Actor Spotlight: Mathew Harper

Today we are speaking with Mathew Harper, who will be joining us for our upcoming production of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

PPH: Do you relate to your character? Why or why not?

Mathew: Yes, of course. Ichabod switches from moments of complete confidence and control into periods of anxiety and paranoia. I think both of these qualities are relatable to anyone of a younger generation navigating the world and the current emotional climate we live in.

PPH: What’s your silliest fear?

Mathew: Losing my singing voice

PPH: What’s your favorite fall activity?

Mathew: Putting on hoodies and drinking a cup of hot black coffee.

PPH: Are you a pumpkin spice or an apple cider kind of person?

Mathew: Neither. Eggnog or bust.

PPH: What about this show are you most excited about?

Mathew: Finally being back on stage in a leading role after a year and a half of being at home during covid.

PPH: What’s your favorite activity to do in Burnsville?

Mathew: Enjoy the acting at Parkway Playhouse and meeting new people in the acting scene locally. 

PPH: What’s your favorite thing about being a performer?

Mathew: Being able to tell a story, and tell parts of my own story through the visage of a classic character.

Biography 

Mathew Harper is making his second appearance at Parkway Playhouse in the leading role of Ichabod Crane after performing in the ensemble of A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder which performed pre-covid in 2019. Other performing credits include; Princeton in Avenue Q at Asheville Community Theater, Patrick Dennis in MAME at HART, Riff Raff in Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Grey Eagle, Leo Bloom in the Producers at Asheville Community Theater, Reggie in First Date at the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theater, and many others. Outside of the theater, Mathew is a sommelier and had ten years of experience as a botanist, however, he is currently pursuing a professional career in acting and is moving to New York City at the end of the year. To see upcoming productions that Mathew will be involved in please visit; Mathew Harper on Facebook, @matinee_sauvignon on Instagram, or visit his website at http://www.mathewharper.com for his full portfolio. He thanks everyone who supports the arts in Western North Carolina and enjoys theater in the region. During the pandemic we all suffered, especially the arts and by coming to see one of the first live performances of the season you are ensuring that we keep live theater alive in the region.

In the quaint village of Sleepy Hollow, stories of wonder and strangeness surround the legend of a mighty headless Hessian. When the humble schoolteacher Ichabod Crane vies for the hand of the beautiful Katrina Van Tassel, the townsfolk might protest, but it is ultimately the Horseman who will decide his fate.

Showing October 9-23, 2021. Grab your tickets here: https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?show=125933

Actor Spotlight: Hanni Muerdter

Today we are speaking with Hanni Muerdter, who will be joining us for our upcoming production of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

PPH: Do you relate to your character? Why or why not?

Hanni: In the fact that I play many characters and have many sides, indeed, I do.

PPH: What’s your silliest fear?

Hanni: Anxiety about anxiety is especially a funny and relatable fear. 

PPH: What’s your favorite fall activity?

Hanni: Smelling the air on those first slightly cooler days. 

PPH: Are you a pumpkin spice or an apple cider kind of person?

Hanni: Both, at the same time.  And oranges simmering in a pot with cloves and spices all day on a fireplace stove are the best, but maybe that is more for Christmas.

PPH: What about this show are you most excited about?

Hanni: I think this is my first comedy performance on a stage – or at least the first comedy where I don’t play the straight character.  Pretty exciting to explore all these non-serious/serious parts of myself with very funny people. 

PPH: What’s your favorite activity to do in Burnsville?

Hanni: Aside from being at Parkway, driving the backroads.

PPH: What’s your favorite thing about being a performer?

Hanni: It’s good for the soul – how often do we otherwise get asked to express all these different sides with great, supportive people on a creative endeavor together?

Biography 

Hanni Muerdter last appeared at Parkway Playhouse as Laura in The Glass Menagerie.  She has performed with The Magnetic Theatre, Mountain Art Theatre, Haywood Arts Regional Theatre, and Asheville Community Theatre.  Roles include Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible, Elinor in Sense and Sensibility, and Agnes in Agnes of God.  Hanni studied at New York Studio for Stage and Screen in Asheville and New York Film Academy.  Hanni currently lives in Asheville and works in land conservation.

