Annual Chocolate Sensation and Season Celebration on Friday, October 11 from 6:30 to 9:00

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Some of the chocolate from our 2018 Chocolate Sensation

We invite you to spend a decadent evening with staff and board members. 

The evening will feature Karaoke, Performances from Parkway Playhouse Jr., the announcement of our 2020 season, and Silent & Live Auctions.

This is sure to be a fun event for all!  Be sure to sign up to sing your favorite Broadway show tune – karaoke style!  We can’t wait to celebrate with you!

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Karaoke!

Raise your glass to the arts!  Join us in recognizing the benefit the arts play in entertaining our community, educating our youth, and providing rewarding theatre opportunities for all ages.  

RSVP if you plan to attend, so we’re sure to have enough food and drink for everyone.  Just click here and then click Yes, call (828) 682-4285 or email rsvp@parkwayplayhouse.com to let us know you’re coming.

Suggested donation of $25 per person or $50 per family. We will accept cash, checks, and credit/debit cards at the Welcome Table on the evening of the event.

A special thank you to our supporters and table sponsors:

Appalachian Java & Cafe
Carolina Mountain Realty
DJ StevieG
Edward Jones – Financial Advisor: Jim Gentry Jr
Flowers by Vance
Fox Hill Meadery
Garden Deli & Snap Dragon
Ingles Supermarket
Jill’s Hairport
Mountain Community Health Partnership
Pig & Grits
Something Special Gift Shop & Monkey Business Toy Shop
White Falls Catering

And thanks to all our supporters—actors, volunteers, donors, families, friends…and our community.

We wouldn’t have been here for seven decades without your help.

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Musician Spotlight: The Amélie Band

We are so lucky to have assembled one of the best group of musicians in the area for our production of Amélie!

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PPH: Tell us a bit about yourself! 

Emily EldridgeI play violin, and I am going into my sophomore year at Covenant College. I am majoring in music theory and have been playing violin for 8 years. This is my first time doing a musical, but I was in my school’s orchestra all through middle school, high school, and now college. I also played with the Asheville Symphony Youth Orchestra for 2 years, and I play in an ensemble every Sunday at First Presbyterian Church of Weaverville. 

Sarah FowlerI am the Music Director and pianist. I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Piano Pedagogy from Western Carolina University which is where I work, both in the School of Stage and Screen and in the School of Music. This is my sixth production at Parkway — previously I was the Asst. MD for ALL SHOOK UP and was the MD for BONNIE AND CLYDE, INTO THE WOODS JR., and GODSPELL. I also played several performances of FOOTLOOSE.  

Sara NicholsI grew up in Bradenton, Florida- but found out I was actually a mountain girl after attending Mars Hill University. I’ve been making music in WNC ever since on both upright and electric bass. You can catch me in one of the many regional pits or orchestras. This is my third show at the Parkway Playhouse.

Matthew Richmond: I’m a percussionist and composer, and I teach music at UNCA. This is my 4th production at Parkway Playhouse – previously I’ve done THE KING AND I, GODSPELL, and subbed a few nights of FOOTLOOSE.

Misty Theisen:  For AMÉLIE I am playing flute, bass flute, clarinet, and bass clarinet. I have a Bachelors in Music Education and a Masters in Flute performance from the University of Southern Mississippi. Currently, I teach woodwinds and music education at Mars Hill University. This is my second show at Parkway Playhouse, the first being BONNIE AND CLYDE. 

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PPH: What has been your favorite part of the rehearsal process so far?

EldridgeMy favorite part of the rehearsal process has been getting to see and hear how the music goes with the story and everything happening on stage. 

FowlerThroughout the rehearsal process, you watch these talented actors develop their characters, and the final product going into tech is always great! But there is a subtle magic that happens on the night when they wear their costumes for the first time. You finally see their character come to life, and it is incredible how it transforms their vocal confidence. That is always my favorite part of the process. (Shout out to Samantha and her brilliant costume design.) 

NicholsMy favorite part of the rehearsal process so far has been getting to actually watch the show! Due to an injury I had to take a night off playing and got to sit in the audience- something about being a performer is never getting to experience the show the way the crowd does. It made the showmake so much more sense.

TheisenIt’s amazing to see how a show coheres together and becomes moving piece of art in such a short time. The interplay between all the artists on and off the stage is such a magical process. 

