Yes, there are Cookies…

but there’s no cookie-cutter Christmas in Burnsville! No box-store-shopping or bah-humbugs here.

Everything that’s right about the Christmas season is happening in Burnsville this weekend. This time of year should be less about things and more about about people and experiences We’ve got Christmas trees, art, parades, good food, and laughter guaranteed!

First, the FIRS. Fraser Firs, that is. There’s nothing better than choosing and finding the right Christmas tree. So, why not do that here in Mitchell or Yancey Counties, right where the trees are grown? Go home with your beauty (safely) strapped to the roof of your car.


Secondly, it’s the Toe River Arts‘ Holiday Studio Tour.  It’s going on Friday through Sunday 10am to 5pm… Think of this as a combination scavenger hunt, curated museum tour, and unique gift-buying smorgasbord.  There is nothing more Made-in-America or supportive of our rural community and small businesses than buying art!


Thirdly, The Burnsville Christmas Parade at 3pm sponsored by the Yancey Chamber of Commerce!  (Visit their site or to find places to stay and eat.)


Yes, you will need to eat while you were here and there are many good places (see links above), but of particular note, Snap Dragon‘s burger just got some recognition as one of the best in the state!20819726_868858253267652_7033221320195646275_o-700x500

OK.  Now we’re distracting ourselves….

What else is going on… OH YES! We promised laughter.  Well, here you go! Our improv  comedy troup is going to do their thing… which means a good time for you.


Or maybe we’ll see you later in December…



Get the Hook about the New South Comedy Festival

A few weeks ago Parkway Playhouse’s very own Get the Hook Improv Comedy Troupe traveled to the New South Comedy Festival in Greenville, SC. While there, the troupe members attended workshops and even got the opportunity to perform!

We were given the privilege to interview Get the Hook troupe member, Jack Weinmeister, about his time at the festival, and this is what he had to say about his experience at the NSCF.

What did you think of the New South Comedy Festival (NSCF)?

“It was fun. There were a lot of good opportunities to learn how we can make other people laugh without trying so hard to get those definite punch lines. There are these subtle things that we can do to make an awkward scene funny, not just something random, but make [the scene] have an actual purpose.”


What did you enjoy about the workshops that were provided at the NSCF?

“My favorite workshop was Let It Be by Lewis Kornfield. He taught us how to stop for a moment after saying something and do these little things to make the scene funny. That’s what I really took from him, less it more. Normally, with comedy, you try to be really big, really loud, or really funny, but Lewis taught us about having those honest moments. Moments where you are in a scene with one other person, having a conversation, then based on what the other person is saying, your reaction doesn’t have to be huge, but it can still be funny.”


What about Megan Grey’s workshop?

“In her workshop we practiced continuing with the energy in a scene instead of taking another path or just changing the scene completely. Basically keeping with the same scene, and keeping the same feeling throughout.”


What was your favorite exercise?

“[Lewis] had two people get up. One person would make a statement, and the other would have to react to it three different ways. Mine was ‘You just got accepted to Columbia University, congratulations’ and the person opposite of me had to act happy about it, then sad, then angry. We were able to use the same scene to make different feelings. That was my favorite thing, seeing those different reactions that people can take in a scene.”


What did Get the Hook perform while at the NSCF?

“We played the game Growing and Shrinking, which is where two people start a scene, then it will grow as other people come in, then shrink back down to the two original actors. We had 25 minutes to do that, and we used up exactly 25 minutes. It was perfect!”


What did you enjoy most about the Get the Hook performance?

“Our performance was very fun. In the past we have had performances we have gotten a few laugh out of the audience, people felt awkward at some points, and those were good times, but that performance at the festival was one of the funniest we have ever done. We got a lot of laughs and we were able to do a lot of call-backs, meaning that we were able to bring back jokes that we used in the beginning of the performance.”


What was your favorite part about the NSCF?