In the quaint village of Sleepy Hollow, stories of wonder and strangeness surround the legend of a mighty headless Hessian. When the humble schoolteacher Ichabod Crane vies for the hand of the beautiful Katrina Van Tassel, the townsfolk might protest, but it is ultimately the Horseman who will decide his fate.

Showing October 9-23, 2021. Grab your tickets here: https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?show=125933

Actor Spotlight: Austin Dakota Whitehead

Today we are speaking with Austin Dakota Whitehead, who will be joining us for our upcoming production of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

PPH: What’s your silliest fear?

Dakota: This sounds EXTREMELY silly, especially considering I work a veterinarian clinic, but really big house cats genuinely terrify me.

PPH: What’s your favorite fall activity?

Dakota: Carving pumpkins and decorating for Halloween!

PPH: Are you a pumpkin spice or an apple cider kind of person?

Dakota: Pumpkin Spice all the way, I do not trust anyone who would choose apple cider.

PPH: What’s your favorite activity to do in Burnsville?

Dakota: Be on stage at Parkway Playhouse.

Biography 

Austin Dakota Whitehead is extremely happy to be back on the parkway stage after a three year break from performance. You may recognize him from various main stage shows including The Ballad of Frankie Silver, Grease, The Great Gatsby, Bonnie and Clyde, Footloose, Oliver, and most recently parkway’s original waking show A Good Day. You may also recognize his design work from even more productions. He would like to thank his family, friends, and loved ones for their love, care, and support.

In the quaint village of Sleepy Hollow, stories of wonder and strangeness surround the legend of a mighty headless Hessian. When the humble schoolteacher Ichabod Crane vies for the hand of the beautiful Katrina Van Tassel, the townsfolk might protest, but it is ultimately the Horseman who will decide his fate.

Showing October 9-23, 2021. Grab your tickets here: https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?show=125933

Actor Spotlight: Lily Bartleson

Today we are speaking with Lily Bartleson, who will be joining us for our upcoming production of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

PPH: Do you relate to your character? Why or why not?

Lily: Sure! I see myself as an old man day-to-day; confused most of the time, unable to hear anything, and always craving applesauce.

PPH: What’s your silliest fear?

Lily: When I was young, I got really scared while watching the end credits to ANY movie. I would get freaked out because the music was so ominous and I didn’t know when it would end.

PPH: What’s your favorite fall activity?

Lily: I enjoy sitting around a bonfire with good friends.

PPH: Are you a pumpkin spice or an apple cider kind of person?

Lily: Apple Cider!

PPH: What about this show are you most excited about?

Lily: This is the first “formal” show AT Parkway Playhouse and that’s really exciting to me! It’s a great re-introduction with humor and a little something spooky!

PPH: What’s your favorite activity to do in Burnsville?

Lily: I used to go to the fire tower with my friends and just sit up there and see the mountains.

PPH: What’s your favorite thing about being a performer?

Lily: The cast, hands down. We always have fun, we always explore our characters and support each other.

Biography 

Lily Bartleson is a Burnsville native! Growing up, she worked in theatre developing her passion; and, eventually went to Brevard College for her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Studies. She has been with Parkway Playhouse since 2009’s The Music Man. Her last Parkway Playhouse appearance was as Trish/Governor Furgeson in Bonnie & Clyde. Other favorite performances include Pepper in Annie, a Mermaid in Peter Pan, and ensemble member for The King & I and All Shook Up. There are good days ahead – thank you all for joining us!

In the quaint village of Sleepy Hollow, stories of wonder and strangeness surround the legend of a mighty headless Hessian. When the humble schoolteacher Ichabod Crane vies for the hand of the beautiful Katrina Van Tassel, the townsfolk might protest, but it is ultimately the Horseman who will decide his fate.

Showing October 9-23, 2021. Grab your tickets here: https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?show=125933

Actor Spotlight: Jason A. Phillips

Today we are speaking with Jason A. Phillips, who will be joining us for our upcoming production of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

PPH: Do you relate to your character? Why or why not?

