Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Let's Do This!

Photo by Anthony Guidone

By Amelia Driscoll

All hands on deck, hard hats on, tool belts fastened. Let’s do this!

Over the past week, Asheville Community Theatre’s Mainstage took a final curtain call, and while this wasn’t the closing performance of the theatre, it was the closing of a chapter - the last 70 years. For 70 years, ACT’s Mainstage was home to more than 250 shows totaling over 2,200 performances. It was a space for a community to gather - as an audience member, volunteer, or part of the cast or crew - and for a community to grow.

For many, walking in the door and sitting in their favorite gold chair or turning on the bulbs above their dressing room mirror recalls memories of milestones. First stage kisses or kisses under the alter (yes, it’s true, we’ve even held weddings here); tears of proudness over conquered stage fright; the realization that a character onstage was them and they were not alone.

The beginning of demolition brings a sense of loss that comes on expectedly, though not entirely unwelcome. A chance for reflection. To say goodbye and thank you.

This week, the chairs where parents held their children on their laps were taken out, the booth where stage managers said the words, “Stand by for the house lights to dim” was emptied, and the Green Room where casts gathered for sing-a-longs and pep talks was cleaned out from the kitchen cabinets to the call boards.

So, while we can’t take with us the divot in the floor from the dropped hammer during a late night rush to finish a set or the faded paint where a Tanglewood camper painted his masterpiece, we can take the promise that soon - very soon - we’ll get to do it all again. Act Two. Even better than Act One.

More stage kisses will happen and more tears of joy. More fear overcome and more liberation unlocked. This is theatre, and demolition week breaks ground on a world of possibilities. So, to that we say, let’s do this!

PS - Want to share some of your ACT memories? Post them in the Comments section!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Renovation ACT

Since 1946, Asheville Community Theatre has been producing dramas, comedies, musicals and more. For years, we were a vagabond company, producing shows in auditoriums all over the city. But in 1972, the curtain opened for our first show in our permanent home (it was Camelot - and we still have cast members from that show who are still heavily involved at ACT!). We are grateful to those board members and community leaders who worked so hard to secure a long-lasting space for ACT, and we are thrilled to embark on a renovation to that space.

We've divided the project into three phases. Phase One is the renovation of the Mainstage auditorium, the Green Room and the dressing room spaces. Phase Two is new construction - we're planning a new black box theatre in our own backyard! Phase Three will renovate the existing Blomberg Annex (currently our costume, prop, and furniture storage) into an Education Complex.

Phase One is up first. And it begins this month! We're putting in new seating, updating lighting and sound equipment, optimizing the acoustics in the room with panels and baffles, hanging a new grid, and completely upgrading the Green Room and the dressing rooms (if you've ever been in one of our shows, you know how long we've needed this).

ACT Mainstage backstage floor plan
Look at those aisles! We're working with the local office of architectural firm McMillan Pazdan and Smith for Phase One.
We'll be working all through the spring on Phase One, and will reveal the updated interior in August 2017 when we open The Producers.

We're going to be posting before/afters, preparations, and other exciting updates on this blog, on our Facebook page (we've started a Renovation ACT album) and on our Instagram page. We hope you'll follow our progress! #renovationACT

For more information about our Capital Campaign, including how you can get involved as a Lead or Major donor to help us build the future of ACT, contact Executive Director Susan Harper by email or by phone at 828-254-1320 x29.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Snowbound: Gregory's Reindeer Snacks

In the play Snowbound, Gregory's family has a long tradition of sprinkling reindeer snacks outside their door to help Santa and his reindeer find their house. Their recipe is simple - "just rolled oats and glitter." Instead of glitter, which can harm birds and wildlife if they eat it, we recommend substituting colored sugar crystals!

Here's how to make reindeer snacks:

In a small zipper food storage bag, mix:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal (rolled oats)
  • 1/4 cup colored sugar crystals (as used for cake decorating)


Make bags for your friends and neighbors! You can cut out the picture above and attach it to the bag!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Snowbound: Study Guide

Is your class attending a Student Matinee performance of Snowbound? Check out our study guide that we created for our field trip groups - but here's a hint: it's full of fun activities and interesting info for everyone in our audience!

 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Cast List: Snowbound


We had 81 people audition for the World Premiere of Snowbound! We so wish that we had enough roles for everyone who auditioned. If your name is not on this list, we encourage you to keep auditioning - and your name will be on one of these lists sooner or later!

