Actor Spotlight: Heather Nicole Bronson

We are excited to welcome yet another newcomer to the Parkway Playhouse family.

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PP: You have a solo song in the production. What does that song mean to you, and what were the biggest challenges when learning the piece?

Heather: I sing “Learn Your Lessons Well” in Godspell.  Basically, I am encouraging the other disciples to study “the good Lord’s rules.”  I interpret this to mean they need to read the Bible and learn from Jesus, but I really love this piece because it can be a reminder to study and keep learning about anything one might be passionate about.  For a short time, I accompany myself on the ukulele, which is exciting, but has been a challenge, too!  Luckily, the song helped inspire me to learn and study and improve!

PP: I see you go by your own name in the program. Could you expand a little more on your character in the show? Is it based on yourself?

Heather: My character is very much like me.  She is quirky, always moving and a bit of an overachiever at times.  Godspell-Heather doesn’t stick to just one activity or action for long – she is always looking for new challenges and opportunities to grow.  And if, in any way, I am not currently living up to these traits, perhaps Godspell-Heather can help inspire improvements.

PP: This is a very high-energy show. What do you do to keep yourself energized and in peak condition?

Heather: I generally tend to exude energy at all times, but this show is definitely testing my energy levels!  To help supplement, I like to drink iced tea and eat fruits, veggies and nuts before rehearsal.  I also stretch a lot, and take the occasional nap!

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PP: Has your own spirituality informed your performance in any way?

Heather: I did Godspell in college.  At that time, I was not religious or spiritual in any way.  This show was actually one of my first encounters with Christianity and paved the way for my decision to be Baptized and to start attending church.  Revisiting the show years later is so refreshing, because it is reminding myself of the reasons why I wanted to start a relationship with Jesus in the first place.  We are called to build community, serve others and to love each other.  Oftentimes, I think Christians, myself included, can lose sight of how simple Jesus’ message is, and this show is a delightful reminder.


To purchase tickets, click HERE or call (828) 682-4285

GODSPELL july 28 through august 11

Saturday, July 28 at 7:30pm (with complimentary Opening Night Reception)
Sunday, July 29 at 3pm (with post-show cast Q&A)
    Friday, August 3 at 7:30pm
    Saturday, August 4 at 7:30pm
    Sunday, August 5 at 3pm (with post-show cast Q&A)
Friday, August 10 at 7:30pm
Saturday, August 11 at 7:30pm
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Parkway Playhouse Junior Presents Madagascar: A Musical Adventure JR!

madagascar​Madagascar: A Musical Adventure JR, is a Junior musical that will be showing at Parkway Playhouse July 20th & 21st at 6:00pm.  Directed by Angie Holtzclaw, Parkway Playhouse Junior’s production will feature children involved in the two-week summer production camp.

Alex the lion is the king of the urban jungle, the main attraction at New York’s Central Park Zoo.  He and his best friends – Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo – have spent their whole lives in blissful captivity before an admiring public and with regular meals provided for them.  Not content to leave well enough alone, Marty lets his curiosity get the better of him and makes his escape – with the help of some prodigious penguins – to explore the world.

madagascar jr 2018
photo by Meandering Photography

Tickets range from $6 for children to $12 for adults.  All performances are at the historic
Parkway Playhouse theatre, located at 202 Green Mountain Drive in Burnsville, NC. Tickets can only be purchased at the door, an hour before show time.  For more information please call 828-682-4285, or visit our Website.  Parkway Playhouse’s 2018 Junior Season is sponsored by Young & McQueen.  Parkway Playhouse Junior’s production of Madagascar: A Musical Adventure JR is sponsored by ProPat LLC.


 

madagascar jr july 20 and 21

 

Actor Spotlight: Maximilian Koger

A new mainstage show (Godspell) is on the horizon with a new face! Meet Maximilian.

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PP: This is such an ensemble piece. How has it been working with your cast-mates and the creative team?

