Actor Spotlight: Karen Covington-Yow (with a cameo by Mike)

Karen is yet another major contributor to the talented vocal abilities of the cast of Bonnie & Clyde.  You may remember her from Little Shop of Horrors last summer, but might not have realized it was her playing Clyde’s mother thanks to the powers of transformation given to costuming and make-up.
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PP:  Do you have a favorite scene or song in this show? 

Karen:  My favorite song/scene in the show is when we get to sing “God’s Arms Are Always Open.”  It’s my favorite because we really take the audience to church.  I love looking out into the audience and seeing their faces during that scene, and even hear a few Amens at the end!  And, of course, it’s always a challenge when the audience tries to clap along because a lot of people clap on 1 and 3 instead of 2 and 4 (and our Music Director Sarah Fowler has been known to kill people for that)!  And I get to hear my hubby, Mike Yow, wail up there as the preacher (with a little James Brown thrown in).  How can I not love that?

PP:  What is your favorite prop?

My favorite prop is the chicken that Young Clyde shoots during the prologue.  I have named her Priscilla, and she looks like she’s seen better days!  I feel a little sorry for her that she has such a short life.
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Levi Bradford (lighting and sound designer) displays the bedraggled Pricilla, though the real “props” for the chicken go to Prop Designer Robby Taylor.

PP:  We often ask the Parkway Playhouse Junior performers if they’ve made any new friends during rehearsals, but the same would go for you–especially in a large-cast musical. So, have you made any new friends?

Karen:  Of course I have made new friends!  That is definitely the best part of theatre!  I truly cherish every friendship I have made through the theatre, and since I have moved a lot in my life, it has proven to be a quick way to get a whole new group of friends. That’s how I met my husband Mike! I am also grateful that I got to work with old friends in this show both onstage and behind the scenes, including Annelise, Trissa, Dwight, Sarah, Luke, Misty, Sandy, Jessica, Dakota, Levi, and Bruce.

PP:  Got anything else to add, Mike?

My favorite musical number is also Gods Arms Always Open, mainly because I get to sing pretty at first and get all “soul-ful” at the end. And I usually don’t like my own musical numbers as much as everyone else’s, so this may be saying a lot. Also, I’ve not worked with many of the cast-members of this show prior, so it’s been great making new friends and contacts. Furthermore, I’m getting to share the stage with my sweet and talented spouse, Karen.

As a couple, Karen and Mike also have a notorious reputation for being in great theatre productions!  Make it your mission to hunt them down.

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Call 828.682.4285 to purchase tickets or get them ONLINE.

Showtimes the next two weekends are as follows:

  • Friday, July 14 @ 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, July 15 @ 7:30 pm
  • Sunday, July 16 @ 3pm
  • Friday, July 21 @ 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, July 22 @ 7:30 pm

The Accidental Texas Ranger: Ric Cedergren

You’ve heard of The Accidental Tourist, but Ric became the accidental actor this spring. He took his son (Leif) to open auditions, (and because he’s such a nice guy) ended up reading lines to just to help others try out… so got cast as Frank Hamer!

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Ric & Leif backstage where Leif has signed the wall (door) from his previous productions as a part of an old Parkway Playhouse tradition.

PP:  What have you learned about yourself as a performer preparing for this show?

Ric:  I have a fairly small, yet important role, as retired Texas Ranger Frank Hamer. Hamer is the the man hired to bring in Clyde dead or alive.  My personality is confident, but not usually so commanding. I also never imagined myself performing as a Pentecostal choir member in a choreographed dance routine.  I think I have learned to let go a little.  My response to these challenges is, in the words of Frank Hamer:   “I was hired to do a job. Let’s go get ‘em.”   

PP:  What is your favorite rehearsal moment?

Ric: Learning from failure.  When I missed a cue on my first entrance at a tech week rehearsal, I momentarily was in a kind of shock, not knowing what to do.  Then I heard Lily Bartleson (Ma Ferguson) yell, “Hamer!”  It was like a perfectly placed slap to the face. I immediately knew what to do next.

PP: If we’re not mistaken, this is the first time you’ve been in a show here AND the first time you’ve been in a show with your son.  How has that experience been? Do you recommend it for other parents/children?

