Mill Mountain Theatre opens its 2017 Season with a two-performance presentation of The Mountaintop, an acclaimed drama depicting the final hours of life of American civil-rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

The show on Feb. 24 and 25 also will begin MMT’s new Waldron Fringe Series, a group of plays with serious and provocative topics presented as staged readings in the 120-seat Waldron Stage.

“This new series is a big step for Mill Mountain Theatre artistically,” said Ginger Poole, MMT’s Producing Artistic Director. “We are reclaiming as a performance venue a space that has been devoted to MMT Conservatory education programs for the past several years.  And we are doing it with serious, often tough dramas intended to engage audiences with thoughtful issues.”

Beginning that journey with a play about Martin Luther King Jr. in Black History Month should raise questions for our audience about contemporary issues of civil disobedience, human rights and fear of oppression, she said. The play is set in 1968 on the eve of King’s assassination in a motel room in Memphis, Tennessee.  The staged reading format uses projections rather than full scenery and basic costumes so the audience focus and attention is on the text and storytelling by actors who are just a few feet away.

The artistic staff of The Mountaintop consists of three New York-based African Americans who are new to Roanoke audiences: Director G. D. Kimble, Blake Morris portraying King, and Maribel Martinez in the role of Camae, a hotel maid who brings coffee to King’s hotel room and engages him in extended conversation about his private fears and anxieties masked by his very public career.

G.D. Kimble, Director of “The Mountaintop”

“The power of this piece is that it shows, before he was an icon, Dr. King was just a man,” Kimble said. “A man like any other human being with the same hopes, fears, faults and yes – mortality. It’s in that humanity that we find seeds and the fuel for his greatness and the lesson that greatness lies in all of us.  In these times of discord any one of us through anger, compassion, sacrifice, and guts can affect change.  Any one of us, no matter how small we believe we are, can be the single voice that ignites a million more.”

Blake Morris

Morris, who will portray King in the performances, said “I’m so proud to be part of a play that seeks to meditate on Dr. King’s personal search for an inner justice and inner peace.”

Martinez said she is excited to act in this play at a time when Americans need to stand for what they believe. “I find (playwright) Katori Hall’s depiction of these characters and their relationship with fear to be so fascinating. We all have to face our fears in order to make change.”

Maribel Martinez

Tickets for The Mountaintop are $15 each, less than half Mill Mountain Theatre’s price for mainstage productions.  “We want this production to be accessible to audiences who can benefit from the thoughtful discussion it prompts,” Poole said.  Reservations can be made by calling the Center in the Square box office at 540-342-5740 or online at Performances will be in The Waldron Stage at 20 Church Ave. in downtown Roanoke.

Mill Mountain Theatre’s production of The Mountaintop is made possible in part by generous support by Actors’ Equity Association; Center in the Square; National Endowment for the Arts; and the Virginia Commission for the Arts.


WILLY WONKA AUDITIONS – February 24th & 25th

Auditions for Mill Mountain Theatre’s Summer Mainstage, Roald Dahl’s WILLY WONKA JR, will take place on Friday February 24th from 5:00pm to 8:00pm and Saturday February 25th from 10:00am to 1:00pm.  Some may be asked to attend callbacks on Sunday February 26th at 2:00pm.

Please email for an audition appointment time, and put ‘Willy Wonka Audition’ in the subject line.  Auditions will take place in MMT’s 3rd Floor Studio (located at 20 Church Ave SE).  All children 6-18 years of age are invited to audition.

Please prepare:  

Please prepare a 32-bar cut of a musical theatre song (about one minute).  To also be considered for a role, please prepare a one-minute monologue as well.  There will be a brief movement/dance call, so please bring appropriate attire that you can move in.

Rehearsals and performances:

Rehearsals are Monday through Saturday, beginning July 6th.  Performances are July 26th through August 6th on MMT’s Trinkle Mainstage.

A little bit about the show:

Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka Jr. follows candy maker Willy Wonka as he stages a contest by hiding golden tickets in five of his scrumptious candy bars. Whoever comes up with these tickets will win a free tour of the Wonka factory, as well as a lifetime supply of candy. Four of the five winning children are insufferable brats, but the fifth is a likeable young lad named Charlie Bucket, who takes the tour in the company of his equally amiable grandfather. MMT’s version puts young actors in the spotlight, singing memorable songs including “Pure Imagination,” “The Candyman,” “ I’ve Got a Golden Ticket,” “ Oompa-Loompa,” and “I Want it Now.”