Max: It has been actual magic at play.  We’re all a group of friends outside of the show.  Even people we hadn’t met quite yet before the show have become fast friends.  I’ve never felt more professional, yet so comfortable and at ease with myself than I have with this cast.  Everyone is top notch, which makes me love this show’s concept even more.  It goes to show that there is beauty in every individual person and that stems from everyone being their unapologetic, authentic selves.  We celebrate each other’s differences.  This is hands down one of the most challenging shows I’ve done, purely based on the fact that it truly showcases everyone as a triple threat.

PP: I see you go by your own name in the program. Could you expand a little more on your character in the show? Is it based on yourself?

Max: The way I’ve interpreted it is absolutely that, it is me.  This show requires each actor to bring a level of self-awareness that not only is supposed to show more of who we are that people wouldn’t typically see but then we’re also required to make our personalities project enough to hit the back row.  My character is described as high-energy, impish, and playful.  I know, at my best, I am playful and high-energy most times, but I didn’t realize just how impish I was until these rehearsals began.  My teasing is how I bond with people and show my genuine affection.  Performing is what makes me feel most alive and like I’m fully expressing myself, so it’s a creative Heaven for me, where you’re (hopefully) seeing me at my best every night.

PP: This is a very high-energy show. What do you do to keep yourself energized and in peak condition?

Max: I’m in the gym at least 5-6 days a week, on the elliptical, rowing machine, or stairmaster for cardio and endurance.  I also do strength training for overall mobility and flexibility.  Those combined have truly made rehearsals easier where we’re performing numbers full out, back to back, over and over again.  I also try my best to eat as well as I can, while indulging every now and then to maintain my sanity.  My biggest issue is getting me to stop singing on drives home from rehearsal to maintain vocal health.

So come see this high-energy show! 

We were, unfortunately, having to turn people away at the door for Oliver! performances, so it wouldn’t hurt to get your tickets in advance. Musicals are always our most popular, and Godspell is a favorite of many.


To purchase tickets, click HERE or call (828) 682-4285

GODSPELL july 28 through august 11

Saturday, July 28 at 7:30pm (with complimentary Opening Night Reception)
Sunday, July 29 at 3pm (with post-show cast Q&A)
    Friday, August 3 at 7:30pm
    Saturday, August 4 at 7:30pm
    Sunday, August 5 at 3pm (with post-show cast Q&A)
Friday, August 10 at 7:30pm
Saturday, August 11 at 7:30pm
But before Godspell, you get a chance to see what our summer campers can put together in two short weeks!
madagascar jr july 20 and 21

Actor Spotlight: Bobby Guenther

It has been a fine run, indeed. Made all the finer by Bobby Guenther’s performance as Bill Sikes.

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PP: How has your experience playing a character much older than yourself been?  What artistic choices have you made to reflect that?

Bobby: Even though it wouldn’t seem like it, It’s surprisingly not my first time experiencing this.  The theatre I grew up in, back in Nashville, was a youth community theatre.  Everyone ages out at 18, or whenever they graduate high school.  Due to this, I played many characters older than myself throughout the years.  I even recently had the opportunity to play a character older than myself this past spring.  It was in Western Carolina University’s production of Spring Awakening.  I covered several of the adult male tracks, and I found that as long as I could find something in my own life to relate to the scene, I could somewhat play the age I was supposed to be.  For Oliver!, I personally feel that Bill Sikes would be late-twenties, early- thirties.  While older still, it doesn’t seem like too far of an age gap to me.  I mainly just play myself, and try to evoke a sense of maturity and age. Having people that play off of that sense of power in the cast really helps me get into it.  Overall, its just taking control of the mean streak of the character.

PP: How has it been dealing with the dialects in the show?  Did someone teach you?

Bobby: The dialects in the show were something I was not too worried about coming into the rehearsal process.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have taken a dialects class at my school, and one fo the accents we covered was cockney.  I brushed up on it a little bit, remembered what changed in terms of vowels and consonants, and just kinda went for it.  I don’t think it’s great, but I thought I was at least able to pass it off.  I thank Claire Eye (and Michael Caine) for helping me with this.

PP: How has your first Mainstage experience been so far?  What has been your favorite part?