“Getting to see mock turtle soup from Clemson and being able to see people of all ages perform Improv.”

Presenting Our 2018 Mainstage Season

We have so much to look forward to in 2018!

We start the season on May 5th with this “elegantly comedic classic.”

MAY 5-19

Blithe Spirit Slide with credit

“Blithe Spirit” is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.

Skeptical novelist Charles Condomine invites self-proclaimed medium Madame Arcati to his home for a séance, hoping to gather material for a new book. When the hapless psychic accidentally summons the spirit of Condomine’s late wife, Elvira, his home and life are quickly turned into shambles as his wife’s ghost torments both himself and his new bride, Ruth.

Next, another hilarious play about one man and three women (who are supposed to be in different cities)… 

June 2-16

Boeing Boeing Slide with credit

“Boeing Boeing” is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.

This 1960’s French farce adapted for the English-speaking stage features self-styled Parisian lothario Bernard, who has Italian, German, and American fiancées, each a beautiful airline hostess with frequent “layovers.” He keeps “one up, one down, and one pending” until unexpected schedule changes bring all three to Paris, and Bernard’s apartment, at the same time.

Then onto our first musical of the summer!

June 30-July14

Oliver Slide with credits

LIONEL BART’S OLIVER! is presented by special arrangement with Musical Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance material are also supplied by MTI.

The streets of Victorian England come to life as Oliver, a malnourished orphan in a workhouse, becomes the neglected apprentice of an undertaker. Oliver escapes to London and finds acceptance amongst a group of petty thieves and pickpockets led by the elderly Fagin. When Oliver is captured for a theft that he did not commit, the benevolent victim, Mr. Brownlow takes him in. Fearing the safety of his hideout, Fagin employs the sinister Bill Sikes and the sympathetic Nancy to kidnap him back, threatening Oliver’s chances of discovering the true love of a family.

Next up is a bright, bold, new version of an audience favorite…

July 28 – August 11

Godspell slide with credits

A small group of people help Jesus Christ tell different parables by using a wide variety of games, storytelling techniques and a hefty dose of comic timing. An eclectic blend of songs, ranging in style from pop to vaudeville, is employed as the story of Jesus’ life dances across the stage. Dissolving hauntingly into the Last Supper and the Crucifixion, Jesus’ messages of kindness, tolerance and love come vibrantly to life.

To balance out the comedies and musicals, we also want to keep you on the edges of your seats with a little suspense…

August 25 – September 8

Dial M Slide with credit

Tony Wendice has married his wife, Margot, for her money and now plans to murder her for the same reason. He arranges the perfect murder. He blackmails an old acquaintance into carrying out the murder, but the carefully-orchestrated set-up goes awry, and Margot stays alive. Now Wendice must frantically scheme to outwit the police and avoid having his plot detected.

To wrap up the season, we know audiences love to laugh… and this is our nod to the classics!

September 22 – October 6

Complete Works Slide with credits

The cultural touchstone that is THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (ABRIDGED) was born when three inspired, charismatic comics, having honed their pass-the-hat act at Renaissance fairs, premiered their preposterous masterwork at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1987. It quickly became a worldwide phenomenon, earning the title of London’s longest-running comedy after a decade at the Criterion Theatre. Featured are all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays, meant to be performed in 97 minutes, by three actors. Fast paced, witty, and physical, it’s full of laughter for Shakespeare lovers and haters alike.

So there you have it! Aren’t you excited, too? Honestly, we’re going to have so much fun together next year we’re already buzzing about it.

While we’re thinking about the future, here are a few more things to have on your radar:

  • Want to be in one of these shows? We’ll have auditions in February. Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know about them.
  • Want to sponsor one of these shows & have your business appear on all the posters? If so, contact us and we’ll get that conversation started!
  • We’re right around the corner from putting together our playbill, too. You can see we’re going to pull in great audiences with this line-up, so you’ll get a lot of return on your investment when you place your ad with us.
  • This might just be the year to get FLEX PASSES, since you’re sure to want to see all the shows… Those will go on sale… Well, come to think of it, we’ll have them available so you can purchase them as CHRISTMAS GIFTS. So, check the website after Thanksgiving.

