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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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

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

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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!

Actor Spotlight: Alyssa Taylor

Alyssa Taylor is also among the talented class of rising freshmen.  This is her second mainstage show this season!

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Alyssa Taylor (far right)

PP:  How did opening weekend go?

Alyssa:  Opening weekend was awesome!  We had a full house each performance!  The show went great, and I think the audience loved it.

PP: Have you made any new pals during rehearsals? 

Alyssa:  I have made new friends, and reconnected with old ones.  The cast is great, I love them.  It’s great to have other kids in the show, along with adults. Seeing some of my old friends from previous shows has been great, and making new friends is always great.

PP: What is your favorite musical number? Why?

Alyssa:  It is really hard to pick just one.  I love “As Long As He Needs Me” and “Who Will Buy?”  In “As Long As He Needs Me”, Nancy explains why she protects Bill.  To me this song helps you understand part of Nancy point of view, and why she does what she does.  Myra is also a very talented singer, and she gives me chills when she sings this.  “Who Will Buy?” is a beautiful song, and sounds beautiful when everyone sings it.
Come hear these beautiful songs yourself!  Ticket presales for this show are higher than usual, and Alyssa even mentioned the full houses on opening weekend… So, if you want particular seats, it would be worth your while to purchase in advance.

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

oliver june 30 through july 14

Friday, July 6 at 7:30pm
Saturday, July 7 at 7:30pm
Sunday, July 8 at 3pm (with post-show cast Q&A)
     Friday, July 13 at 7:30pm
     Saturday, July 14 at 7:30pm

Actor Spotlight: Steve Elderbrock

We’re happy to see Steve Elderbrock back on stage this season… and proud to be a part of his bucket list.

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Aaron Neighbors (left) as Artful Dodger and Steve Elderbrock as Fagin. 

PP: What made you audition for Oliver!?

Steve: I remember seeing the movie version (which won an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1969) when it was re-released in theaters in 1972, when I was five years old.  It made a huge impression on me – I loved it.  I learned all the songs and couldn’t wait someday to play the Artful Dodger.  I have aged out of that part, obviously, but have also always loved Fagin, so I was thrilled to be able to audition for the part, and even more thrilled to be cast.  One more part I can scratch off my acting bucket list.

PP: Have you made any new pals during rehearsals? Do you have a favorite rehearsal moment?

Steve: First of all, it has been a joy to be on stage again with some “old pals,” like Myra McCoury and Aaron Neighbors, but it has been just as much fun to get to some “new pals” like Faith Creech and the kids in Fagin’s gang.  I have been very impressed with the hard work and talent of everyone in the cast, but especially the members of my gang who do a huge amount of singing and dancing in addition to great acting.  Watching (and interacting with) the kids in my gang, including Dodger and Oliver, has been my favorite part of rehearsals.

PP: Fagin is a very complicated character.  How has it been as an actor deciding how good/evil Fagin actually is? What artistic choices have you made around your envisioning of the character?

Steve: The complication is what makes it fun to play, of course.  I don’t think Fagin is “evil” – he is obviously a thief and a rogue, but he does truly care for the kids in his gang.  I also think he truly cares for Oliver, and it is Oliver coming into the mix that really makes Fagin start to question his life and what his future might hold.  I also appreciate the more comic elements of his character, especially the fact that he breaks down the fourth wall a number of times and talks to/plays to the audience.  As a big fan of Groucho Marx, who was one of the first to do that both on stage and in movies, I really enjoy that.  Walking that line between comedy/drama and evil/good while also trying to keep Fagin real and authentic and relatable is a lot of fun.  I hope the audience will have as much fun watching as I have had in creating the character.

You can also catch Steve’s radio interivew HERE.

Pro Tip: There’s more to see than usual with this show… First, there’s a large singing and dancing cast and secondly, the orchestra is up front. Pre-sales of this show have been greater than usual, so to guarantee a seat up front, we suggest you call the box office or purchase tickets online early.


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

oliver june 30 through july 14

Saturday, June 30 at 7:30pm (with complimentary Opening Night Reception)
Sunday, July 1 at 3pm (with post-show cast Q&A)
     Friday, July 6 at 7:30pm
     Saturday, July 7 at 7:30pm
     Sunday, July 8 at 3pm (with post-show cast Q&A)
Friday, July 13 at 7:30pm
Saturday, July 14 at 7:30pm