Bobby: I’ve really enjoyed my first Mainstage production!  It’s been an overall very pleasing experience, and I’ve loved working with this particular cast and crew.  I’ve felt very supported in what I’m doing, and like everyone did there best to put out the best product possible.  My favorite part has probably been all the physical acting in the show.  It sound’s horrible, but hearing the reaction from the audience for the stage combat sequences makes me happy.  As bad as my character is, it lets me know that I’m going my job when everyone in the audience hates me.

Last chance is to see this dynamic performance!


To purchase tickets, click HERE or call (828) 682-4285

oliver june 30 through july 14

Friday, July 13 at 7:30pm
Saturday, July 14 at 7:30pm

Props, Costumes, and Lights… Oh My! A Closer Look Into the Technical Aspects of Oliver!

Our most recent production, Oliver, is currently running. While you may see a finished set, wonderful costumes, and clever props, what you do not see is the hours of planning and work behind the scenes to make this production the best it can be. The scenic shop staff, lighting designers, costumes designers, and sound designers have all put in numerous hours working on the various elements of the production. Our interns and apprentices have also spent a large amount of time making sure everything is ready and in working order for the show. Some of the team involved recently answered some question about the process!

Props

Megan Townsend and Brittany Wise are two of our college interns who have worked diligently on props and other technical aspects in Oliver. Megan is the assistant stage manager, and Brittany is props master.

-What has been your previous experience with prop designing?

Brittany: I’m actually pretty new to prop design. I’ve collected props for scenes, but doing Oliver is the first time it’s been this extensive. -What was your favorite prop you had to make for Oliver?

Megan: My favorite prop to make for Oliver was the mace. We took something as simple as a cup and turned it into a golden mace. We added jewels to make it seem as regal as possible. It was really interesting how it all came together. Brittany: I really enjoyed making Bumble’s staff and re-painting Fagin’s treasure chest.

-What was the hardest obstacle you came across during this process?

Megan: Oliver is a very big show, with a very large cast. Therefore, there is a lot going on backstage. We have designated tables that are labeled so the actors know where everything goes. It was a little difficult in the beginning to make sure everything was where it was supposed to be, but now the actors and crew are in a routine, so it makes it a lot easier for everyone.

Brittany: One of the most difficult part of the process I would say was gathering the larger props, because there were a couple of times when we needed to exchange some of them for different ones.

-What does being the prop master mean? What is involved with that position?

Brittany: Being the Prop Master means that I am in charge of making sure all of the actors’ props are where they are supposed to be, and that they are in good condition. If something breaks or needs mending, it is my responsibility to fix it or make sure that it gets fixed. Between shows, I make sure that all of the props on the prop table are back in their particular places. Sometimes I have to hunt down the props because they don’t get put back in their proper places, but overall, I’ve really enjoyed being the prop master!

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Photo by Cassie Floan

Costumes

Dakota Whitehead is the costume designer for Oliver.

 -You have had a lot of experience with costumes, what is your favorite thing about working on and designing costumes for shows?

Dakota: My favorite part of designing any show will always be the conceptualizing phase. It’s what separates designers from stylists. For this show specifically I have three completely filled notebooks full of design concepts, character specific ideas, and costume sketches.

-What was your favorite piece you worked on for Oliver?

Dakota: My absolute favorite piece in this show is by far Myra’s(Nancy) red gown. My entire design concept for the costumes in this show is that the audience is seeing the characters through Oliver’s eyes, and naturally a child wouldn’t look at this character and see her as a low class prostitute, he would see her simply as a beautiful woman. So, it took a lot of planning and alterations for her to look like like a lady of the night and a child’s idea of a beauty queen. Another aspect of her design that I adore is her bruising: from upstage it just looks like she’s just dirty like the children, but the further downstage she comes the more the audience realizes she’s covered in bruises from her abusive boyfriend.

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Photo by Meandering Photography

-What was the biggest challenge you had designing and gathering costumes for over 40 cast members?