I do recommend this experience. We always have something to talk about which is sometimes a challenge for parents and teenagers.  We both love the music and the challenge of performing.  Technically,  I have no formal training in acting though I come from a very musical family and grew up around the theatre. My father was lead in many musical theatre productions.

I may be following in Randall Garland’s footsteps. It was just a few years ago that Randall followed his son Gabe into an audition.  Randall does a great job playing a local Sheriff. We have a scene where we stare each other down of which I hope to get a picture.

PP:  What do you like about acting at Parkway Playhouse?

Dwight Chiles is a director who works expertly with creativity and talent. It has made this experience a privilege. I love watching so many of the actors and actresses that I knew as students.  It is an honor to be in “their world,”  and to see them working so passionately and professionally. I have also enjoyed getting to know many of the professionals who have given me the opportunity to see how a production like this comes together backstage.

PP:  What do you think audiences will enjoy about the musical?

This is a truly unique musical.  I have never seen anything like it.  I never expected to be part of anything this big when I accepted my role.  The singing in this play is fantastic.  

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You will also want to be a part of something this BIG!

Call 828.682.4285 to purchase tickets or get them ONLINE.

Showtimes the next two weekends are as follows:

  • Friday, July 14 @ 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, July 15 @ 7:30 pm
  • Sunday, July 16 @ 3pm
  • Friday, July 21 @ 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, July 22 @ 7:30 pm

Actor Spotlight: Summer Kiesel

Summer Kiesel is also making her Parkway Playhouse Mainstage debut, but she’s already made her mark here behind the scenes!

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Summer holds forth during “You’re Going Back to Jail”

PP:  So, give us a little background on your theatre-life!

I’m originally from Tampa, Fl and graduated last year from High Point University with a theatre degree. I moved to Asheville after singing at Lake Junaluska in the summer and have been taking classes at NYS3 Meisner Conservatory for the past year.

PP:  What prompted you to audition for Bonnie and Clyde?

I got to know Parkway and the wonderful people here when I was the Music Director for Jungle Book KIDS this past spring. Everyone I met was so welcoming and friendly and it made me want to come out and audition for the mainstage shows!
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PP:  Do you have a favorite rehearsal moment?

Every time we run “You’re Going Back to Jail” I always have so much fun. Everyone involved in that scene is hilarious and I love getting to play a little in a show that has so many tragic moments.
So, come out and see the talent we have teaching our students! And then, make plans to see our talented student performers at the end of July!
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Call 828.682.4285 to purchase tickets or get them ONLINE.

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Middle School Talent in Bonnie & Clyde is NOT Middle of the Road! Meet Faith, Aaron, Rigel & Leif

It is evident that theatre is important to our community when you look at the brilliant young performers we have in the cast of Bonnie & Clyde. They are a product of their own hard work, committed parents, and collaborative teachers in both the public schools and Parkway Playhouse Junior theatre education program.
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Faith Creech plays a younger Bonnie dreaming of making it big.

PP: How has Parkway Playhouse Junior prepared you for the main stage?

Faith: It helped me build confidence in acting for more advanced productions.

PP:  What do you like about acting at Parkway Playhouse?

Faith: When I first joined Parkway Playhouse Junior, everyone was very welcoming and it’s a very supportive community. I felt like I instantly belonged, making me want to do more plays with Parkway.

PP:  We often ask the Parkway Playhouse Junior performers if they’ve made any new friends during rehearsals, but what about in a Mainstage performance? 

Faith: Yes, I have made many friends with different backgrounds and I had no idea I would make so many great friends! Everyone is so supportive to each other which made me more confident to perform a mainstage show in front of a new community!

 

Rigel Happer is another one of the talented middle school Parkway Playhouse Junior student-actors who is transitioning up to the Mainstage this summer.

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For those of you unfamiliar with the area, you really should plan more than an evening at the theatre in Yancey County. We put on a great show, yes… but the mountain views are also show-stoppers!

PP:  Do you have a favorite song in the show?

Rigel:  My favorite song in the show is “Made in America”. It is an ensemble number. I like the song because it’s cool and fun to sing.

PP:  So, as you go through the rehearsals do you have a favorite moment in the play or a favorite memory from rehearsal?

