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Piedmont Players is Keeping it Light and Fun

by | Aug 5, 2022 | Arts

The concept of the new season at Piedmont Players is firsts, says Executive Director Bradley Moore.

“All these shows Piedmont Players have never done before.”

The theatre and board wanted to focus on more lighthearted fare, “a nice escape from the everyday,” Moore says. “It will be two hours of pure escapism and entertainment.”

Moore is really excited that Piedmont got the rights to the popular musical “Kinky Boots.” This will be the first local theatre in the area to present “Kinky Boots.”

Moore is now writing the new, musical version of “A Christmas Carol,” that he hopes will become a signature show for Piedmont.

The goal for the 2022-2023 season is to have newer shows and a traditional musical for the holiday season.

Piedmont Players’ recent production of “The Savannah Sipping Society” was a popular, light-hearted comedy. The 2022-2023 season promised more fun fare.

Favorites for youth

Youth productions at the Norvell Theater start with “Lion King Jr.” in September. “The kids were ecstatic about that. ‘Little Women’ is just such a good piece for Christmas, and we like to have female-centric plays and roles.

“The average theatre-going person will recognize all of these titles. I love doing obscure shows, at heart, but with this season, it flows and explains itself.”

Last season, Piedmont introduced a new series, After Dark, creating a coffee house atmosphere for “title of show.” The two performances, at 8:30 p.m. to let people eat dinner first, were sold out. Moore plans an After Dark in the fall and next spring,

“I have dinner theater background; it’s always in my heart. People can’t be sad when watching a good show and eating sweets and sipping wine.”

A playwriting contest is coming in 2023, with the winner getting a full production on the main stage.

“We will create a selection committee, people from Catawba College, other local writers, a diverse group, to get more community engagement,” Moore says.

 

How to get tickets

Season tickets for Mainstage productions are $86 for adults; $78 for seniors 62 and above; students (18 and under) and military, $78. For youth productions at the Norvell, season tickets are $59 for adults; $50 for those 62 and up; and $50 for students (18 or younger (and military). A family pack is $216, with four tickets to each show.

 

Two of the musicals coming this fall and winter at Piedmont Players’ Meroney Theatre, ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder’ and a new version of ‘A Christmas Carol.’

“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” Oct. 21-22, Oct. 29-30, Nov. 4-5, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 23, Oct. 30, Nov. 6, 2:30 p.m.

“A Gentleman’s Guide” traces the brilliant trajectory of Monty Navarro, charmer, seducer and avenger – on his quest for recognition and family fortune. Monty is in line for an earldom — eighth in line, that is. With a few tricks up his sleeve, he plots to speed up the line of succession while juggling the affections of two beautiful women, dodging suspicions and relying on fortunate twists of fate.

Moore will direct and choreograph, with John Stafford as music director. Auditions will be Sept. 5 and 6.

For tickets and more information, visit https://piedmontplayers.com/show/gentlemens-guide/

“A Christmas Carol: A New Original Musical Comedy,” Dec. 1-3, 8-10 and 15-17 at 7:30 p.m.; Dec 4, 11 and 18, 2:30 p.m.

You can only see this version of “A Christmas Carol” at Piedmont Players. Featuring classic Christmas songs with some new, exciting arrangements, this trip down memory lane with Scrooge will get you and your family into the holiday spirit. The classic Charles Dickens story will be told in a new way. What if the three ghosts were all famous characters from famous Christmas movies? What if Scrooge was played by a woman? What if the story was set in the 1800s, but there were lots of funny, current pop references? What if! As if!

Written and directed by Moore; choreographed by Dallas McKinney, with musical arrangements by David Weinstein; music director, Laurie Klaus. Auditions Oct. 24-25. For tickets, go to https://piedmontplayers.com/show/christmas-carol/

“Nana’s Naughty Knickers,” March 3-4,10-11, 2023, 7:30 p.m.; March 5 and 12, 2023, 2:30 p.m.

