Mill Mountain Theatre presents: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, as part of their Young Audience Series, running Oct 21st-28th on the Waldron Stage. Irving’s story was adapted into a new play by MMT’s Resident Creative and Teaching Artist, Christopher Castanho, directed by Director of Education, Travis Kendrick, and features eight local middle to high school students.
It’s Halloween night and Will invites his friends up to the attic to tell spooky stories. When the group of children find a copy of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in an old trunk, they decide to act it out using only things found in the attic. This inventive and theatrical retelling of Washington Irving’s classic story is perfect Halloween fun for the whole family. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, published in 1820, tells the story of Ichabod Crane and his attempt to win the heart of his love, Katrina Van Tassel. This comical and ghostly tale follows Crane through the town of Sleepy Hollow, NY, where he is visited by a mysterious ghost, the Headless Horseman.
“In this production, we are using flashlights, shadow-play, and puppetry to tell Ichabod Crane’s story in a whole new way.” says Travis Kendrick, Director. “The cast has been so collaborative and brought so many creative ideas to the table – you haven’t seen a show like this at MMT before. You won’t want to miss it!”
This unique adaptation puts a new spin on the classic story, while retaining the integrity of a tale we all know and love. “I wanted to tell the original story with Ichabod and the Headless Horseman, but also have new characters created by these actors.” says Playwright, Christopher Castanho. “Having the opportunity to originate a role is such a unique experience, and it’s been great watching our actors rise to the occasion.” This specific script was written exclusively for MMT’s programming, as part of their initiative to sponsor new work within their educational environment.
Each child that attends a performance of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow will receive a free book as a part of Mill Mountain Theatre’s mission of connecting reading and literacy.
Sponsors of the 2017 Young Audience Series of performances include American National Bank, Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital, chocolatepaper, Claytor/Wirt Associates, Davis H. Elliot Co., Friendship Foundation, The Kroger Co., Lanford Brothers Co., LeClairRyan, Roanoke Valley Orthodontics and Woods Rogers PLC.
The production features a company of eight actors: Colby Ervin, Caitlin Carter, Charles Meidlinger, James Moledor, Haley Chey Lynch, Victoria Riego De Dios, Sawyer Mullins, and Caroline Moledor. The production is stage managed by Henry Stevens, Costume Design by Layla Izabella, Set & Sound Design by Travis Kendrick, and Lighting Design by Adam Neely.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow opens on Saturday, October 21st, with performances at 2 PM and 7 PM on MMT’s Waldron Stage (20 Church Ave, SE). Other performances are slated for October 25th at 7 PM, October 27th at 7 PM, and October 28th at 2 PM and 7 PM. Admission is ‘pay-what-you-can’ at the door. No advance tickets will be sold for the listed performances above.
Learn the keys to unlocking William Shakespeare’s text with this 6-week Crash Course running November 13th-December 18th. Investigate sonnets, monologues, and scenes from Shakespeare’s canon every Monday night. Discover the magic of the Bard and walk away with a piece to call your own!
Class is offered to students in 6th grade-Adult. Conservatory students can use this course to sharpen their Shakespeare skills in order to prepare for MMT’s “The Tempest” running May 4th-12th.
Nine actors from all over the country come together in Roanoke to bring you the cult musical classic Little Shop of Horrors running October 4th-22nd on the Trinkle Main Stage at Mill Mountain Theatre. The show is based off the 1960 low-budget cult film directed by Roger Corman, starring Jonathan Haze as Seymour and Jackie Joseph as Audrey. The original Off-Broadway production ran for five years after its premiere at the Orpheum Theatre in 1982.
Producing Artistic Director, Ginger Poole, choreographs. “For the creative team, Little Shop was on allour bucket lists,” she says, “So it just makes sense this year to bring this to Roanoke.” Four of nine cast members are returning to Roanoke for this production, including Josh Walker who is on staff at Mill Mountain as a Resident Teaching Artist.
Starring as Seymour Krelbourn is Cole Smith, New York City native and graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Having performed regionally in The Wizard of Oz (Scarecrow), Bring ItOn (Randall), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Demetrius), and The Plant that Ate Dirty Socks (Norman) “My favorite part of this show has been working with this phenomenal cast.” says Smith, grinning. When asked about the cast, he replied “This whole group, you gotta see them!”
