What happens when you combine traditional mountain music with English mystery cycle plays (as in plays about the Bible stemming from the pre-renaissance) and set it in an Appalachian Church?
The result is Preston Lane and Laurellyn Dossett’s buoyant nativity play Beautiful Star: An Appalachian Nativity. Which was a HUGE success and played to capacity crowds in Greensboro NC for three seasons straight at Triad Stage-where Preston Lane is the Artistic Director.
The play is about a group of parishioners in a fictitious mountain church who are putting on a nativity and we see the characters in the play assume a whole bunch of characters from the play that they are doing. It is warm-hearted and fun. In an interview I read/watched/ encountered somewhere, Preston Lane said something about wanting to evoke the church that everyone would want to go to and they kind of Nativity pageant that would be done at this church would be simply but somehow different….. Well he more than accomplished this- all of his characters are expert story tellers and they bring an interesting perspective to a story that is so familiar and yet gets lost in the contemporary materialistic din of ‘Christmas shopping’; and with Laurellyn Dossett’s songs it is easy to get lost in the play’s atmosphere of joy.
We obviously could not perform this show in the Playhouse- as has been the case with all the theatre’s holiday offerings-as the theatre has no heat source. I thought it would be cool to actually perform the piece IN a church like the one described in the play. I didn’t have to go far. A.J. Moore, who started working at the Playhouse last Christmas, is the Pastor at Bald Creek Methodist Church, on the West side of Burnsville. The church is nestled at the foot of a ridge of mountains and is right off the main drag. It was perfect. The cast will begin doing some rehearsals there after Thanksgiving.
The cast! We have a great cast. All of them are WNC natives, with most coming right from the hills and hollers of Burnsville. The production is directed by the estimable team of Amanda Pisano and Steven Grindstaff.
We have some pictures from rehearsal here and I hope you will make time to come on out for one of the performances with your family. The show runs December 8,9, and 10 at 7:30pm at the Bald Creek Methodist Church, which is located at 29 Bald Creek School Road in Burnsville. You can get tickets online by going to our website http://www.parkwayplayhouse.com or by calling the theatre at 828-682-4285. Tickets for this show are $10-$15 and there is a discount for groups.