Audiences may laugh themselves right out of their knickers — this play hits every high and low note of comedy. Bridget and her grandmother are about to become roommates. However, what Bridget saw as a unique opportunity to stay with her favorite nana in New York for the summer quickly turns into an experience she’ll never forget. It seems her sweet grandma is running an illegal boutique from her apartment, selling handmade naughty knickers to every senior citizen in the five-borough area! Will Bridget be able to handle all the excitement? Will her nana get arrested, or worse — evicted? Auditions will be Jan. 16-17, 2023. Tickets are available at https://piedmontplayers.com/show/nanas-naughty-knickers/

“Kinky Boots,” April 21-22, 2023, 28-29, May 5-6, 7:30 p.m. April 23, 30 and May 7, 2:30 p.m.

Based on true events, this huge-hearted hit tells the story of two people with nothing in common, or so they think. Charlie is a factory owner struggling to save his family business. Lola is a fabulous entertainer with a wildly exciting idea. With a little compassion and a lot of understanding, this pair learns to embrace their differences and creates a line of sturdy stilettos unlike any the world has ever seen! But in the end, their most sensational achievement is their friendship.

Cyndi Lauper wrote the music and lyrics. Moore will direct; John Stafford will be music director, with David T. Loudermilk as choreographer.

Auditions, March 6 and 7, 2023. Tickets can be found at https://piedmontplayers.com/show/kinky-boots/

“Bye Bye Birdie,” July 14-15, 2023, 21-22, and 28-30, at 7:30 p.m.; July 16 and 23 at 2:30 p.m.

A loving send-up of 1950s small-town America, teen-agers and rock and roll, “Bye Bye Birdie” remains as fresh and vibrant as ever. You may have seen the movie starring Ann-Margret. Teen heartthrob Conrad Birdie has been drafted, so he chooses All-American girl Kim MacAfee for a very public farewell kiss. Featuring a tuneful, high-energy score, plenty of great parts for teens and a hilarious script, Birdie continues to thrill audiences around the world.

Auditions will be May 22 and 23, 2023.

Moore will direct, with Jenny Carroll as music director and Tod Kubo as choreographer. For tickets, go to https://piedmontplayers.com/show/bye-bye-birdie/

Norvell Theatre

The Lion King Jr. will open at the Norvell Theater Sept. 16. Director Titus Queen is at upper left, at right, Crystal Stukes, choreographer. Bottom row: Jenny Carroll, music director, Marc Anderson, stage manager, and Laura Raynor-Williams, music director.

“The Lion King Jr.,” Sept. 16-17, Sept 23-24, Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 18 and 25 and Oct. 2, 2:30 p.m.

This is the story of the epic adventures of a curious lion cub named Simba as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and his destiny as king. Along the way, the young lion encounters a colorful cast of characters including spunky lioness Nala, charismatic meerkat Timon, and loveable warthog Pumbaa. To claim his rightful place on the throne and save his beloved Pridelands, Simba must find his inner strength and confront his wicked Uncle Scar.

Titus Quinn will direct, with Jenny Carroll and Laura Raynor-Williams as music directors. Krystal Stukes will choreograph.

“Little Women,” Nov.18-19, Nov. 25-26 at 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 20 and 27 at 2:30 p.m.  “Little Women” has been praised by critics for its ambition in adapting such a well-known story for the stage. This timeless, captivating story is brought to life in this glorious musical filled with personal discovery, heartache, hope and everlasting love. “Little Women” follows the adventures of sisters Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March. Jo is trying to sell her stories for publication, but the publishers are not interested. Her friend, Professor Bhaer, tells her that she has to do better and write more from herself. Begrudgingly taking this advice, Jo weaves the story of herself and her sisters and their experience growing up in Civil War America. Jennifer Hubbard will direct.

“Into the Woods Jr.,” Feb. 3-4, 2023, and Feb 10-11 and 17-18 at 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 5, 12 and 19 at 2:30 p.m.

A new take on Stephen Sondheim’s and James Lapine’s groundbreaking musical fairy tale about wishes and the choices we make.

