Actor Spotlight: Olivia Hughes

Yes, there are two talented, intelligent, beautiful, hard-working Olivias in this cast! Olivia Hughes is also a Junior at Mountain Heritage High School who participates in… well, continue reading to see her busy schedule! For her 23rd show in 7 years (yes, you read that right!), she has been cast as the Baker’s Wife. olivia huges

PPJR:  What has been different about your role than the others you’ve been involved with?

The Baker’s Wife is possibly the most real character I have ever gotten to play. Looking back on previous roles, I have played the showgirl, a philosophical monkey, and even a real girl who lived in Appalachia over a century ago. The Baker’s Wife is someone who I can more easily connect to as far as her moral conflicts and motives. I do not connect with her overall plight throughout the show, but I have found more similarities in characters between the two of us than with any other character which has made this role especially fun to delve deeper into.

PPJR: What other activities other than Parkway Playhouse Junior are you involved in?

I am a part of the MHHS Show Choir which meets every week. I am a part of the Get The Hook improv comedy troop at Parkway Playhouse. I also take private voice lessons once a week and dance lessons 3 days a week. I usually go to one activity after school, and then carpool to Parkway for rehearsals in the evening with a friend, (on Thursday’s it’s flipped with Ballet after rehearsal).

Come out and see the Olivias this weekend – April 28-30. Friday and Saturday at 6pm and the special Understudy Performance on Sunday at 3. Tickets available at the door.

Actor Spotlight: Oliva Morgan

Olivia Morgan, a junior at Mountain Heritage High School, will cast a spell over you as the Witch in this weekend’s performance of Into the Woods, Jr. at Parkway Playhouse.
PPJR: So, this is your 11th show at Parkway Playhouse… That’s a lot! What has been different this time around?
Olivia:  The physicality of the Witch is something I’ve struggled with throughout this entire process, and honestly I’m still working on it. I feel like she has a very distinct way of movement, and I’m still experimenting with it. However, I feel as though I’ve found the way she thinks and acts, and her vocal quality. Before this show, finding the physicality of my roles has been much easier. I’ve enjoyed the challenge!
PPJR:  Is there someone you model yourself after?
Olivia: With this role, it’s hard not to find all of your inspiration in the great Meryl Streep. Her rendition of the Witch, in my opinion, is absolutely amazing. Of course, I have found inspiration in her, but I try my hardest at every rehearsal to make this role my own and really connect with the Witch.
In Olivia’s own words:
I’ve been with Parkway Playhouse Junior since 2012, and the Parkway Playhouse Main Stage shows since 2014. Joining this program has absolutely changed my life for the better. I completely changed as a person when I began working in the theatre. Working as an apprentice for the past two years has been a blessing as well. I’ve learned so much about the theatre, and how to ultimately live a good life. The lessons you learn in the theatre expand throughout your entire life. Not just acting!
Traveling to the Junior Theatre Festival with PPHJr for the past 3 years has given me the experience of a lifetime. Not only have I been able to meet many different people from around the world, but I’ve gotten to enrich my theatre experience in so many different ways through this amazing program. (And meet some famous people as well!) I’ll forever be thankful for the amazing people and experiences at the Parkway Playhouse, and I can’t wait to go see the main stage productions this summer! Enjoy the show!
Into the Woods, Jr. has performances this Friday and Saturday at 6pm. On Sunday, several of the understudies will step into the lime light for the 3pm show. Tickets are available at the door.

Begin with Dessert

We know your mother always said no desserts before dinner… but how about a sweet start to the 71st Mainstage Season at Parkway Playhouse?  Saturday, May 6 marks our pre-season Chocolate Sensation celebration and we know you’re looking for something fun to do!

We invite you to join us from 6:30 to 8:30 and spend a decadent evening with your friends and ours at the Burnsville Town Center dancing to live music, enjoying a few select numbers by Parkway Playhouse Junior performers, and nibbling on some delicious chocolate.

The music will be provided by Debbie Phillips and her 42nd Street Jazz Band and additional entertainment will showcase the young, up-and-coming Into the Woods, Jr. actors.

Raise your glass to the arts! Join staff and board in recognizing the benefit the arts play in entertaining our community, educating our youth, and providing rewarding theatre opportunities for all ages. Mostly, though, kick up your heels and have some fun dancing in Burnsville!