Character Breakdown: (in order of appearance)

Willy Wonka/Candy Man – mysterious, mischievous, charismatic, and engaging.  Wonka serves as narrator and ‘tour guide’ throughout the show, and must possess strong vocal and acting skills.

Charlie Bucket – the emotional heart and soul of the musical; honest, thoughtful, and virtuous.  Spunky and enthusiastic, Charlie is in almost every scene and must possess strong vocal and acting skills.

Mr. Bucket –  the bread-winner of the family;  he deals with the pressures of supporting a whole family; a nurturer.

Mrs. Bucket – the support, stability, and care-taker of the family; she deals with running a household and looking after Charlie’s grandparents.

Grandpa Joe – caring, patient, sweet, and always reminds Charlie to remain cheerful.  Must be kind and funny.

Grandma Josephina, Grandpa George, & Grandma Georgina – Charlie’s other grandparents;  quirky and interesting.  Must have good comic timing.

James & Matilda – friends of Charlie’s from school.  Will likely double as Oompa-Loompas.

Phineous Trout – a reporter, who announces the Golden Ticket winners throughout the show.  Must have a clear, confident speaking voice.

Augustus Gloop – an overachieving eater and glutton, a character actor who can sing.

Mrs. Gloop – Augustus’s over-indulgent mother.

Veruca Salt – A wealthy, class-concious spoiled brat.  Often portrayed as British, but snobby comes in all nationalities, so not a requirement.  Must be a strong singer.

Mr. Salt – solves problems by buying his way out.  His nose in the air, he is obviously of the uppercrust, and you can see where Veruca gets her attitude from.  An acting role (not much singing required).

Violet Beauregarde – a gum chewer extraordinaire and ‘blue-collar brat.’  Must have a strong singing voice.

Mrs. Beauregarde – a geography teacher who has invested a lot of hard-earned money into therapy for her orally-fixated daughter.  An acting role (not much singing required).

Mike Teevee – a technology junkie, Mike is obsessed with television, video games, the internet, and any other technological device.  Bratty, loud, and obnoxious; does not like to hear the word ‘no.’

Ms. Teevee – perfectly put together, and perfectly vacant.  Think June Cleaver, Marion Cunningham, or Carol Brady.

Ensemble – to play Oompa-Loompas, Candy Man Kids, etc.



JAN 19th at 5:30PM


On January 19, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. outside in Market Square, Mill Mountain Theatre is proud to join theatres, artists, and audiences across the country and in each time zone to launch THE GHOSTLIGHT PROJECT.

Gathering outside of theaters on January 19th, people will join in a collective, simultaneous action, together creating “light” for challenging times ahead. Inspired by the tradition of leaving a “ghost light” on in a darkened theater, we pledge to stand for and protect the values of inclusion, participation, and compassion for everyone–regardless of race, class, religion, country of origin, immigration status, (dis)ability, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

We at Mill Mountain Theatre aim to create brave spaces that will serve as lights to the community in the coming years. We aim to join a network of people across the country working to support vulnerable communities.

***Arrive by 5:15pm – it is important we start the program promptly at 5:30pm. Bring a light that is OFF when you arrive (stick to clear/white light) – bring flashlights, lanterns, cell phone lights, etc.




Share your sign on social media using
#ghostlightproject #allarewelcome & #bealight


Here’s our Facebook event to share:


Visit for more information


It is not every day that a former world-renowned Rockette and Broadway performer embarks on a mid-sized town to lead a regional production.  Former Rockette, Eileen Grace, has recently settled in Roanoke to live and work during the next four weeks.  Grace will serve as the director and choreographer for Mill Mountain Theatre’s final show of 2016, the ever-popular White Christmas.  She will direct nearly two dozen cast members as they exhibit their exceptional talent on the Mill Mountain Theatre Trinkle Main Stage beginning November 30.

Grace directed and staged the wondrous Radio City Christmas Spectacular touring productions for nine years and her choreography credits include more than 40 musicals.  Her television credits include the Grammy Awards, the Tony Awards, One Life to Live, the Today Show, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Kennedy Center Honors, the Late Show with David Letterman, and Oprah.  “I never dreamt that I’d have this kind of career.  It’s been an amazing ride,” Grace exclaimed.

