The youngest actor in On Golden Pond, Turner Weinmeister is already garnering accolades for his performances. At the Junior Theatre Festival in Atlanta this past January he was recognized as an All-Star for his role as James in James & the Giant Peach, Jr. and The Mountain Xpress gives his portrayal of Billy Ray a “nice job!”
PP: What has been different about your role in this play–compared to others you’ve been in?
Turner: In this production, what’s different than all my other shows, is there is a very small cast…which, in my perspective, is easier to work with. I also like the shift in mood. In all my other plays, I play light-hearted characters. In this play, I’m more bratty and mean.
PP: When you’re not acting, what else to you do?
Turner: Other than plays, I play a lot of soccer, run track for East Yancey Middle School, snowboard and surf, play piano and flute, hike, travel to exotic and popular landmarks, and make straight A’s.
PP: Rumor has it one of your favorite scenes is the one where you get to “cuss”…
Turner: I do enjoy the scene between me and Norman because it’s a lot of fun to see the relationship between an 80-year-old and a bratty 13-year-old. I know this is strange coming from a kid like me, but it’s strangely nice to cuss. I think it’s because it’s fun to let loose and be a little inappropriate at times and this role does that for me.
Turner (and the rest of the cast) have three performances this coming weekend, but only two the weekend after that. Make plans and get tickets in advance!
Because On Golden Pond opens Mother’s Day weekend, we continue the actor profiles in which a few of the actors’ mothers shine a spotlight on their children’s acting careers. Virginia Elderbrock gives us a sneak peak at Steve’s life-long love of the stage.
“The first play I really remember that Steve was in was Damn Yankees his sophomore year at Findlay High school in Findlay, Ohio, but I know he had been in lots of plays before that.”
“When he was about six we took him to see the his first musical at Findlay High School. It was Fiddler on the Roof, and for days after he saw it he was doing all the dances on the coffee table in our family room. From that time onward his greatest desire was to star in one of the Findlay High School musicals.”
“His sophomore year (Findlay was a 3-years high school in those days), he auditioned for the part of Applegate (the devil) in Damn Yankees, and was thrilled when he got it! I remember that I picked him up after school the day the cast was posted, and he came literally “floating” out of the building. We went to all of the performances and his singing and dancing brought down the house at each one. That is probably the role I have most enjoyed seeing him play because I knew how long he had waited for that moment.”
Steve continues to challenge himself as an actor: On Golden Pond marks the first time he has played two roles in a single play. And if you’d also like to play two roles (as an audience member and a party-goer) make plans to attend our Opening Night Performance… which is always followed by the Opening Night Party!Click here to purchase tickets.
In light of the opening of On Golden Pond coinciding with Mother’s Day weekend, we thought it’d be fun to have a few of the actors’ moms shine a spotlight on their acting careers, so we interviewed the moms!
We start out with actress Jen Russ, who has graced the stage in a number of Parkway Playhouse performances over the years… and who now has joined the Board. (And threw a great Gala party this past weekend, too!) Her mother, Gail West, is the epitome of the Proud Stage Mom… for good reason.
PP: Do you remember the first play Jen was in?
Gail:The first play Jen was in was The Wizard of Oz. She was the most adorable 4 year-old Wicked Witch. Her Grandmother made her costume and it took Jen one day to memorize her lines…..she was a natural!! I never had to encourage her to be on stage, she was very comfortable and not a bit nervous. Definite standing ovations!!
PP: Are you surprised Jen is performing in theatres all over Western North Carolina?
Gail: I am not surprised at all. Jen has always enjoyed all kinds of music, singing, piano, and French Horn and never minded playing in front of an audience. When she decided to take some acting lessons as an adult, I knew she would be a success.
PP: What is one of your favorite memories of Jen?
Gail: One of my favorite memories of Jen was when she was in High School and I was attending a Chorus Concert. All of a sudden she was on stage singing a solo, The Boy From New York City, with 4 back-up singers. It was a huge surprise for me and the audience loved it. I couldn’t have been more proud of her!!
Every live performance brings a surprise, so we hope you join us at Parkway Playhouse to see what special moment you get to be a part of. Come see Jen on stage in On Golden Pond.Click here to purchase tickets.
She might not top Barthomew Cubbins, but Angie Hotlzclaw wears a number of hats in the theatre community… and she’s trying on a few more!
You may know her as the drama teacher at Mountain Heritage High School, which, by the way, happens to be opening their Spring performance of Arsenic and Old Lacethis evening! Break Legs!
The production features Lily Rountree and Ciara Laws as Abby and Martha Brewster; Tyler Clark* and Caitlin Housley as Mortimer & Elaine; with Gavin Henry* and Aneka Happer* as Jonathan & Dr. Einstein. (Poster design by Gavin Henry and Paloma Soto*)
Note the cross-over between the two programs… the students with an * have also appeared on the Parkway Playhouse stage (as have many more not mentioned in the press release).