Rigel:  My favorite rehearsal moment is when Bonnie and Clyde are arguing about whose name should come first when they give an autograph to a fan in the show.
We think Bonnie might be pleased that history always puts her first.
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Parkway Playhouse Junior proves a great training ground for both actors and tech crew.
You can also learn more about Leif (plaid shirt) from a past Actor Profile…
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Aaron Neighbors (as young Clyde) also has past past Spotlights if you’re curious.
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Ultimately, though, your curiosity should prompt you to…

call 828.682.4285 to purchase tickets or get them ONLINE.

You’ll definitely want to be able to say, “I saw them back when they were performing at Parkway Playhouse!”

Actor Spotlight: Briar Boggs as Clyde

As Briar is new to the Parkway Playhouse stage we had to ask him all the “get to know you” questions… and turns out, he’s no stranger to the stage, though he is new here.  Of course, if you happened to catch the show last weekend, it was probably pretty obvious he knew what he was doing.

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PP: Where are you from? Where have you studied?

I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, where I spent most of my childhood doing non-theatre related activities; such as, playing sports all year long and taking every opportunity I could to relax and play video games with my friends. It wasn’t until high school that I took interest in theatre and decided that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. I went on to spend the first two years of my collegiate training at The Florida School of the Arts, where I performed in multiple mainstage productions; such as Les Miserables, Anatomy of Gray, Goodnight Desdemona (Goodmorning Juliet), The Addams Family, and The Mousetrap.

After that, I transferred to Western Carolina University to pursue my BFA in Acting and spent the past year being a part of some pretty amazing productions! During my junior year, I had the opportunity to be in the casts of In The Soundless Awe, a New Work co-written by our Stage& Screen Director, Jayme McGhan; King Lear, where I acted alongside leading Shakespearean actor Dennis Krausnick; and HAIR, where I got to work with Annelise (Bonnie) for the first time and Tony – Nominated Actor Terrence Mann, who directed the show; as well as working on my very first short film, Around & Around. So I think it’s safe to say that I’m pretty excited for my senior year at Western and all the awesome opportunities that I have left in my collegiate career.

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PP: Do you have a favorite scene or song in this show? Why is it your favorite?

Since this show is packed with so many great moments and beautiful music, this particular question is pretty hard to answer. But if I had to pick, my favorite moment/scene would have to be last one in the play with Annelise and I because you realize how much our characters have changed since the very beginning of the show when they met.

They go from two kids, who have all these dreams and aspirations to young glorified gangsters, who commit crimes and kill people if they have to. Even Bonnie & Clyde themselves realize this evolution because they share a moment of acceptance for their fate as we fade out. It’s truly a beautiful moment and I can’t wait for everyone to see it.

As far as my favorite song is concerned, I would have to go with the song I serenade Bonnie with near the end of Act 2 called “Bonnie” because of how slow, pretty, and non – musical theatre the song is. Now as much as I enjoy a good show tune, there has to be a time where I can listen to “every day” kind of music, when I’m going on a run or sitting in my car driving down the highway. And finally, I found that song that gives me both elements and that I can sing at karaoke if I ever feel the urge to be romantic without anyone ever knowing that it is from a musical.

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PP: Did you do additional research about the two, or did you rely more heavily for character development on the actual script?

I did a bit of both actually. Now of course, you really want to do Bonnie & Clyde justice by giving historic accuracy to their characters and to do that, you need to do a ton of research. The moment that I found that I was cast as Clyde, I did everything I could to prepare; I read articles, fun facts, and even watched the original 1967 film and several other film adaptations of the infamous pair. To be able to portray a historical figure is kind of a dream come true for me as an actor because I consider myself a history buff and learning every bit of information about Bonne &Clyde was so fascinating to the extent that all I did was talk about their lives to my friends and family for a couple months.

Now on the other hand, it’s always important to make sure that your take on a character is as different as possible from how others played it, which means you have to find places in the script that you personally can relate to and make it your own. That is why I always find it interesting to see other people play a role because in some moments of the show, where you didn’t have much of a reaction could become something super beautiful, simply because a new actor had a different approach. So all in all, it’s about finding a balance between doing your own unique thing but also not losing the history that we all know and love.

