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
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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

Actor Spotlight: Mike Yow

Mike Yow has played several iconic roles (in both musicals and straight plays) on the Parkway Playhouse stage in the past few years and we’re delighted he’s returned for Oliver!

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PP: Tell us a little bit about the character you play. Is this a natural fit for you — or — has it been a challenge? 

Mike: I play Mr. Bumble in this fine production, after playing Fagin some five years ago in a show down in Atlanta.  And Mr. Bumble, perhaps almost tellingly, is definitely within my wheelhouse as an actor, even if quite far removed from me in real life.  We do, however, perhaps share a slight delight in the absurd and in our appreciation for food and drink, but I should hope the comparisons end here.

PP: How have you dealt with the dialects in the show? 

Mike: Dialects are always fun, if occasionally challenging, although – fortunately for me – that tends to be one of the better tools in my actor’s toolbox.  I’ve played a fair number of British characters in the past, although the challenge here is to present an English accent that is mostly posh, but with hints of “the streets,” at least in the case of my version of Mr. Bumble.

PP: What do you think audiences will like about this particular production?

Mike: In addition to the awesome and talented kids we have in this production (they’ll upstage you with their cuteness), I believe audiences will thoroughly enjoy the music, of course, as well as the fine characters being brought to life.  Also, most surely, the choreography and general setting of the story, Dickensian England.

 

Join us in welcoming Mike to the stage for his first 2018 performance here.  Don’t forget about the free food after the show on opening night, too!  Pre-sales for this show have been higher than usual, so you may consider getting the seats you want in advance.


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

Actor Spotlight: Eric Cedergren

We are all a big family at Parkway Playhouse, but we do love it when family members are in the same cast togethe–like Eric and his son Leif.  It exemplifies our values about strengthening community and creating valuable, lasting memories that bring people together.

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PP:  Tell us a little bit about the character you play.  Is this a natural fit for you — or — has it been a challenge? (What has been easy or how have you worked…)

Eric: I play Mr. Brownlow a wealthy, bookish and kindly middle-aged bachelor.  I like to read, I am certainly middle-aged, and possibly kind.  The rest is my challenge.  I am still pretty new to all of this.  I really enjoy the process of starting from scratch and slowly developing greater and greater fluency with the lines, the character and the relationships in the play.  And I get to work with great actors. There really is nothing else like it.

PP: What is your favorite musical number? 

Eric: As Long as He Needs Me  Why?  Because Myra sings it and she is amazing.  Also because it is a hauntingly beautiful song about a truly sad reality.  Nancy is in love with a man that could easily kill her.  Relationships like this still exist in our society and they are difficult to understand.

PP: How has it been dealing with the dialects in the show?

Eric: My wife says I sound like I am from India.  I had to stop asking for her advice.  My confidence was suffering.  On a more serious note, I have played around with Shakespeare in the classes and activities I teach in Yancey County Schools for many years, so it wasn’t completely foreign.  Even so, I did go on YouTube to check on a few of the words.  Finally, I had Faith Creech (Oliver) listen to my lines to get some advice.  She may be young, but she is a pro.

You too can be a part of the Parkway Playhouse family by coming to a performance… and maybe, even, auditioning next year or enrolling in a class.


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

Actor Spotlight: WJ Cunningham

He’s no stranger to theatre, but he’s a first-timer on the Parkway Playhouse stage. Welcome to the ever-growing theatre community here in Burnsville!

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PP: What made you want to audition for Oliver! ?  

WJ: I saw an article in the local paper and it was like an old fire horse hearing the alarm go off for a fire.  It had been over 30 years since I set foot on a stage and something in my heart said “Why not.”  I knew that there were several roles for mature actors.  So I gave it a try.  There is nothing like putting yourself out there for the unknown to see.

PP:  What is your theatre background?

WJ: My theater experience began in the first grade when I appeared in the school Christmas musical.  Years later I became involved with a Community Theater group in Indianapolis, IN, where I performed, directed, choreographed and designed sets and costumes.  This led to the professional arena and the Midwest summer stock touring circuit.

 

Be sure to welcome WJ back to the stage by packing the house opening weekend. We’ll see you there!  

Bonus: WJ is a Toe River Arts visual artist as well and you can check out his work HERE.


Upcoming at Parkway Playhouse

This weekend…

Get the Hook event

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
And don’t forget about our FREE outreach theatre program for young audiences
goldilocks promo photo web
10am on Saturday, June 23 on the Burnsville Town Square as a part of the PATH Sizzlin’ Summer Series
11am on Saturday, June 30 at the Orchard at Altapass

Actor Spotlight: Faith Creech

Faith is no stranger to the stage at Parkway Playhouse, but every time she brings something new and enjoyable to performances. In this production, she has been cast as Oliver himself. Let’s catch up with her about preparing for the role.

Photo by Meandering Photography

PP: How has your experience been playing the part a boy character?

Faith: I have actually played a boy in a few shows before. In Beauty and the Beast Jr.  I played Chip and I actually have done the show Oliver! before and instead of playing Oliver I played the Artful Dodger.  Of course it has been tough, you’d think it would be pretty easy playing a boy since I’ve practically only lived with boys my entire life, but I’m at the age right now where I’m starting to mature more as a woman.  I’m also use to using my chest voice for singing but Oliver has more of a calmer toned voice, like compared to Dodger it’s definitely lighter.  I’m basically having to do the opposite of what my brain is telling me!

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

Faith: The last time I did the show Oliver! my director/ drama teacher, Dirk Lumbard, helped me learn how to do a cockney accent for the role of Dodger.  Right after Oliver! I was in the show Mary Poppins and played the role of Jane Banks and I had to learn a British accent.  Since a cockney accent isn’t too different from a British accent it wasn’t terribly hard to learn.  So it’s been pretty easy for me to have a British accent in the show.

PP: What do you think audiences will think about this particular production?

Faith: I think the audience will feel a wide variety of ways about the show!  Mainly during the performance… There are many happy, scary, sad, and thrilling moments in the show.  I really think they will love it, since we have such an awesome cast!


Upcoming at Parkway Playhouse

This weekend…

Get the Hook event

The following weekend…

oliver june 30 through july 14

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

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
And don’t forget about our FREE outreach theatre program for young audiences
goldilocks promo photo web
10am on Saturday, June 23 on the Burnsville Town Square as a part of the PATH Sizzlin’ Summer Series
11am on Saturday, June 30 at the Orchard at Altapass