Stay tuned for what we’ve got in store for our Junior Program in 2018, too!

Meet Mea – our new Education Coordinator!


My name is Meagan Johnson, but I prefer to go by Mea (pronounced like May), and I am the new Education Coordinator!

 I am originally from Mars Hill, but Burnsville has been calling my name since I was a sophomore in high school. I was fortunate enough to transfer to Mountain Heritage, where I was first introduced to the rich culture that this area offers. My teachers and mentors inspired me to pursue a career in History Education. I decided to go to Appalachian State University, where I spent three years in the education program. During my last semester of student teaching, I found that I preferred alternative methods of teaching. I then changed my major to a BS in History with a focus in Public Relations/Communications, and spent the rest of my time at App learning about Marketing and Social Media.

After graduation this past May, I was fortunate enough to land an internship at Toe River Arts, which transformed into a part time job as their Social Media Manager. My job at TRA has given me the opportunity to meet with artist across the region, and help promote their talents through a mini documentary series on Facebook called Inside the Studio (go check it out!).

During my time at Parkway Playhouse, I want to help the junior program by keeping an active online (an offline) presence that allows open communication and information available to students, parents, and teachers. As a historian, I feel as though it is my responsibility to not only preserve the past, but continue adding to the narrative as well. By working with the youth in the community, I can help pass on the importance of preserving the arts that are so unique to this region.

While my background may not be in theater, I am still excited to be involved with an amazing organization. I feel so fortune to have found a job, right out of college, that allows me to practice every aspect of my degree. How many people get to say that?

When I’m not in the office, you can find me in the great outdoors. My favorite recreational activities include hiking with my dog and cat, Ford and Chief, practicing yoga, and exploring new places with my partner, Doran.

Thank you for allowing me to be your new Education Coordinator. Here’s to a great year!

Quick Questions to Meet Mea!

Do you have a favorite color?

My favorite colors are purple and green

Any lucky numbers?


Favorite song?

At the moment it is, Ultralife by Oh Wonder.

Favorite hike?

My favorite hike is Crabtree Falls

What about a favorite food?

Pasta of any kind.

If you were stranded on an island, what would you take with you?

I would take sunscreen (because I have fair skin), my dog to keep me company, and a good pair of hiking boots to explore the island!

Welcome to the Parkway Playhouse Family, Mea!

Was it Mr. Paravicini (Rob Storrs) with the poker?

When Rob Storrs takes on a character, he fully delves the depth of the role. His portrayal of Mr. Paravicini is no exception.

rob poker web

PP: So tell us a little bit about your character…

Rob: Paravicini is outrageous in scope, poking holes in polite staid social standards with his laughter.  The police procedural is demolished by his brazen disregard.  He is such an obvious facade, yet his truth is taken at face value — a Rolls Royce in a snow drift?  Really?!

Rob Kristy Steve web
Mr Paravicini (Rob Storrs) evades Detective Trotter’s (Steve Elderbrock) questions while Miss Casewell (Kristy Sutton) eavesdrops ever-so-inconspicuously. 

So come out this weekend and see what you can make of Mr. Paravicini’s evasive and suspicious manner. You only have 2 more chances to see this “captivating” play.


Call 828.682.4285 or purchase tickets online HERE.


Which suspect will Detective Trotter (Steve Elderbrock) ultimately accuse?

A profile in which we get the exactly the kind of earnest answers we would expect from resident wise-cracking actor Steve Elderbrock.

Steve 2017 web

PP:  Tell us a little bit about the character you’re playing. 

Steve: I have the immense fun of playing the detective sent to investigate the case. I’ve always wanted to play a detective, so this is a great thrill.

PP:  Are you apprehensive walking through doorways now?