Angie Holtzclaw herself has now donned a few Parkway Playhouse hats. We are so pleased she has joined the Board this year and will also be directing and teaching in newly structured Parkway Playhouse Junior education programs. “It is exciting to live in a community where theatres collaborate and support each other,” she says.
The show she’s directing this summer is the 2-week long production camp of…
Additionally, the fall, she’ll be teaching a playwriting class for high school students. Read more about it HERE.
So, if you’re looking for something to do on this rainy, cold weekend, check out the drama department’s production at Mountain Heritage. If you happen to catch the show on Friday or Sunday… we also know of another fun event on Saturday.
Yes, there are two talented, intelligent, beautiful, hard-working Olivias in this cast! Olivia Hughes is also a Junior at Mountain Heritage High School who participates in… well, continue reading to see her busy schedule! For her 23rd show in 7 years (yes, you read that right!), she has been cast as the Baker’s Wife.
PPJR: What has been different about your role than the others you’ve been involved with?
The Baker’s Wife is possibly the most real character I have ever gotten to play. Looking back on previous roles, I have played the showgirl, a philosophical monkey, and even a real girl who lived in Appalachia over a century ago. The Baker’s Wife is someone who I can more easily connect to as far as her moral conflicts and motives. I do not connect with her overall plight throughout the show, but I have found more similarities in characters between the two of us than with any other character which has made this role especially fun to delve deeper into.
PPJR: What other activities other than Parkway Playhouse Junior are you involved in?
I am a part of the MHHS Show Choir which meets every week. I am a part of the Get The Hook improv comedy troop at Parkway Playhouse. I also take private voice lessons once a week and dance lessons 3 days a week. I usually go to one activity after school, and then carpool to Parkway for rehearsals in the evening with a friend, (on Thursday’s it’s flipped with Ballet after rehearsal).
Come out and see the Olivias this weekend – April 28-30. Friday and Saturday at 6pm and the special Understudy Performance on Sunday at 3. Tickets available at the door.
Olivia Morgan, a junior at Mountain Heritage High School, will cast a spell over you as the Witch in this weekend’s performance of Into the Woods, Jr. at Parkway Playhouse.
PPJR: So, this is your 11th show at Parkway Playhouse… That’s a lot! What has been different this time around?
Olivia: The physicality of the Witch is something I’ve struggled with throughout this entire process, and honestly I’m still working on it. I feel like she has a very distinct way of movement, and I’m still experimenting with it. However, I feel as though I’ve found the way she thinks and acts, and her vocal quality. Before this show, finding the physicality of my roles has been much easier. I’ve enjoyed the challenge!
PPJR: Is there someone you model yourself after?
Olivia: With this role, it’s hard not to find all of your inspiration in the great Meryl Streep. Her rendition of the Witch, in my opinion, is absolutely amazing. Of course, I have found inspiration in her, but I try my hardest at every rehearsal to make this role my own and really connect with the Witch.
In Olivia’s own words:
I’ve been with Parkway Playhouse Junior since 2012, and the Parkway Playhouse Main Stage shows since 2014. Joining this program has absolutely changed my life for the better. I completely changed as a person when I began working in the theatre. Working as an apprentice for the past two years has been a blessing as well. I’ve learned so much about the theatre, and how to ultimately live a good life. The lessons you learn in the theatre expand throughout your entire life. Not just acting!
Traveling to the Junior Theatre Festival with PPHJr for the past 3 years has given me the experience of a lifetime. Not only have I been able to meet many different people from around the world, but I’ve gotten to enrich my theatre experience in so many different ways through this amazing program. (And meet some famous people as well!) I’ll forever be thankful for the amazing people and experiences at the Parkway Playhouse, and I can’t wait to go see the main stage productions this summer! Enjoy the show!
Into the Woods, Jr. has performances this Friday and Saturday at 6pm. On Sunday, several of the understudies will step into the lime light for the 3pm show. Tickets are available at the door.
We know your mother always said no desserts before dinner… but how about a sweet start to the 71st Mainstage Season at Parkway Playhouse? Saturday, May 6 marks our pre-season Chocolate Sensation celebration and we know you’re looking for something fun to do!
We invite you to join us from 6:30 to 8:30 and spend a decadent evening with your friends and ours at the Burnsville Town Center dancing to live music, enjoying a few select numbers by Parkway Playhouse Junior performers, and nibbling on some delicious chocolate.
The music will be provided by Debbie Phillips and her 42nd Street Jazz Band and additional entertainment will showcase the young, up-and-coming Into the Woods, Jr. actors.
Raise your glass to the arts! Join staff and board in recognizing the benefit the arts play in entertaining our community, educating our youth, and providing rewarding theatre opportunities for all ages. Mostly, though, kick up your heels and have some fun dancing in Burnsville!
RSVP if you plan to attend, so we’re sure to have enough food and drink for everyone. Just call (828) 682-4285 to let us know you’re coming.
Suggested $20 donation per person. We will accept cash, checks, and credit/debit cards at the Welcome Table on the evening of the event.