Returning to Roanoke after performing in Mill Mountain’s previous productions of Hairspray as Penny and The Music Of ABBA is Lindsay Nantz. Nantz will be starring as Audrey, the ‘gum-snapping, bleached-blonde secret love of Seymour’s life’. Regional credits include The Great American Trailer Park Musical (Pickles), The Secret Garden (Lily), Les Miserables (Cosette), Grease (Patty Simcox), and more.
Jason Marks* is delighted to be making his Mill Mountain Theatre debut with Little Shop of Horrors as Mr. Mushnik. New York: Young Edgar, Bound for Broadway, Broadway Gypsy of the Year (with Carol Channing). Regional: Holmes & Watson Save the Empire (Oregon Cabaret Theatre), The Producers (Park Playhouse), Shrek (New Stage Theatre), Hairspray (Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre). Mr. Marks is an award-winning singer and actor. Awards include 2012 Theresa Pollak Prize for Excellence in the Arts, Richmond Magazine; 2010 Your Big Broadway Break winner, Staybridge Suites Times Square; two-time Artsie Award Winner, Richmond Theatre Critic’s Circle. *Appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.
Recently graduated with a BFA in Musical Theatre from Shenandoah Conservatory is Jordan Leigh McCaskill,playing Chiffon. This New Jersey native has played Addaperle in The Wiz, Crystal in Little Shop of Horrors, and a Dynamite in Hairspray; all performed at Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre. Jordan hopes to continue to spread love, inclusivity, and acceptance through art whether she is performing, directing, or writing.
Originally from Detroit, Jenia Head is really excited to be at Mill Mountain Theatre and performing the role of Crystal in Little Shop. A recent graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University, her professional credits include Sadie in Having Our Say, Ensemble in Rock of Ages and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at Timberlake Playhouse and Tarzan at Jenny Wiley Theatre.
Troy Jackson is excited to take part in her first production at Mill Mountain Theatre as Ronette. A Florida native, Jackson’s regional theatre credits include Queenie u/s, Showboat; Motormouth Maybelle, Hairspray; Bloody Mary, Big River; Effie, Dreamgirls; and Ronnie, HAIR among others. She is also a part of the legendary Blues Brothers Show at Universal Studios Florida, where she appears as Mabel.
Reggie Bromell is thrilled to be returning to Mill Mountain Theatre as the Voice of Audrey Two after performing in Smokey Joe’s Cafe as Adrian. Tour Credits include: Pippin National Tour, and Memphis National Tour. Favorite Regional Credits include: Dreamgirls at North Shore Music Theatre, Memphis at Mason Street Warehouse, Sister Act at the Broadway Palm, and Shrek at the Dutch Apple. Reggie was also featured in the Hollywood film Magic Mike XXL as a dancer.
A recent graduate from William Peace University in Raleigh, NC is Josh Walker, the plant puppeteer. Originally from New Jersey, he began Musical Theatre while attending Howard. W. Blake High School of Performing Arts in Tampa, Florida. This summer he was seen throughout Roanoke in The Jungle Book as Bagheera and on Mill Mountain’s Waldron stage in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee as Mitch Mahoney. Some of his favorite roles include Samuel in Pirates of Penzance, Lymon in Piano Lesson, ensemble member in Sweeney Todd, and Garcin in No Exit.
Thrilled to be returning to the MMT stage from New York City is performer Nick Jones. Having performed in Best of Broadway: The Songs of the 2000s andlast year’s productions of Smokey Joe’s Cafe and White Christmas in previous years. NY Credits: Oh, Kay (Musicals Tonight), The First Noel: A New Musical. 1st National Tour: Nice Work if You Can Get It. Regional: Mamma Mia (Sky), The Sound of Music (Rolf), Shrek.
Director Alicia Varcoe says “This cult favorite musical is sure to please our Roanoke Valley audiences- it’s equal parts funny, frightening and touching, and full of catchy songs. I’m thrilled to work with such a stellar cast to bring this musical to Mill Mountain Theatre for the very first time.”
Featuring a hit 1960s pop/rock score by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, this smash-hit musical features the songs “Suddenly Seymour,” “Skid Row,” “Feed Me (Git It)” and many more. Little Shop of Horrors runs Oct 4th-22nd. Tickets range from $20-40 and can be purchased online or at the Center in the Square Box Office.