RSVP if you plan to attend, so we’re sure to have enough food and drink for everyone.  Just call (828) 682-4285 to let us know you’re coming.

Suggested $20 donation per person. We will accept cash, checks, and credit/debit cards at the Welcome Table on the evening of the event.


Flowers by Vance

And thanks to all our supporters—actors, volunteers, donors, families, friends…and our community.

We wouldn’t have been here for seven decades years without your help.

Actor Spotlight: Liza Patrick


Liza Patrick

7th grader at East Yancey Middle School
4 years at Parkway Playhouse Junior (and here’s a few blast-from-the-past photos too!)
Aaron Neighbors (9)
I am used to playing sweet and innocent roles and Florinda the wicked step sister is totally opposite. Florinda has forced me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to put more thought into my character.
Come see Liza… One Weekend ONLY!
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Tickets available at the door. $11 Adult – $9 Member – $5.50 Students 17 and under

Actor Spotlight: Leif Cedergren

Leif pushes upfield toward the goal during an East Yancey Middle School game this fall.

Leif Cedegren has been cast as the Prince’s Steward in the upcoming production of Into the Woods, Jr.  He has also been in Parkway Playhouse Junior’s productions of Music Man, Jr. and James and the Giant Peach, Jr. 


Leif, top left, as Mr. Trotter in James and the Giant Peach, Jr.

PPJR: Is there a particular part of the show or a specific number that you think audiences will particularly enjoy — or that you enjoy?

Leif: I think the opening scene will be enjoyed. It is really cool and it was hard to put together.  I also think the audience will like my part because it is pretty funny.

PPJR:  What else do you do beside Parkway Playhouse?

Leif: I play soccer on Dr. Smoker’s Classic Soccer league team (through TVSA) and with the East Yancey Soccer team. I also play on the East Yancey golf team and I enjoy playing around on the piano and listening to music from musicals such as Hamilton.  I will also be an ensemble cast member in the upcoming musical Bonnie & Clyde.

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Leif’s parents also note:

Parkway has been a wonderful experience for Leif.  He initially became interested after watching several of his closest friends participate.  After joining, Parkway’s influence continued to take over our household.  We now listen to musicals in the house constantly.  With each passing play, Leif communicates an interest in auditioning for more challenging roles.  Leif’s late grandfather, a professional opera singer who studied at Julliard School of Music and performed in countless musicals, would certainly be proud.

Don’t miss the opening scene! You’ve got just three chances. Opening night is less than a week away!

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Actor Spotlight: Lynlee Johnson

Here is a little quote from Lynlee Johnson, an animated and outstanding 5th grader from South Toe Elementary, who will be playing the role of Granny. Lynlee has been involved with Parkway Playhouse Junior for three years and this her fifth production.IMG_1098

“Other than Parkway, I participate in U12 soccer with TVSA, Girls on the Run with my school, I’m in AIG at my school and I like to participate in the Duke Tip programs. I’m in Student Council where we recently raised money and collected canned food for hungry people in our community. I am very excited to be a murderous 90 year old in Into the Woods, Jr. so I hope you come and see our play.”
Today beings Tech Week for the performers! After a week of Spring Break, these young actors will be working hard to put on the finishing touches to get ready for YOU this weekend. You won’t want to miss opening night.
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Tickets available at the door. $11 Adult – $9 Member – $5.50 Students 17 and under

Actor Spotlight: Lillian Polgar

Lillian Polgar
   – Burnsville Elementary 4th grade
   – Little Red Riding Hood Understudy*
PPJR: You’re only a 4th grader… so how many shows have you done with Parkway Playhouse?
Lillian: This is my thirteenth show.
PPJR: Wow!
Lillian (front left) as Purple Kangaroo in Sussical, Jr. in 2015

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Lillian, far left, as one of the Wicked Step Sisters in Cinderella, Jr. 2015

PPJR:  What has been different about your role in Into the Woods, Jr. than the others in the past?

Lillian: I have to be snooty and have a heady voice which is different.
PPJR:  Is there a particular part of the show or a specific number that you enjoy?
Lillian:  I like “Agony” because it shows what brothers are like. (Even if they are princes!) It is funny and they are always competing.
We think you’re also going to enjoy the song “Agony” too! As an understudy, Lillian will play Little Red Riding Hood in the Sunday 3 pm performance.Into the Woods Banner 2 (2)
Tickets available at the door. $11 Adult – $9 Member – $5.50 Students 17 and under