The musical centers on a baker and his wife who wish to have a child; Cinderella, who wishes to attend the King’s festival; and Jack, who wishes his cow would give milk. When the baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a witch’s curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse, and wind up changed forever.

Simmon Moray will direct, with Jenny Carroll as music director.

Auditions Dec. 5 and 6.

“James and the Giant Peach,” March 24-25, 2023, March 31-April 1 at 7:30 p.m.; March 26 and April 2 at 2:30 p.m.

A magical peach! An imprisoned boy! An incredible journey! This amazing adventure of James Henry Trotter will fulfill the fantasy of anyone who has ever dreamed of escape.

When young James is sent by his conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree, he discovers magic crocodile tongues that launch a journey of enormous proportions. Suddenly, James finds himself in the center of the gigantic peach, among human-sized insects with equally oversized personalities, but after it falls from the tree and rolls into the ocean, the group faces danger, sharks, and plenty of disagreements. Thanks to James’ quick wit and creative thinking, the residents learn to live and work together as a family.

Keaton Brower will direct. Auditions will be Feb. 6 and 7, 2023.

“The SpongeBob Musical,” June 2-3, June 9-10 and June 16-17 at 2:30 p.m.; June 4, 11 and 18 at 2:30 p.m.

The stakes are higher than ever in this dynamic stage musical, as SpongeBob and all of Bikini Bottom face the total annihilation of their undersea world.

SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy attempt to stop an erupting volcano from destroying Bikini Bottom. Chaos erupts. Lives hang in the balance. And just when all hope seems lost, a most unexpected hero rises up and takes center stage. The power of optimism really can save the world!

David T. Loudermilk will direct, with Dallas McKinney as choreographer and Laurie Klaus as music director. Auditions will be April 10-11, 2023.

The Norvell Theater’s youth productions will include a version of ‘Into the Woods Jr.,’ the childhood favorite, ‘James and the Giant Peach’ and ‘SpongeBob: the Musical.’ All three are coming up in 2023.

Other events

— Now through Sept. 5, a new art exhibit at the N.C. Transportation Museum. Trains That Make America: The Railroad Art of Nadine Charlsen is on display in the Master mechanic’s Office Building, beside the Gift Station. The artist has received national and international recognition and publication. Based in Asheville, her studio in the River Arts District is close to the previous location of the Southern Railway roundhouse in Asheville, the sister roundhouse to the one at Spencer Shops. The exhibit is included in the regular admission price to the museum. https://www.nctransportationmuseum.org/art-of-nadine-charlsen-exhibit/

— Join first-time author Elizabeth Gentry as she launches her memoir, “Return to Me.” Refreshments; autograph with purchase of the book. Aug. 11, 6-8 p.m., The Heritage Room, 118 E. Council St. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100082845099120&ref=page_internal

Waterworks Visual Arts Center (WVAC), 123 E. Liberty St., will present a special juried group exhibition to showcase the artistic talents of local and regional artists to new and broader audiences. Waterworks invites you to celebrate our unique identities, personal/cultural stories and connections in ART 4 ALL: I AM: Identity. Stories. Connections. Public opening, Friday, Sept. 16, 5-6:30 pm; Meet the Artists Reception – Art Preview & Sale, Thursday, Sept. 15, 6-7:30 pm, members only. Sept. 12 through Jan. 27, 2023, Mondays-Fridays. https://www.waterworks.org/see-upcoming-exhibitions

Community Partners

About The Author

Deirdre Parker Smith

I grew up in the theater; my father was a set designer and my mother was an actress. My most magical memories are from the days when we worked on stage and backstage together. My father, James “Parkie” Parker was a well-respected member of the theatre arts department at Catawba College for 33 years. Though I was born in New York City, and lived for a time in Washington, D.C., I graduated from Salisbury High School and Wake Forest University and was a writer and editor at the Salisbury Post for 35 years. Watching talented people do their thing is a great joy — acting, singing, playing an instrument, painting, drawing, writing. I’ve been lucky to meet many awesome creative people over the years. Art, in all its forms, heals people, makes connections and gives us a deep joy.