Steve:  Only the doorways of snow-bound manor houses.

PP:  Without spoiling any surprises, do you have a particular scene that’s your favorite? Why?

Steve:  Things really get rolling the 2nd Act, and I like the scenes in which I am lecturing to the whole rest of the cast – it makes a great tableau. I enjoy seeing how the other actors react to me and each other…that is fun to be part of. I also enjoy the one-on- one interrogation scenes I have with the other characters. In other words, I pretty much enjoy it all.

one on one small
Detective Trotter questions inn owner Mollie Ralston (Kristen Livengood).

PP:  What are you excited about?

Steve:  Answering actor profile questions.

steve elderbrock blerg
OK. Now we’re making this face too.

PP:  Alright then, what do you think audiences will like about The Mousetrap?

Steve:  Who doesn’t like a good mystery? I think audiences will enjoy trying to figure out the clues and who the murder (or murderess) may be. I’ve even suggested we should take a poll of the audience at intermission…

steve point

PP:  What challenges have you encountered with this play? and how has that helped you grow as an actor?

Steve:  This is the largest role I have played in my 5 years of being involved with Parkway Playhouse, and the largest role I’ve had in a play in about 10 years, so I have discovered my memory is not quite as sharp as it once was. The biggest challenge has been learning (and remembering) lines, especially lines like: “Ah” and the repeated questions that I ask again and again but in slightly different ways. Beyond that, this has been a fun play to be part of, and after being in both of the plays Jeff Messer directed this year, I am a big supporter of his; he’s a wonderful director, and easy to work with (and for). He helped alleviate my fears and concerns about my memory (and my acting ability).

If you want the chance to ask Steve a few questions of your own, join us for the Sunday performance and the talk-back session afterward. 


Call 828.682.4285 or purchase tickets online HERE.

Was it Giles (Graham Livengood) with the hatchet?

We won’t tell you if Graham Livengood plays a victim or a killer in this show, but we will tell you  that he’s the mastermind behind the murder-mystery dinner-theatre event at the NuWray Inn… in addition to playing Giles Ralston in The Mousetrap.

Steve and Graham web

PP: What do you think audiences will like about The Mousetrap? 

Graham: It’s twisty! You’re not going to see it coming. You’re just not. Agatha Christie did an amazing job of creating the details of a murder, giving you some obvious suspects, and finally implicating every single character. Everyone is a suspect, everyone is suspicious. If you watch the show a second time, you’re going to see a completely different show with nuances that you couldn’t see the first time around.

PP:  Would you rather be trapped with a killer     A) on a deserted island     B) on a moving train   C) in a secluded inn during a snowstorm?

Graham: Definitely on a deserted island. I’ve watched a lot of Survivor so I think that qualifies me as a survival expert, which will really help. I’m a pretty good swimmer but super afraid of octopuses. Not sharks. Octopuses are the real menace. Maybe I could lure the killer into the water for the octopuses…
graham octopus web
Shhhhhh!  But, Honey! …the Octopus!

PP:  What challenges have you encountered with this play? and how has that helped you grow as an actor?

Graham:  This show has been a great exercise in accent work for me. It started out with the director asking for a Cockney accent. The problem is that you can’t understand Cockneys, at least not easily. I had to find an authentic accent that’s very close to that, but won’t give you a headache trying to understand.

PP:  Has The Mousetrap inspired you as you created the story-line for Kill Me Tender?

Graham: Yes, The Mousetrap has definitely inspired me. The twists have to be twistier, the mystery more mysterious, and the characters have to be so far over the top that we eventually raise the bar too high.
Come be a part of one of the greatest mysteries of all time!

Call 828.682.4285 or purchase tickets online HERE.

You can even solve the mystery yourself at our dinner-theatre event…

Kill Me Tender fb event and banner

Call the NuWray in for dinner theatre reservations: 828.682.2329 & learn more about the event HERE.