Dakota: The biggest challenge was finding time to make all of the alterations. Every single costume piece needed something done to it, and most of the actors have up to four different costumes. Thankfully Lindsey Edwards, my assistant designer, was more than up for handling this insane task with me. We also had a bit of help from a couple of the interns this season, and even though they had little to no experience sewing they were quick learners! -You were IN the production as well; how was that? Dakota: It was great! A lot of the shows I’ve designed I’ve been in as well, and honestly, it can get a bit stressful but what job doesn’t.

Lights

Abby Auman served as the lighting designer for the show.

 -What was the show that really got you into lighting design?

Abby: I don’t think there was a show that got me into lighting design, as such. I stumbled into it in high school, and just fell in love with it. The great thing about lighting is that on the one hand you are making beautiful visual art that is definitely an expression of all the emotion, imagination, and personality that you have poured into it, but on the other you get to create all of that with with sort of concrete tools like logic and technology and programming. It satisfies all facets of your mind. It’s also very physical, with all the climbing and carrying and building you end up doing, and that is really satisfactory too.

-What has been your favorite show to design? Your favorite lighting effect?

Abby: I’ve done a lot of shows and I’m constantly doing more, so it would be pretty hard to pick any one favorite. On the whole, the shows I have enjoyed most have been fantastical or abstract, so I was able to just go really crazy with any sort of design I could imagine. I’ve done a few shows with magical characters, and I really enjoyed making it look like they were controlling the light in the room. The actors, board operators, and I would time it out in such a way that the character would move their hands and the lights would move or change in such a way that it looked like they were manipulating the atoms of the air or something like that. I like when I get to create lighting that is interactive that way.

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Photo by Cassie Floan

-You are the technical director at Magnetic Theatre; talk about some of your other roles you have done in terms of designing and operating. Is lighting your favorite?

Abby: I have two main jobs as a technical director. The first is to oversee transitions between shows, so I’m usually shepherding one show out and the next one in. I like doing that, because it’s like putting puzzle pieces together. You’re thinking: “Ok, when is this show loading out, what set pieces can stay for the next show, what needs to go, what needs to be built for the show coming in, who can build it,” etc. etc. It’s a lot of problem solving and making sure to ask the questions that haven’t occurred to anybody yet. My other responsibility is just troubleshooting. Whatever goes wrong, I fix or find a way around. I also end up filling in any gaps that come up, so I’ve ended up building sets, doing sound design, projections and videos, all sorts of things. I love that part of the job, too. But yes, lighting design is my favorite.

Be sure to come see the closing weekend of Oliver so you can see all of these talented folk’s hard work.

Currently Playing

oliver june 30 through july 14

Coming Soon

madagascar jr july 20 and 21

 

Actor Spotlight: Victoria Russell

Victoria is in TWO shows, at. the. same. time. at Parkway Playhouse this summer:  Oliver! and Reading Is Alive’s Goldilocks and the Three Bears. And what a week it’s been for her–  three Goldilocks performances followed by the final two shows of Oliver!

thumbnail_image1PP: Your style of singing in these shows is much different than your usual technique. How has that aspect affected you and your performance?

Victoria:  It is! Well, actually, Oliver! is pretty normal for my singing style, but Goldilocks and the Three Bears has been a little more challenging. My go-to style of singing has always been belt, it just comes easier to me than legit or a mixed voice. With Goldilocks, I’m finding that I have to mix a lot of my notes for the sake of the music. It’s been good for me, actually, because this is a style of singing that I’ve been trying to improve on for the last few years. However, there is one song, called “Porridge” where I get to really rock out and have fun with it.

PP: How has your first Mainstage experience at Parkway Playhouse been? What has been your favorite part so far?

Victoria:  It’s been great! I have honestly loved working with the children– they are too cute. For some of them, it’s their first time being onstage/ first time being a part of the Parkway Mainstage shows. Not all of them were exactly ecstatic from the start of the production, but the time that opening night rolled around, each and every one of them were so excited to be a part of the show. They bring a whole new energy to the experience. There will be days when I’m coming into shows after a shift at work or after a run of Goldilocks, and I’ll be wishing that I was home in bed rather than driving to a show. That feeling doesn’t last for very long, because the moment I walk through the door, at least one of the children will come up to me and start talking about how eager they are to do the show that night. I’ve realized that none of these kids have gotten to the age where they’re wanting to perform for attention or validation, they’re doing it because they genuinely just have fun doing it. It makes me remember why I started acting in the first place.


Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the infectious energy in these two shows.


To purchase tickets, click HERE or call (828) 682-4285

oliver june 30 through july 14

Friday, July 13 at 7:30pm
Saturday, July 14 at 7:30pm

What’s Happening…

july-calendar-e1531229206872.jpgThere are so many exciting things happening at Parkway Playhouse… just check out the calendar!

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Wednesday, July 11 — Reading Is Alive — 1 pm at the Avery County Library 

Goldilocks and the Three Bears, a musical for young audiences is FREE and includes a FREE book and FREE craft activity.  Kids also may get a Reading Is Alive 2018 t-shirt!

Thursday, July 12 — Reading Is Alive — 1 pm at the Spruce Pine Public Library

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Friday, July 13 — Oliver! — 7:30 pm

Read a review in the Mountain XPress
Purchase tickets online HERE

Saturday, July 14 — Oliver! — 7:30 pm (FINAL SHOW)

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Friday, July 21 — Madagascar, Jr. Summer Camp Performance — 6 pm

Come see what these 50 kids have learned in two short weeks! Tickets available at the door. ($11 Adult – $9 Member – $5.50 Student)

Saturday, July 22 — Madagascar, Jr. Summer Camp Performance — 6 pm

godspell cast
The cast of Godspell is currently hard at work rehearsing!

Saturday, July 28 — GODSPELL — 7:30 pm — OPENING NIGHT

Join us on opening night and you get to attend the after-show reception where you can mingle with other theatre-goers and meet the cast… plus have some complimentary munchies.

Purchase tickets HERE or by calling the box office at 828.682.4285

Sunday, July 29 — GODSPELL — 3 pm — Post Show Q&A

After our Sunday shows, several members of the cast and creative team return to the stage after the performance where they answer a few questions and give an insider’s perspective to the musical and the rehearsal process.

** If your church group would like to reserve a block of seats (at a slight discount) be sure to arrange that early. (Groups of 10 or more receive a 10% discount off full-priced tickets.)

Purchase tickets HERE or by calling the box office at 828.682.4285

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Tuesday, July 31 — Miscast Cabaret — NEW — 7:30 pm

Every performer knows the frustration of falling in love with a beautiful song but knowing he or she will never get to sing it in a show, because they wouldn’t be cast (because of gender, age, physical appearance) in that role.  MISCAST CABARET solves that problem by having performers from our 2018 season sing the beloved songs they know they’d never get a chance to otherwise!

Join us for this night of musical fun! There are already 10 acts on the schedule (including Briar Boggs, Hunter Taylor, Brittany Wise, Bobby Guenther, Rachel Haimowitz, and Maximillian Koger.) There aren’t tickets to purchase in advance, we simply suggest a donation at the door.

Friday, August 3 — GODSPELL — 7:30pm

** If your church group would like to reserve a block of seats (at a slight discount) be sure to arrange that early. (Groups of 10 or more receive a 10% discount off full-priced tickets.)

Purchase tickets HERE or by calling the box office at 828.682.4285

Saturday, August 4 — Reading Is Alive — 10 am at the Mount Mitchell Craft Fair

This is the final show of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, so if you haven’t seen it yet this summer, here’s your chance. Plus, the Mount Mitchell Craft Fair is fun for the whole family… and there will be plenty of yummy lunch choices after the show!

Saturday, August 4 — GODSPELL — 7:30pm

Purchase tickets HERE or by calling the box office at 828.682.4285

Sunday, August 5 — GODSPELL — 3:00pm

After our Sunday shows, several members of the cast and creative team return to the stage after the performance where they answer a few questions and give an insider’s perspective to the musical and the rehearsal process.

Purchase tickets HERE or by calling the box office at 828.682.4285

 

Follow us on Facebook and sign up for our e-newsletter (scroll to the bottom of the homepage) to be reminded of upcoming events and we’ll be sure to keep you posted!