Eileen Grace (left) teaching the cast choreography to “Blue Skies”

White Christmas has enabled Grace to make a return trip to the Star City.  She served as the choreographer for 42nd Street during Mill Mountain Theatre’s 2015 season.  This year several local students will have the opportunity to work alongside the seasoned professional.

Four area students that have been involved with the Mill Mountain Theatre Conservatory program will be part of the youth ensemble for the upcoming production.  Cave Spring High School junior, Caitlin Carter, most recently appeared as Cinderella in Mill Mountain Theatre’s summer production Into the Woods, Jr.  A junior at Patrick Henry High School, Cathleen Turner, will also return to the Mill Mountain Theatre stage after performing in 42nd Street last year.  Mason Peters, a fourth grader at Parkway Christian Academy, has performed locally in a variety of roles.  Olivia Goodman, a Fincastle, Virginia, native and Central Academy Middle School student, will play the part of Susan Waverly as she represents the child’s perspective in the holiday classic.  Most recently she performed as Little Red Riding Hood in the family-friendly show, Into the Woods Jr.

As White Christmas comes to a close on December 18, Mill Mountain Theatre will conclude the 2016 season with a two-night only concert entitled Holiday Music. The shows on December 20 and December 21 will delight audiences of all ages.

White Christmas runs November 30 through December 18.  The shows will take place on the Trinkle Main Stage in the Wells Fargo Auditorium at Center in the Square.

Beverages can be purchased from the bar beginning at 6:30 p.m. and continuing through intermission.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the show beginning at 7:00 p.m.  The Saturday and Sunday matinees will begin at 2:00 p.m. with doors opening at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets are available from the Center in the Square box office by calling (540) 342-5740 or online via Mill Mountain Theatre’s website at


Mill Mountain Theater is grateful for the support from Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital; The Roanoke Star and; and WDBJ Television. 

Additional support for White Christmas is made possible in part by generous underwriting by Boxley; Corrugated Container Corp.; Member One Federal Credit Union; Avis Construction Co.; Catawba Capital Management; Varney, Inc.; Elk Hill Advisors, Inc.; Integrated Textile Solutions; Miller, Long & Associates; The Wadsworth Group at Morgan Stanley; Oakey’s Funeral Service & Crematory; Richfield Living; Roanoke Animal Hospital; Roanoke Gas Company/RGC Resources; and Spilman Thomas & Battle PLLC.

Appreciation is also extended to the following sponsors for their support of the 2016 Music Series: Bank of Floyd; Jefferson Surgical Clinic; Skyline Capital Strategies, LLC; Virginia Varsity Transfer/Virginia Varsity Storage; Woods Rogers PLC; and Business Solutions, Inc.

Auditions Announced for MMT Education Spring 2017 Programming


The Education Department at Mill Mountain Theatre is excited to announce auditions for our spring programming. There are several opportunities for students of all ages to perform and grow both onstage at MMT, and outside the theatre’s walls. Auditions will be held Tuesday, December 6th from 5:00-8:00 PM on the Waldron Stage. Please email to request an audition time, and indicate in your email which opportunities you would like to be considered for. If you are unavailable on the scheduled day, please email to request an early audition.


Patchwork is a new play which will be performed and devised by the company with Travis and Jay co-directing. The production is the result of a partnership with History Museum of Western Virginia, and will run alongside their current exhibit, Reading Appalachia. The performances will be on Saturday, February 18th with rehearsals beginning in January. We are looking for High School and Middle School performers. Those who want to audition should prepare a short monologue for their audition.

Music Theatre Conservatory is our by-audition-only, advanced music theatre performance class. This class will meet on Thursday evenings from 7:00-9:00 PM from February 2 – March 30. The class will be co-taught by Jay, Travis, and Seth. We are looking for High School and Middle School performers. Those who want to audition should prepare a 1 minute monologue and a short audition song cut.

The Velveteen Rabbit is our spring Young Audiences production. It will be an original adaptation of the classic story, written and directed by Jay Briggs to feature young performers. Rehearsals will begin the week of January 30th. The show opens on March 25 with additional performances on March 27, 31, and April 1. We are seeking Middle School and Elementary School performers and one adult female performer. Auditionees should prepare a short monologue or poem.