Jason: I play a few characters which I always enjoy. I relate to all of them in some small way. I think it’s important to find even the tiniest amount of common ground between you and your characters as a way to help you get into their mindset and find the key to playing them.

PPH: What’s your silliest fear?

Jason: Jump scares in horror movies (seriously, I almost kicked a glass of water across the room the last time I watched one)

PPH: What’s your favorite fall activity?

Jason: Hanging out with friends at a fire pit. Feeling the cool outside air and the heat of the fire while laughing with pals.

PPH: Are you a pumpkin spice or an apple cider kind of person?

Jason: Apple cider, with a dash of pumpkin spice

PPH: What about this show are you most excited about?

Jason: Seeing this great cast dive all the way in to the silliness of the show.

PPH: What’s your favorite activity to do in Burnsville?

Jason: I’m a newbie to Burnsville so I am open to suggestions. What should I do here?

PPH: What’s your favorite thing about being a performer?

Jason: If I learned anything during the pandemic, it was that I love a live audience. Zoom and film performances can be fun and fulfilling, but nothing beats the immediate reaction of a live audience. Every audience is different and they help to color each performance. It’s absolutely thrilling to hear the laughter, gasps and applause of the audience.

Biography 

Jason A. Phillips: Most recently co-wrote and directed Wandering with Magnetic: something i cared about. He has appeared in the Magnetic Theatre’s productions of The Misanthrope as Alceste and Special Needs as Matt. He has worked with the Montford Park Players previously in 16 Years Tried as Polixenes and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) as Other Jason. Chicago credits include: Brave Potatoes, The Rescuers and Scenes of Romance. Austin credits include: Curst and Shrewd  and The Taming of the Shrew. He earned Austin Circle of Theatre Award nominations as Man in A Perfect Ganesh and as Mesphistophles in Faustus. Jason has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Southwestern University.  He is thrilled to be making his debut at Parkway Playhouse with this awesome cast, crew and show.  Special thanks to Cullen and Daphne for their unflagging support.

In the quaint village of Sleepy Hollow, stories of wonder and strangeness surround the legend of a mighty headless Hessian. When the humble schoolteacher Ichabod Crane vies for the hand of the beautiful Katrina Van Tassel, the townsfolk might protest, but it is ultimately the Horseman who will decide his fate.

Showing October 9-23, 2021. Grab your tickets here: https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?show=125933

Actor Spotlight: Strother Stingley

Today we are speaking with Strother Stingley, who will be joining us for our upcoming production of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

PPH: Do you relate to your character? Why or why not?

Strother: In that Brom’s an idiot, yes. In that he’s a self-aggrandizing bully….not so much.

PPH: What’s your silliest fear?

Strother: Canned. Biscuits.  They’re flipping terrifying.

PPH: What’s your favorite fall activity?

Strother: Convincing my adult self that it’s perfectly acceptable to buy cool Halloween stuff (and leave it out year-round).

PPH: Are you a pumpkin spice or an apple cider kind of person?

Strother: I’m a Basic Brom (pumpkin spice) …but I can switch on occasion.

PPH: What about this show are you most excited about?

Strother: Having a wonderful time with everyone involved (audience included!)

PPH: What’s your favorite activity to do in Burnsville?

Strother: Rehearsing and performing at the Playhouse.

PPH: What’s your favorite thing about being a performer?

Strother: The feeling of knowing that everyone onstage, backstage, and in the audience is together experiencing the same moment/story/magic at the same time, each in their own way.

Biography 

Strother is delighted and thrilled to be back a Parkway Playhouse, especially with such caring, hardworking people (who make such a thing possible in today’s world). He started off here as Marcellus Washburn in THE MUSIC MAN and has been fortunate enough to have a slew of wonderful roles and memories to accommodate with PP, the last role before Brom Bones being the 9 D’Ysquith family members in A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER. Strother was born in Asheville, has a degree in theatre from Florida State University, and has been acting professionally for over 11 years (though he’s been a stage ham for over 30).

In the quaint village of Sleepy Hollow, stories of wonder and strangeness surround the legend of a mighty headless Hessian. When the humble schoolteacher Ichabod Crane vies for the hand of the beautiful Katrina Van Tassel, the townsfolk might protest, but it is ultimately the Horseman who will decide his fate.

Showing October 9-23, 2021. Grab your tickets here: https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?show=125933

Actor Spotlight: Olivia Hensley

Today we are speaking with Olivia Hensley, who will be joining us for our upcoming production of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

PPH: Do you relate to your character? Why or why not?

Olivia: Katrina lives for attention, and as an actress, I cannot deny that I may relate to that just a tad. However, I can’t say that I would be willing to go to the lengths that she is to get that attention if you know what I mean. Katrina knows what she wants, and is unapologetically herself 100% of the time. I must say, I really admire her for that and tend to see a little bit of myself in that aspect of her.

PPH: What’s your favorite fall activity?

Olivia: Consuming anything that tastes remotely like a pumpkin. Fall is, by far, my favorite season and I am unashamed of all of the cheesy “fall” things that I am absolutely in love with. Such as: lighting fall scented candles in every room of my house, going to haunted farms and on hay rides, picking apples, wearing that dark shade of orange that you see on absolutely everyone, watching The Nightmare Before Christmas, and just about every other stereotypical thing you see on Instagram every day in October. I absolutely love it.

PPH: Are you a pumpkin spice or an apple cider kind of person?

Olivia: Okay, here’s the thing. I know what I just said. But surprisingly, I am not a big fan of pumpkin spice lattes. So when it comes to hot drinks, I do prefer apple cider. However, in every other instance, I’m picking the pumpkin option.

PPH: What about this show are you most excited about?

Olivia: This cast! There are multiple people in the cast that I have never worked with before, and it has been such a pleasure getting to know all of them. We all mesh so well together, and everyone is such a hoot. Rehearsals have been such a positive part of my day, and I find myself looking forward to seeing everyone, especially if we’ve had a few days off from rehearsal. I am so excited to see everyone’s characters come to life during the performances. There’s some serious talent here, and I am so humbled by all of them. Seriously, WHAT A CAST!!!!!

PPH: What’s your favorite thing about being a performer?

Olivia: The entire process of putting together a show. Going through the first read through and meeting the cast, getting to know your character and what they mean to you, memorizing your lines, putting on the costume, and then finally performing for an audience. Every aspect of being a performer gives me a different type of thrill. I feel so exhilarated by it all, and truly feel like myself when I am on the stage.

PPH: What’s your favorite activity to do in Burnsville?

Olivia: I have to say, I have quite a few. Getting a chai latte from Appalachian Java is definitely an honorable mention. As well as hanging with all of my friends at Homeplace Beer Company. Going tubing on South Toe, walking my dog on Main Street, and going shopping at all of the thrift stores are things you can find me doing quite frequently. I absolutely love spending time in town getting to know locals, as well as visitors. Burnsville is truly one of the greatest places in the world, and I find that I love it more and more every day I spend here. I speak with complete honesty when I say that this town holds my entire heart. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

Biography 

Olivia Hensley recently became a North Carolina Real Estate Agent and is affiliated with RE/MAX Results in Burnsville. She is so thrilled to be back in the theatre after four years of working, going to school, and getting married to the love of her life, Jackson. While she was in high school, you may have spotted her working around the theatre as an apprentice. You may also remember seeing her perform in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Footloose, The Ballad Of Frankie Silver, Grease, The Great Gatsby, Into The Woods, and many more. She would like to thank her husband, her mom, her dog Millie, her cat Ernie, Kyler Honeycutt, and everyone else who has supported her for so many years. If you would like to reach out to her, feel free to email her at ohensleyrealtor@gmail.com. She hopes you enjoy this show as much as she does.

In the quaint village of Sleepy Hollow, stories of wonder and strangeness surround the legend of a mighty headless Hessian. When the humble schoolteacher Ichabod Crane vies for the hand of the beautiful Katrina Van Tassel, the townsfolk might protest, but it is ultimately the Horseman who will decide his fate.

Showing October 9-23, 2021. Grab your tickets here: https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?show=125933