The production is Directed by Alicia Varcoe, Choreographed by Ginger Poole, Music Directed by Seth Davis, Stage Managed by Sammy Brown*, Scenic Design by Shannon Robert, Lighting Design by Bill Webb, Costume Design by Keith Schneider, Props by Jacob Foster, Sound Design by Tim Stanley, Technical Direction by Karen Gierchak, Scenic Charge by Ken Scar, Assistant Stage Managed by Hannah Bergere.
Rated: PG for Comical Violence – suitable for younger audiences
Mill Mountain Theatre presents the hilarious Little Shop Of Horrors, October 4th-22nd.
From the music & lyrical team that brought you the original animated film “Disney’s Beauty & The Beast” comes a musical of a different style. Part horror comedy musical, part sci-fi spoof; all delicious fun, Little Shop of Horrors has been making audiences all over the country scream with laughter since its debut in the early 80’s.
A meek floral assistant Seymour Krelbourn, played by Cole Smith, discovers a new breed of plant and names it “Audrey II” after his co-worker crush. The plant, however, has a mind of its own, and promises Seymour fame and fortune as long as Seymour feeds him what he really wants- BLOOD!
The musical is based off the 1960 low-budget cult film directed by Roger Corman, starring Jonathan Haze as Seymour and Jackie Joseph as Audrey. The original Off-Broadway production ran for five years after its premiere at the Orpheum Theatre in 1982.
Director Alicia Varcoe “This cult favorite musical is sure to please our Roanoke Valley audiences- its equal parts funny, frightening and touching, and full of catchy songs. I’m thrilled to work with such a stellar cast to bring this musical to Mill Mountain Theatre for the very first time.”
Turned into a movie in 1986, starring Rick Moranis as Seymour, Steve Martin as Audrey’s sadistic dentist boyfriend, and Levi Stubbs as the voice of Audrey II. Featuring a hit 1960s pop/rock score by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, this smash-hit musical features the songs “Suddenly Seymour,” “Skid Row,” “Feed Me (Git It)” and many more.
Rated: PG for Comical Violence – suitable for younger audiences
Our upcoming 2018 season will consist of four main stage musicals on the Trinkle, four shows for Young Audiences, three productions in the Waldron Fringe Series, two concerts in their Music Series, and a special family event. A brilliant balance of shows that all will enjoy.
Producing Artistic Director, Ginger Poole, speaks on MMT’s recent growth and their 2018 season “Mill Mountain Theatre has quadrupled programming since 2013. We could not be more excited about all the different components to this 2018 season, from classics to newer works, to tours and concerts. With programming on 2 different stages, Mill Mountain Theatre has something for everyone!”
Four big-cast shows of drama, comedy, music, and family fun, all with impressive production quality.
A Chorus Line, April 25-May 13: Hopeful, heartbreaking and hilarious, A Chorus Line tells the personal stories of 17 dancers auditioning for 8 spots in the chorus of a new Broadway show. Through song and dance they describe the families, jobs, and tough times that shaped their lives and careers. Unforgettable songs by Marvin Hamlisch include “What I Did For Love,” “At The Ballet,” and the joyous finale, “One.”
Shrek The Musical TYA, August 1-12: Once Upon a time, as all fairytales begin, there lived an ogre named Shrek. His swamp was invaded by castoff characters from other fairytales. To reclaim the swamp, Shrek must rescue a princess and in the process, he falls in love with her. Adapted from the animated feature film, this one-hour Theatre for Young Audiences adaptation will be cast with talented local children and teens, many from our MMT Conservatory program. In conjunction with this production, MMT will distribute free books to student audience members, as part of our initiative connecting theatre to literacy.
West Side Story, October 3-21: Based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, this classic follows warring families of teenaged gangs and star-crossed lovers, desperate for somewhere to be together forever. The romantic and violent story is told through choreography based on the Jerome Robbins original Tony Award-winning dances, with the music of Leonard Bernstein and the words of then beginner Stephen Sondheim. Since its Broadway debut 60 years ago, it has remained a shining example of the best of this truly American art form. This production of West Side Story is MMT’s contribution to the global celebration of composer Leonard Bernstein’s centennial.
The Christmas Cup, December 5-23: The love between a young girl and her wise grandmother is brought to life on stage from the pages of a story by Nancy Ruth Patterson, Roanoke’s beloved author and educator. The story revolves around a beat up old milkshake cup where Megan collects a year’s worth of scrimped money. Her meager savings and the anonymous gift she buys with them are a metaphor for this season of love and generosity.