POE Cast Interview: Tela Espelage

Our last feature on the POE cast is an interview with Tela Espelage. Tela is rejoining MMT as a high school student after last taking classes with us in elementary school! We are happy to have her back. She has been an important member of this cast and our Music Theatre Conservatory this fall.




MMT: How old are you, Tela?

Tela: 15

MMT: And, what school do you attend?

Tela: William Byrd High School

MMT: Which means you live in…

Tela: Vinton, VA

MMT: So, do you have a favorite poem or story in the show?

Tela: “The Raven” and “Pit and Pendulum” are my favorite pieces. “The Raven” was one of the first poems I had ever read and it was my moms favorite, too. It also has so many meanings and symbolism and is a really beautiful peace. “Pit and Pendulum” was a creative challenge and it really broke down my walls. I had never acted in a way of life and death situation. I loved getting to know my character and working with it.

MMT: Yes! It’s been really great to see you wrestle with that piece and grow as an actor working on it. So, you’ve rejoined MMT after awhile, right?

Tela: I did a couple of classes when I was in kindergarten, and am now coming back. This is my first year working with MMT again.

MMT: Did you know much about Poe before starting rehearsals?

Tela: I did know about Poe. Poe is a family favorite author and when we found out I was cast we were extremely excited.

MMT: That’s awesome! Have you learned anything new working on the show?

Tela: One thing I learned was in his piece, “Alone,” how he had felt that way often. It was insightful which and different from his usual scary side.

MMT: I love that perspective. Do you have a favorite word from the show?

Tela: My favorite word is endeavor.

MMT: Which means?

Tela: to exert oneself, to make effort.

That feels like a great way to close this series and show! We are so proud of the way all these students have endeavored to bring these poems and stories to life. You’ve got two more shots to catch the show: Saturday at 1 & 3 PM. We hope to see you there!


POE Cast Interview: Mariah Eakin

Meet Mariah! She is a multi-talented performer who not only dances but has recently choreographed a production for a local middle school. POE is her first non-musical production, and it’s been a pleasure to see her tackle new material.


MMT: Mariah, how old are you?

Mariah: I’m 12 years old.

MMT: Where do you live?

Mariah: In Roanoke County.

MMT: Where do you go to school?

Mariah: North Cross School.

MMT: What is your favorite story or poem in POE?

Mariah: The Raven, because it is fun to interpret what you think the poem is saying.

MMT: That’s cool, what’s your favorite piece to be in?

Mariah: The Raven, where I play the narrator.

MMT: That must be a fun part. How long have you been performing at MMT?

Mariah: 7 years.

MMT: Another familiar face. Did you know about Poe before this show? What have you learned about him?

Mariah: I did know about him, I’ve learned how dark his life was and how he wrote his feelings in his poems.

MMT: His poems do show a lot of emotion. What’s your favorite word that you’ve learned from the show?

Mariah: Tintinnabulation is probably my favorite. But I also really like voluminously which means of great size.

MMT: That’s a good one! Thanks for talking with us Mariah!

POE picks up again tomorrow night at 7 PM. You can also catch it on Saturday afternoon at 1 & 3 PM. We hope to see you there!

POE Cast Interview: Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith is pulling double-duty right now. Not only is she performing in POE, but she is also playing Bottom in Patrick Henry High School’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” With such a busy schedule, we were glad we could steal a little time with her!


ryan_ed2MMT: Ryan, how old are you?

Ryan: I’m 15 years old.

MMT: Where do you live?

Ryan: I live in Roanoke city.

MMT: Where do you go to school?

Ryan: I go to Patrick Henry High School and the Roanoke Valley Governor’s School.

MMT: What’s your favorite story or poem in the show?

Ryan: My favorite story in the show is “The Raven” because it is very creepy and I like the rhythm to the lines.

MMT: “The Raven” is very creepy, everyone seems to like that one. What’s your favorite story to be in or favorite character to play?

Ryan: My favorite story that I’m in “The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether” because I get to play a crazy person.

MMT: That must be fun. How long have you been performing with MMT?

Ryan: I’ve been doing classes and shows at MMT since 2009.

MMT: So you’re a familiar face around here. Did you know about Poe at all before this show? What have you learned about him since starting rehearsals?

Ryan: I did know of Poe before this show, but I have learned more about how his personal life affected his writing.

