Artistic Director Andrew Gall Reveals Why He Chose Walking Across Egypt For Parkway Playhouse Season

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In one of my favorite Bruce Springsteen songs, Land of Hope and Dreams,   listeners are called to board an allegorical train that will take all who want to ride to a better place;

This train…
Carries saints and sinners
This train…
Carries losers and winners
This train…
Carries whores and gamblers
This train…
Carries lost souls
I said this train…
Dreams will not be thwarted
This train…
Faith will be rewarded

It is a powerful and emotionally charged song.  I relate to it because, like Mr. Springsteen, my faith has not always been rewarded.  Who hasn’t been let down in painful unexpected ways? Who hasn’t felt like one of the disenfranchised?  I know I have.  Like Mr. Springsteen, I grew up Catholic, and found that my own ability to even have faith has been repeatedly shaken by not just organized religion but by the whole world as well.   As a result, I have been very skeptical of art that deals with faith, and like Mr. Springsteen,  the dream that mine will ultimately be rewarded is powerfully connected to my most intimate of yearnings.

So, when I had heard that Catherine Bush had completed a new adaptation of Walking Across Egypt,  which is a great story (and its author, Clyde Edgerton, is a writer whose work is on par with Springsteen’s in my opinion) I immediately began working to put together a production here at Parkway Playhouse.

It turns out the work wasn’t that hard;  the cast for this show Alesa Bryant, McKenzie Pauley, Doug Shaw, Lynn McKinney, Randal Garland, Rob Storrs, Steve Elderbrock, and Caleb Grindstaff have have brought both gentle humor and their own individual and deeply felt  humanity to this story, which is a simple story about what it means to have faith in both yourself and others.

Steven Grindstaff, who directed this show, was the first person I gave Catherine’s script too.  Steve, to me is the embodiment of good faith.  He exudes it out of every pore and his optimism and good will burns brightly (like a certain symbolic lamp seen in the play) , and inspires others- his students, the kids he works with at Higgins Memorial Methodist Chruch, his family, and his friends.    His insight into this story has brought about a production that I thnk does what good theatre does best- which is to help us rediscover and remind us of the good parts within ourselves.    I have found my faith rewarded by this simple story that is being so honestly told.  I hope you and your family will too.

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Parkway Playhouse, located in the Appalachian town of Burnsville, NC, is a haven of theatre talent. While people come to the mountains to get away, Parkway Playhouse is a natural gathering place to connect. Likewise, we are an extension of traditional mountain talents: singing, dancing, and, foremost, storytelling. By giving rise to energetic new voices and through a wide variety of plays and musicals, we invite our audience into experiences that are thought-provoking, adventurous, and entertaining. Together we reimagine the world in every live performance, creating dynamic conversations that last far beyond the curtain call. This blog is will feature stories, helpful information, insight and features about the performances.

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