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PPH: What is your favorite musical number in the production?

EldridgeMy favorite musical number in this production is “Where Do We Go From Here.”

Fowler: Even though this amazing cast has given me a reason to love every single song, my favorite is “Stay”, mostly due to the ensemble. They only sing a total of seven measures, but juxtaposed against the beautiful vulnerability that Amélie and Nino are bringing onstage, you feel every emotion in the room during those seven measures. It’s incredibly moving.

NicholsI love Hunter as Elton John in “Goodbye, Amélie”! Hunter’s so well cast in that role…..plus sparkle feather jacket, attitude, and sweet bass lines!

Richmond“Stay.” It’s a simple and beautiful song that could stand alone, and in the context of a show about imagination its sincerity is very powerful.

TheisenI truly love every minute of this gorgeous show, “Times are Hard for Dreamers” and “When the Booth Goes Bright” are my top two!

 

PPH: What do you like about performing/playing at Parkway Playhouse?

Fowler: The professionalism, organization, and communication are just three of the many things that I value and appreciate about Parkway Playhouse. I think the world of Kristen Livengood and admire what she has done for this theatre. To be perfectly honest, I love everything about Parkway and what it provides to its actors, its patrons, and to the community. 

NicholsAMÉLIE has been a great show to be a part of- Parkway Playhouse has a great team of people who think creatively and innovatively to get the job done.

 

PPH: Are you playing with any old pals (or new acquaintances)? How has that been?

FowlerWe have joked that we are living out the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game. Sara and I went to college together, so we have known each other for 16 years. Sara and Matthew play together in the Asheville Symphony. Matthew and I have played several shows together, the first being in 2015 which was also the first show that Misty and I ever played together. (Fun fact: AMÉLIE will be the 13th show that Misty and I have done together with 5 more upcoming.) She and I are former members and board members of the Asheville Community Band. When Emily was in middle school, Misty was her strings teacher. I have known Emily for the last 7 years because she plays in my church orchestra at the First Presbyterian Church in Weaverville where I’m the Music Director. Misty plays there throughout the year and for all of my Christmas and Easter programs, and Sara’s husband has played for me as well. Matthew will be playing there for the first time this Christmas. We’re all well-connected at this point!

NicholsWe also added a chicken that we’ve lovingly monikered “Princess Di-Henna”,  you won’t hear her say much, but she remains an integral part of our team.

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PPH: What makes this particular experience unique?

FowlerGrowing up, I lived inside of my head a lot and had a very vivid imagination — one of the reasons I can connect with Amélie. When I was a kid I had a beta fish named Cleo. I remember sticking my finger in her tank, and she would come to the surface and nibble at my finger while I talked to her. I one hundred percent believed that Cleo would talk to me if she could. In our show, William Ezzell (who is so incredibly talented) plays Fluffy, the goldfish. The first time I saw this scene come to life, I was immediately transported back to my childhood and to Cleo. AMÉLIE has a way of making you believe in youthful magic all over again, and that is unique. I’m forever grateful to my amazing friend, Dwight Chiles, for allowing me to be a part of these beautiful productions like AMÉLIE. He is one of the most creative, kind, and supportive humans I’ve ever known. 

NicholsI believe this is everyone’s first time playing THIS show. In circles of professional musicians its very rare to find that- it mean’s we all had the same learning to do, but also no preconceived ideas about who was supposed to be sounding a certain way.

 

PPH: What have been some of the challenges, musically? What are some of the highlights?

FowlerI love a show in which the plot is propelled through music, and AMÉLIE is one of those shows. Everything flows so seemlessly that you have no idea that over an hour has passed when the lights come up for intermission. The challenge with a show like this, other than physical and mental stamina, is making sure that everything you play lines up perfectly with what is happening on stage. It requires more looking at the action on stage than it does at the actual music. 

NicholsWhen I started the practice and rehearsals I thought I would be playing upright bass for this show- we wanted the warmer natural tones, but after a couple rehearsals an injury to one of my fingers forced switching to electric bass, which meant quick thinking to catch up on a different instrument.

 

PPH: What drew you to Parkway Playhouse or to this particular show?

Eldridge: When I was asked to play for this show, I didn’t know much about Parkway Playhouse or Amélie, but I have really enjoyed being part of this and playing the music.