MMT: OK. We know you probably love tintinnabulation — everyone seems to. But, other than that, what’s your favorite word that you learned from this show?

Ryan: I do love tintinnabulation! But, I also love obeisance which means a show of respect.

MMT: Awesome! Thanks for talking to us Ryan!

You’ve still got three more chances to see POE starting this Friday at 7 PM! We hope to see you there!

POE Cast Interview: Joe Francis

Meet Joe Francis! He’s a busy actor around town, having done multiple roles at Roanoke Children’s Theatre and Showtimers. We are thrilled that he has joined the cast of POE for his first show with MMTC. And he is doing some heavy-lifting in this show, with roles in both “Annabel Lee” and “The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether.”


MMT: Joe, how old are you?

Joe: 11

MMT: Where do you live?

Joe: I live in Roanoke city.

MMT: Where do you go to school?

Joe: I go to Woodrow Wilson Middle school.

MMT: What’s your favorite poem or story in the show?

Joe: “The Tell-Tale Heart,” because it’s creepy and I like how it’s written.

MMT: It is very creepy. What’s your favorite character to play in the show?

Joe: Monsieur Defour, in “The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Feather.”

MMT: That’s a fun character. When did you start performing or taking classes with MMT?

Joe: I started this year.

MMT: Well, welcome! We’re glad you’re here! Did you know anything about POE before starting this show? What have you learned about him?

Joe: I knew very little about him, I learned his writing is very creepy.

MMT: It is quite creepy. What’s your favorite word that you’ve learned from the show?

Joe: Tintinnabulation, which means a ringing or tinkling sound.

MMT: Wow, everyone loves that word. Thanks for talking with us Joe!

Three more performances this weekend: Friday at 7 PM and Saturday at 1 PM & 3 PM. All tickets are pay what you can. We hope to see you there!

POE Cast Interviews: Charlotte Pearl

Starting off a new week of interviews with the cast and creative team behind POE is a sit-down with Charlotte Pearl. Charlotte is a talented comedic actress — she even has her own YouTube channel. In POE she brings that skill to play as Madam Petite from the comically dark short story “The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether,” among other characters.


MMT: Charlotte, how old are you?

Charlotte: 13

MMT: Where do you go to school?

Charlotte: I go to Roanoke Valley Christian School.

MMT: Where do you live?

Charlotte: I live in Troutville.

MMT: Oh, I think you’re our only actor from that area. What’s your favorite poem or story in the show?

Charlotte: The Raven.

MMT: What’s your favorite character that you play?

Charlotte: Madam Petite, the insane women who takes over a mental asylum in The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Feather.

MMT: That’s a great part. How have you been performing at MMT?

Charlotte: Hm, I think about five to seven years, I can’t remember.

MMT: Wow, so you’ve been with us for a long time. Did you know anything about Poe before starting this show? What have you learned about him since starting rehearsals?

Charlotte: I didn’t know much about him before this show but I’ve learned that he’s a very creepy person.

MMT: He definitely had a creepy side and his poems show that. There’s a lot of interesting words in this show, which one is your favorite?

Charlotte: Tintinnabulation, which means a ringing or tinkling sound.

MMT: Everyone seems to love that word! Thanks Charlotte!

You can catch POE tonight at 7 PM on the Waldron Stage! Tickets are Pay What You Can at the door!


POE Cast Interviews: Josie Wiegandt

Next up in our POE interview series is Josie Wiegandt. You might recognize her as Jack’s Mom from “Into the Woods, Jr.” this summer. For POE she has taken a turn at design, putting together the costumes for our steampunk-inspired, gothic tale.


MMT: How old are you?

Josie: 17

MMT: In what part of Roanoke Valley do you live?

Josie: Botetourt County

MMT: And what school do you go to?

Josie: Lord Botetort High School

MMT: As a designer, you get to put your touch on every part of the show. What’s your favorite poem or story in the show?

Josie: “Annabelle Lee” – it’s so somber but also so beautiful.

MMT: What’s your favorite part about working behind the scenes?

Josie: It’s been really rewarding seeing my vision recognized, and the whole show come together.

MMT: Did you know much about Poe before being in this show? What’s something you’ve learned about him or his writing since starting rehearsals or doing your designs?

Josie: I knew a little about Poe, but had only read one story, “The Tell-Tale Heart.” But now I know that Poe was way ahead of his time. The stories are outrageous, but reveal a certain truth about the human nature.

