Actor Spotlight by Jen Russ’s Mom

In light of the opening of On Golden Pond coinciding with Mother’s Day weekend, we thought it’d be fun to have a few of the actors’ moms shine a spotlight on their acting careers, so we interviewed the moms!

We start out with actress Jen Russ, who has graced the stage in a number of Parkway Playhouse performances over the years… and who now has joined the Board. (And threw a great Gala party this past weekend, too!) Her mother, Gail West, is the epitome of the Proud Stage Mom… for good reason.

photo by Stephen M Craddock

PP:  Do you remember the first play Jen was in?

Gail: The first play Jen was in was The Wizard of Oz.  She was the most adorable 4 year-old Wicked Witch.  Her Grandmother made her costume and it took Jen one day to memorize her lines…..she was a natural!!  I never had to encourage her to be on stage, she was very comfortable and not a bit nervous.  Definite standing ovations!!

jen at 4
Jen as the Wicked Witch (age 4)

PP:  Are you surprised Jen is performing in theatres all over Western North Carolina?

Gail: I am not surprised at all.  Jen has always enjoyed all kinds of music, singing, piano, and French Horn and never minded playing in front of an audience.  When she decided to take some acting lessons as an adult, I knew she would be a success.

PP:  What is one of your favorite memories of Jen?

Gail: One of my favorite memories of Jen was when she was in High School and I was attending a  Chorus Concert.  All of a sudden she was on stage singing a solo, The Boy From New York City, with 4 back-up singers.  It was a huge surprise for me and the audience loved it.  I couldn’t have been more proud of her!!

Every live performance brings a surprise, so we hope you join us at Parkway Playhouse to see what special moment you get to be a part of.  Come see Jen on stage in On Golden Pond. Click here to purchase tickets.

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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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