PP:  What do you think audiences will like about Bonnie & Clyde?

All I can really say is that this show is very under the radar. From the music and the characters and the story, you get nothing but quality. This show has romance, action, drama, and suspense all wrapped up into one. I mean who doesn’t love the thought of watching a show about the most notorious young couple in history while also listening to them sing along to rock, gospel, and blues influenced music?

But to be honest, the greatest thing about this particular production is the rest of the cast and creative team; they are the ones who really make this show worth a visit. Dwight Chiles, our director, has done an amazing job by choosing the right group of people to bring this production to life. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you Annelise (Bonnie), Luke (Buck), Christine (Blanche), and the rest of the cast is going to bring you joy, laughter, and tears during your time seeing this show. So if you want to purge all your emotions in one night, this show is definitely for you!

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You have five more chances to catch this amazing cast bring the story of Bonnie & Clyde to life.

Call 828.682.4285 to purchase tickets or get them ONLINE.

Actor Spotlight: Olivia Hughes as a Younger Bonnie Parker

Olivia is one of those homegrown talents who has taken advantage of every opportunity at Parkway Playhouse: as a student performer in Parkway Playhouse Junior, as a summer apprentice working both behind the scenes and onstage, and as a mainstage performer.

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PP:  What are the differences between Junior and Mainstage productions for you? 

Olivia:  One thing I have always loved about being in Mainstage shows is watching and working with the professionals. I have found that this makes me push myself and hold myself to higher standards than usual. However, in Junior productions, I have been given more opportunities to play lead roles in musicals than I have on the Mainstage. As one of the “big kids” in these shows, I am someone that the younger students are watching, so it’s a weird switch from when I am one of the youngest actors in the mainstage shows. Sadly, this is my last year with Parkway Playhouose Jr. as I am a rising senior, but I am so thankful for the past six years with this program and everything it has taught me!

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PP: Since you are playing a younger version of Annelise, what have you done to be her? Have you tried adopting any of her mannerisms or inflections? 

50bccde47f981e9911477c2fb401f61d-bonnie-parker-bonnie-clydeOlivia:  I play fifteen year old Bonnie, so I play her a little brattier than Annelise does, but her dreams of fame were a major part of her identity even before then. I mainly try to portray Bonnie to be a headstrong and determined woman as Annelise seems to do so flawlessly.

As far as mannerisms go, I didn’t intentionally pick up on any. However, in a recent rehearsal I was watching a scene for the first time and noticed something she did and thought, “I do that when I’m singing in Picture Show at the beginning!” It’s a very Clara Bow type of pose, so maybe we both drew our inspiration from that.

You too will be inspired by the incredible music, voices, and talent on the stage during this show! Make plans to see it today.

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Call 828.682.4285 to purchase tickets or get them ONLINE.

Actor Spotlight: Lily Bartleson

Not only does Lily Bartleson play two roles in Bonnie & Clyde (Trish and Governor Ferguson), you may recognize her friendly voice and bright smile when you stop by the Box Office or call to buy tickets this summer!

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PP: Do you have a favorite scene or song in this show?

Lily: I have a favorite scene and a favorite song. My favorite scene would have to be the first beauty parlor scene. Very humorous – a good look into the relationship of Blanche and Buck, as well as a sense of who her friend’s are (sassy and judgemental, but ridiculously funny). My favorite song, that I have recently fallen in love with, is Bonnie’s song, “How ‘Bout a Dance?” This is a very intimate song; however, those of us who are almost ready to make something of ourselves and find our place in this world (specifically in this industry) can relate. Some want to be known through fame, passion and drive. That’s what Bonnie wanted, too.

PP:  What do you think audiences will enjoy about the musical?

Lily:  This musical takes a magnifying glass on the two most notoriously known criminals during the 1930s. This isn’t just about stealing money or committing crimes. This story is about the life of those who suffered through the dust bowl and how they survived. The true story of real people making it through real events.

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So, call Lily in the Box Office and get a ticket to this amazing show: 828.682.4285 or purchase tickets ONLINE.

Bonnie & Clyde opens on Saturday, July 8 at 7:30pm and is followed by the traditional Opening Night Party.  Sunday’s 3pm performance is followed by a short opportunity to ask questions of the actors!