MMT: How long have you been doing shows/classes at MMT?

Josie: Forever! I’ve been a part of the community for eight years.

MMT: And we will certainly miss you around here when you head off to college next fall. I sure hope we can find some more projects before you between now and then. Thanks for taking the time for the show, and to tell us about it!

POE opened today at 1 PM! This weekend we also have shows at 3 PM today, and 7 PM on Monday night! We hope to see you there!

POE Cast Interview: Sophie Sons

Next up in our series of interviews with the students involved with POE is Sophie Sons. Sophie is a student at Community High School. You might recognize her from this summer’s production of Into the Woods, Jr. In POE she gets to try her hand at one of Poe’s most famous poems, “The Raven.”

sophie_edMMT: Sophie, how old are you?

Sophie: 16

MMT: Where do you live?

Sophie: I live in Roanoke county.

MMT: What’s your favorite poem or story in the show?

Sophie: My favorite story is “The Pit and The Pendulum.” I love how suspenseful it is and I like the surprise ending.

MMT: I think I might already know the answer to this, but what’s your favorite character that you play?

Sophie: My favorite role is in “The Raven.” I get to play someone who is going insane, which is new for me.

MMT: How long have you been doing shows and classes at Mill Mountain?

Sophie: For two years.

MMT: Relatively new to us, but we are glad to have you! Did you know about Poe before being in this show? What’s something you’ve learned about him or his writing since starting rehearsals?

Sophie: I did know about Poe before doing this show, and I’ve learned that many of his stories include a little piece of his own story.

MMT: And finally, what’s your favorite word you’ve learned from this show?

Sophie: Tintinnabulation, which means a ringing or tinkling sound.

MMT: That’s our second vote for that word. It’s a popular one! Thanks again, Sophie! We will see you this weekend!

And we also hope to see you! POE opens on Saturday (Oct 22nd) at 1pm. Tickets are pay-what-you-can at the door!

POE Cast Interview: Layla Esch-Bickel

Continuing our series of interviews with the cast and creative team behind MMTC’s POE, today we sit down with Layla Esch-Bickel. Layla is a multi-talented contributor to MMTC. She is an actor and technician, and was recently awarded one of two inaugural John Sailer Scholarships for recognition of her commitment and interest in technical theatre. For POE, she is putting all those interests to good use by performing in show and serving as Assistant to the Director.


MMT: Layla, how old are you?

Layla: 15

MMT: What school do you go to?

Layla: I’m homeschooled.

MMT: Excellent. So, where do you live?

Layla: I live in Roanoke city.

MMT: As the Assistant to the Director, you get to work a bit on all the stories and poems. Do you have a favorite?

Layla: “The Tell-Tale Heart” or “Annabel Lee.” Those are the most interesting stories to me.

MMT: Yes. Those are great ones. And you even get to do some choreography for “Annabel Lee.” What is your favorite character that you get to play?

Layla: Definitely the murderer in “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

MMT: Congratulations on your recent award by the way! How long have you been doing shows and classes at MMT?

Layla: Thanks! I’ve been participating in different ways since 2011.

MMT: What’s something you’ve learned about Poe or his writing since starting rehearsals?

Layla: I knew a few of his stories, but I’ve learned how self-reflective a lot of his poems are.

MMT: And lastly, what’s your favorite word you’ve learned from this show?

Layla: Brazen, which means bold and without shame.

MMT: That’s an excellent word! Thanks for taking the time to chat!

You won’t want to miss Layla and the rest of the cast as they present POE, starting this Saturday at 1pm on the Waldron Stage! Tickets are pay-what-you-can at the door. We hope to see you there!

POE Cast Interview: Mateo Lara-McNamara

Opening for our Fall Young Audiences Production of “POE” is just a week away! Over the next couple weeks, we will be introducing you to the young artists that are bringing this brand new adaptation to life on the Waldron Stage. They are creative, courageous, and at times, downright creepy performers! It’s going to be a great show, and we hope you will join us Oct 22nd – 29th.  Now, without further ado, let me introduce you to Mateo Lara-McNamara.


MMT: Mateo, how old are you?

Mateo: 11

MMT: And, what school do you go to?

Mateo: I go to Roanoke Catholic School.

MMT: In what part of Roanoke Valley do you live?

Mateo: I live in Southwest County.