We are thrilled to announce the cast list:

Vernie...............................................Carla Pridgen
Bob...................................................William Ehrsam
Otto...................................................Mike Yow
Jackie.................................................Robin Oswald
Gregory..............................................Sam Collett
Teresa...............................................Stephanie Carson*
Sarah.................................................Martine Jacobs
Jack...................................................Adam Lentini
Pete...................................................Dylan Murray
Mr. Gable...........................................Donnie Dalton
Conductor...........................................Jack Hollingsworth*
Betty..................................................Mary Ann Heinen
Jeter...................................................Jack Heinen*
Ethel....................................................Mandy Bean
Norma.................................................Jessica Garland
Iris.......................................................Louisa Garner*
Children's Choir...................... Kymani Smith*, Lisa Steffen*,
                    Elise Carson*, Nova Dutton*, Serenity Gardner*,
                    Eleanor Gorczinski, Reed Atherton, Riley Oswald,
                    Julianna Ehrsam, Will Cowan
Harry......................................................Paul Adams*
Anne......................................................Emily Cowan
James.....................................................Henry Cowan*                                           Cathy......................................................Stella Bunn*

*Making their ACT Mainstage Debut

Please join us for this wonderful show!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sweeney Todd: Who's at the Helm


For the first time in our 70 year history, we are producing Stephen Sondheim's musical masterpiece Sweeney Todd. Once we selected the title, we knew we'd need a powerhouse team to bring the show to its full potential. Cue Lenora Thom and Jerry Crouch, who describe themselves as having "a musical marriage made in heaven."

Musical Director Lenora Thom and Director Jerry Crouch at a recent rehearsal of Sweeney Todd.
Photo by Rodney Smith / Tempus Fugit Design
Over the years Jerry and Lenora's partnership has thrilled and entertained ACT audiences with hits like Annie, Fiddler on the Roof, Guys & Dolls, Annie Get Your Gun and Cabaret. They have also collaborated on the Business Sings Broadway event. Between the two of them, they have clocked in over one hundred musical productions.

They met in 2000 when Jerry was searching for a musical director for ACT's production of The Music Man. Jerry and Lenora recently shared their memories of how they met:

"I inquired of then Asheville Symphony conductor Robert Hart Baker and the ASO marketing director Steve Hageman: "Who is a strong candidate for me to interview for this position?" Both looked at each other and replied "Lenora Thom, of course ... but she is too busy to do it!" remembered Crouch.

Lenora had just moved to Asheville from NYC, and Jerry contacted her immediately. After deciding to pool their budgets in order to hire an orchestra, they embarked on their first production together and Asheville musical history was made.

In regard to their planning strategy for a musical production, Lenora and Jerry are certainly in musical simpatico. In fact, they almost finish each other's sentences! The secret (both agree) is hitting the ground running with two solid weeks of music (under Lenora's sharp eared tutelage) – and for Sweeney Todd, this includes the nine principals and the chorus of 24. When actors are free from those music intensives, Crouch is busy staging the songs and scenes in another part of the theatre.

For Sweeney Todd, 78 actors auditioned and Jerry and Lenora selected a cast of 33. About half of the cast is new to the ACT stage, including Steve Parkin who stars as Sweeney Todd. Parkin has a background in opera and theatre and describes this as his own "bucket list dream role." Christy Montesdeoca is making her ACT musical debut as Mrs. Lovett.

"As a musical partner, Lenora's ear and her unerring judgment are peerless," said Jerry. "To quote a line from Cole Porter's "Friendship," it's the perfect blendship."

Sweeney Todd runs October 7-30, 2016 at Asheville Community Theatre. Need tickets? Get them here.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Cast List: Sweeney Todd

78  actors auditioned for Sweeney Todd! The cast size is 34 of which 18 actors are new to the ACT Mainstage! Thank you to everyone who came out for this show - if your name is not on this cast list, we encourage you to audition again until it's on another one!

Principals
Sweeney Todd - Steve Parkin*
Mrs. Lovett - Christy Montesdeoca
Anthony - Maximilian Koger
Johanna - Lora Ristau
Tobias Ragg - Corey Link
Judge Turpin - David Gregg*
The Beadle - Zacary Landolt
Beggar Woman - Leslie Lang
Adolfo Pirelli - Bradshaw Call
Jonas Fogg - Doug Hauschild

Male Chorus members
Adam Lentini*, Alan Malpass, Andy Thompson*, Chas Jansen*, Doug Hauschild, Edward de Bary*, Frank Davis*, John Coggin, Kyle Smith, Michael Crosa*, Shane Clemmer*, Stuart Moore*, Tom Griffin

Female Chorus members
Cathy Nichols, Chrisi Walker*, Connie Hurst*, Elizabeth Babelay*, Gail Wilson*, Mandy Bean, Marisa Capalbo*, Martine Jacobs*, Nana Hosmer Griffin, Sarah Jane Gibbs*, Tasha Pepi*, Victoria Gree

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Silent Auction Sneak Peek!



This year, our annual fundraiser Costume Drama: A Fashion Show is bigger than ever before! Our silent auction is back for the second year in a row - but this year's auction features more bid-worthy items than ever!

The silent auction items are incredible. With more than $20,000 worth of amazing items to bid on - including many of the dresses you'll see in the show! - there are so many ways to support ACT while walking away with original artwork, adventure experiences, beer packages, wine tastings, jewelry and more!



Here's a list of the items at our silent auction: