Parkway Playhouse “Fun”draiser* images-1


Come play with Playhouse ghosts and goblins and other things that go bump in the night to support Parkway’s educational program and the student trip to the Junior Theatre Festival in January. Dig deep in those pants pockets before they get scared off!





*who knew spiders could be so much “fun”?

No whispers here…it’s Fall Work Day at Parkway

Bring it on! Come and get it! Get it clean that is.


Twice a year, Parkway Playhouse cleans house. In the spring to get ready for the season—the cobwebs, dust bunnies, forgotten skittles under that one seat in row 12. In the fall, we do it again—wiping down the green room, aligning the costumes, arranging the “shop”, sweeping for those m & m’s left under seat 106.

DSC_0679And we do it all with help from the people we work with, the people we share with, our neighbors, friends, those who want to give a bit back to Parkway.





Join us this Saturday, October 22 from 10 to 2pm. Wear clothes that don’t care, gloves that do and bring a bag lunch (optional). The best thing is that you don’t have to be big and strong, just willing. There’s something for everyone. (It’s not all bend and stretch.)






BONUS: Remember…images

Join Us.

Actor’s Spotlight–Megan Gatts

gattsGatsby is the perfect vehicle for me. I hadn’t been in a non-musical in a while and thought it would just be fun to wear 1920’s fashions. I love Fitzgerald’s writing and his use of color as a symbol. And I found it curious that my last name, “Gatts,” was so close to “Gatsby”—half the reason that I read the novel in the first place.

Before Gatsby I was in the Grease ensemble. Before that, Seussical on Main stage. And five years ago in Boone, I was in my college’s production of The Vagina Monologues.

Gatsby consumes the weekend, but in between shows, I’ll admit life is slow at the moment. When I’m not working in the box office at Parkway Playhousetumblr_oa0z1qdwju1tqvueno1_500, I mostly hang out at home and try to convince myself to work on some art. When that gets old, I’ll catch whatever’s playing at Yancey Theatre, grab an iced coffee at Appalachian Java, or just do a little thrift shopping.

When I was in rehearsal, I had great fun. I adored making friends with the rest of the cast, but there was one moment that stands out—during our final “dress” rehearsal. None of our run crew and very few of our sound and lights people were available, so we opted to just do a quick run-through of the show with no costumes or makeup and go home early. It was hilarious! Gatsby is a totally different play when you do it at twice the speed and with a touch of irreverence. I was in a bit of a “show” rut that night and having some fun with it really perked me up.

When I was asked for my favorite line, I thought of many great ones, but one…“Gatsby turned out alright at the end. But it’s what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that’s been haunting me… and haunts me still.” That stuck with me. It’s an interesting thought, that a man who died turned out all right, and it’s the ones who are still alive that we should pity.

And finally, although my life is nothing like Gatsby, I love being in it, love thinking about that era, and think that everyone should come and see it for themselves.


Megan plays Mrs. McKee and Mrs. Michaels



Director’s View–Michael Lilly


“An author ought to write for the youth of his generation. the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever afterwards.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1920.

Many people believe The Great Gatsby is the greatest American novel ever written. Great fiction can contain great social commentary. The 1920’s were a decade of possibilities and aspirations. America and the world were coming out of the War to end all Wars and everything seemed attainable. Yes, money could buy almost anything but society and respectability demanded a very different currency. James Gatz (Jay Gatsby) is the “self made man” American success story. Fitzgerald teases us all the way through the novel giving us bits of information about him but ultimately we still question what is fact and what is fiction.

I knew Simon Levy, the adaptor of this theatrical piece, when I lived in Los Angeles. We were in a Director’s group together along with about a dozen other directors from the area. We would meet maybe once a month and just talk shop and keep each other apprised of projects that we all were involved in or working on. In his Adaptor’s Notes for this play Simon suggests approaching  the play the way you would a musical. After all, this is a memory, a dreamscape and his setting is a ‘landscape of sea and sky’. Characters, set pieces and sound and light appear and disappear in an impressionistic fashion. “This is a fable—of America, of the Jazz Age, of enchantment and illusions, of a world where love and dreams are pursued and betrayed.”

I came to this project as director very late, the show was cast, designers essentially in place and production dates set so apart from having read the novel I had very little prep time. I had no “concept” when all the artists involved gathered for the initial table read of the script. What I did have (I came to find out) were a group of actors who had spent the summer working together so there was a short hand already established among them. I was also working with a couple of collaborators in Jan Powell the Sound Designer/Musical Consultant and Rob Storrs (Projections/Visual Landscapes) whose work in the past I had greatly admired. And truth be told, anyone who really knows me is well aware of the fact that I am a collaborative director not an auteur! There is a wheel and we all are cogs in that wheel. It turns during the rehearsal process and the actors cogs are engaged. When we reach Tech week the Designer’s cogs engage and ultimately it spins the Director’s cog to the top and we pull everyone’s best work into full focus. Peter Brook once said that when you are rehearsing a play at the end of the night the good work you have done sticks to you and the rest falls to the floor and is swept away. So you come back the next day a little further down the path and begin again. That was the process we followed with The Great Gatsby. I have also had the great good fortune to be in communication with Simon who has offered encouragement and introspection along the way. In particular his comments about Daisy, “she is the brightly burning candle that all the moths are drawn to, quixotic, perhaps manic/depressive” infused the tone, mood and pacing of beats and scenes inside the text.

Actor Spotlight: Stud Muffin

That’s right, the black kitten who started his career at the Yancey Humane Society, then became the darling of You Can’t Take it With You, has found his furever home!  Fellow cast member Rose Ray has graciously offered her home to be the kitten’s new domain and given him his newest stage name: Stud Muffin.  (After all, all the world’s a stage… especially when you’re a cat.)a-kitten

You’ll be delighted to know there are plenty of future stars just waiting for you at the Humane Society. Check out some of these beauties!


Find these fine felines at The Yancey Humane Society.

962 Cane River School Rd, Burnsville, North Carolina 28714
12-5 Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri and  12-4 Sat.

YHS located in beautiful Yancey County, NC. They are a non-profit shelter working hard to find homes for our county’s stray and relinquished dogs and cats.

Phone: (828) 682-9510 or email.

Parkway Playhouse wants to thank the Yancey Humane Society for working with us on this show and for all the good work they do in our community!  Be sure to friend them on facebook to see the latest stars they’re grooming for your living room stage.
We’ll see you at GET THE HOOK (teen improv comedy troupe) Friday & Saturday (Sept. 15 & 16) at 7:30 for a barrel full of laughs…
… and the next weekend is the opening of The Great Catsby…. we mean The Great Gatsby.

Artist Spotlight: G-Man Derek Freeman


I’ve wanted to audition at Parkway for some time. For years as a vocal coach, I’ve been preparing kids for auditions. This year, I decided it was time for the teacher to become the performer. This is my first time on their stage!

To me the word “production” has a different meaning. It’s not the staging, or the performance, or even the play. A production is a chance to make my daughters proud as they watch Daddy on stage! Plus, I love creating an art form for others to enjoy.

I’ve been a party guest in The High Country Youth Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker. Recently I played Jack Barnes, a Pan Am executive, and Dr. Wanamaker in Mitchell Community Theatre’s production of Catch Me If You Can.

And although I’m quite busy with full time work at Buck stove, have had my own piano/vocal studio for over five years, love crafting, reading, and composing instrumental piano pieces (30 so far), my first and foremost job is daddy to the two most beautiful girls in the world: Zoe Allen, 18, and Georgia Freeman, 5. 10684127_1544295345800131_783882163_a

I was asked about favorites in You Can’t Take It With You; it has given me so many favorite moments—but my antics with Rose’s character, Gay Wellington tops the list. And Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff’s line, “Life is kind of beautiful if you let it come to you.” What an awesome way to look at life! I want a mindset like that when I “grow up”.

You Can’t Take It With You is a comedy, yet deeply profound. You’ll leave the theatre changed, perhaps seeing life a bit differently. And being directed by the playwright’s son, Chris Hart, makes it worth seeing more than once.



Samantha Lebrocq as Olga Katrina


I didn’t audition for the show initially—I was already slated to costume Little Shop, Grease, and You Can’t Take it With You. I was thrilled when former artistic director Andrew Gall asked. You Can’t Take It With You was the first show I directed in Pittsburgh, my home town. I was nervous about sending in my video audition since I understood they were looking for an older actress. But so happy to accept.

I’m an actress in Asheville. Some of my favorite roles include Viola in Twelfth Night, Ophelia in Hamlet, Marianne in Tartuffe, Demetrius in Titus Andronicus, and Grumio in Taming of the Shrew with the Montford Park Players; Masha in The Seagull, and Ophelia in Fall of a Sparrow with Mountain Arts Theater; Evelyn Thomas in The Shape of Things with Different Strokes Performing Arts Collective; and Kristine Ulrich in A Chorus Line with Asheville Community Theater. I also play Jade in the hit comedy series Transplanting which is about to begin its second season.

When not acting, I work in a resale shop so most days I’m at the store buying clothes for our inventory. I fill my days off as a pin-up model with photo shoots and rehearsals.

I’ve loved playing the clown in this production. Chris let me have a lot of fun in rehearsal but reined me back in during tech week. In Act III, I would make my entrance and do my best to crack up everyone on stage. Chris explained that “everyone” was in the middle of a pivotal emotional moment, and I was interrupting. So while I get to come in and have my fun, the other actors are in a very serious and tumultuous place. Playing with the balance of comedy during that entrance was very satisfying.

I’ve always said the Sycamore’s are just like my real life family in Pittsburgh. On a typical day, my brother works with music producers in our basement; my mother outlines a new book or documentary she’ll never write or make; my father pretends to be a cowboy through a paved prairie all while my baby brother tries to perfect his gnocchi recipe. They have always been genuinely themselves and full of life and love just like the Sycamores. It’s the reason to see this play. Family. Loving life, loving yourself, and loving the people who will always be there.