MMT: You’ve been working on the show for about six weeks now. Do you have a favorite poem or story in the show.

Mateo: “The Raven” because it was the one I was most familiar with, actually from watching “The Simpson’s.” Also, I get to play The Narrator in that poem.

MMT: You’ve had a good run with animals this year, huh? You performed in Aesop’s Fables, and was one of our Milky White cows in Into the Woods, Jr. How long have you been doing shows and classes at MMT?

Mateo: I’ve been doing this for over six years – since kindergarten.

MMT: Did you know about Poe before being in this show? What’s something you’ve learned about him or his writing since starting rehearsals?

Mateo: Yes I did know about Poe, but I’ve learned more. I’ve learned he was a dark person and that he was somewhat depressed. Plus, I did not realize he lost his wife early.

MMT: What’s your favorite word you’ve learned from this show?

Mateo: Tintinnabulation, which means a ringing or tinkling sound.

MMT: That’s awesome. I didn’t know that word either!


There you have it folks! Come see Mateo and the rest of the cast starting Oct 22nd!


Mill Mountain Theatre Conservatory to present POE, a spooky Halloween treat

poeJust in time for Halloween, Mill Mountain Theatre Conservatory (MMTC) will round out its 2016 performance programming with POE: a theatrical exploration of the mysterious and macabre, an original adaptation of poems and short stories by the renowned author Edgar Allan Poe. This 40-minute new work, adapted and directed by Mill Mountain Theatre’s Alicia Varcoe, brings to the stage some of the author’s most beloved works including “The Raven,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “The Bells,” amongst others. The cast and crew features ten middle and high school performers, designers, and technicians from the ranks of MMTC’s pre-professional training program.

These talented young actors are having a blast interpreting the mysterious (and even creepy) works of Edgar Allan Poe. Modern steampunk and goth elements in the production design will only make this adaptation more accessible to a contemporary audience,” said Varcoe. In keeping with the educational aims of MMTC, the material is intentionally challenging. “Not only are these students creating an artful performance for Roanoke audiences, but they are also learning how to interpret and perform verse, something that will surely help them approach more complex works in the future, such as Shakespeare’s plays,” Varcoe stated.

POE also stands as the next project in a series of performances MMTC has produced as part of an ongoing initiative to connect theatre to reading. Jay Briggs, Director of Education & Community Engagement, said, “At Mill Mountain Theatre we believe the experience of participating in or witnessing live performance is an excellent way of activating words on a page and bringing them to life. In that spirit, Alicia has done an incredible job of helping her young cast comprehend difficult texts to create a compelling and educational production experience.”

Extending this educational impact beyond the cast and crew, POE presents another opportunity for MMTC to collaborate with Star City Reads, Roanoke’s All-America City Award-Winning Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Through this partnership, MMTC will distribute free books to students who attend a performance. Previous collaborations in this series (Aesop’s Fables, Tall Tales, All the World’s a Stage, and Into the Woods, Jr.) have, thus far in 2016, led to the distribution of 665 free books to youth in Roanoke Valley. Moreover, research from those productions has shown that 82% of children read the distributed books and 42% planned to visit libraries for more books. “Our goal is not only to provide an opportunity for young artists to learn through the process of performing great works, but also to serve as a gateway to great literature for audience members who leave our shows inspired to read,” said Briggs.

POE also marks Mill Mountain Theatre’s first official production offering pay-what-you-can admission. “We are committed to the principle that our theatre and its educational initiatives should be a resource available to everyone in our community. We hope that by lowering the financial barrier to entry to our education productions, we can continue to cultivate the next generation of artists and audiences in Roanoke Valley,” said Producing Artistic Director, Ginger Poole.

POE opens on Saturday, October 22nd, with performances at 1 PM and 3 PM on MMT’s Waldron Stage (20 Church Ave, SE). Other performances are slated for October 24th at 7 PM, October 28th at 7 PM, and October 29th at 1 PM and 3 PM. All performances are pay-what-you-can for admission at the door.

Call the Box Office

Tuesday - Saturday 9:45 am to 4:45 pm   |   Sunday 1 pm to 4:45 pm

1 Market Square SE   |   Roanoke, VA 24011

© Mill Mountain Theatre 2016. All rights reserved.

Center in the Square   Art Works.   Virginia Commission for the Arts   Actor's Equity Association