Two musical concerts, with four fun-filled nights of well known tunes.
An Evening With Andrew Lloyd Webber, June 1 & 2: Over the past 50 years, much of the most memorable theatre music has been the creation of English composer and impresario, Andrew Lloyd Webber. Knighted by the Queen in 1992 for his service to music, Lloyd Webber composed The Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats, the recent School of Rock, and many others. MMT’s intimate concert format encourages you to hum along to your favorites.
A Taste of Country, August 24 & 25: We live in the birthplace of country music and all grew up with those songs and singers – from Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, and Dolly Parton to Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and Alan Jackson. MMT invites you to savor a taste of the rich history of our nation’s authentic soundtrack in an evening of trucks, dogs, the open road and love – lost and found.
Three productions of new or newly revived shows with a strong dramatic impact that reaches for audience engagement.
Constellations, February 22 to March 11: Science and romance collide in this sophisticated love story. Constellations is a spellbinding journey about a simple encounter between a man and a woman that quickly defies the usual boundaries of a relationship, and ends by asking audiences to ponder the differences between choice and destiny.
The Christians, May 18 & 19: Pastor Paul approaches the pulpit on the day when his megachurch is celebrating paying off its debt. To the surprise of his congregation, his sermon reveals that the church is taking a new direction theologically. Fractured by a dispute over salvation and damnation, this is a play about religious schism in modern America. This play will be presented as a staged reading. (Actors will have scripts in hand)
Spring Awakening, June 21-30: A rock musical about teenagers caught between the tumult of adolescence and the frustrating lack of experience with sex, pregnancy, abortion and suicide, guilt, innocence and death, all with wailing guitars, driving percussion and tortured young voices. The musical, based on a 19th century German play, won 8 Tony Awards in 2006.
Four delightful productions, three in the Waldron, and one in the community, all encouraging literacy and for children to read.
Write Stuff, February 10: MMT’s program to encourage young playwrights culminates in staged productions of the winning scripts. The competition is open to middle- and high-school students and the deadline for submissions is Dec. 31, 2017.
The Tempest, May 4-12: Sorcerers, sprites and spirits meet villains, and monsters, and kings in Shakespeare’s tragicomedy set on a remote island complete with a shipwreck. Romance and a raging storm end in revelations, redemption and marriage as Shakespeare’s plays so often do. MMT’s shortened adaptation of the original script, an excellent introduction to Shakespeare for Middle and High School students, will be acted by MMT Conservatory students. In conjunction with this production, MMT will distribute free books to student audience members, as part of our initiative connecting theatre to literacy.
Mother Goose Tales, May 4-12: A collection of well-known fairytales and nursery rhymes will come to life in song and pantomime. Children from MMT’s Conservatory will perform these classic tales for other children. In conjunction with this production, MMT will distribute free books to student audience members, as part of our initiative connecting theatre to literacy.
A Year with Frog and Toad, June 2-30: This charming musical, the first children’s show to reach Broadway, is a year in the life of two amphibian friends and a host of other woodland characters. Songs about flying, swimming and sledding will take young audiences into a fantasy forest of new friends and adventures. MMT will perform this show around the region at schools, libraries, parks and neighborhood venues to delight families. Admission is free and, MMT will distribute free books to student audience members, as part of our initiative connecting theatre to literacy.
A Simple Gift, November 9-10: Roanoke educator Nancy Ruth Patterson’s delightful story is about 10-year-old Carrie O’Connor, who wants to be an actress. After starring in her class play at her New York City school, she convinces her parents to let her audition for a theater in North Carolina that is doing a play based on a book written by her mother! A plucky audition gets Carrie in the cast, but before opening night she makes a blunder so big it threatens to topple the whole production. Then everyone learns about making amends for mistakes. Join the MMT Family in a special tribute to Nancy Ruth Patterson’s career-long creativity and devotion to our community.
All In Package – Package includes: A Chorus Line, Shrek the Musical-TYA Version, West Side Story, The Christmas Cup, An Evening with Andrew Lloyd Webber, A Taste of Country, Constellations, The Christians, and Spring Awakening.
All other ticketed productions are available to add on to any package.
Subscribers have access to reserved seats to our general admission shows
Groups of 10 – 50 people enjoy 10% off their ticket price, while groups of over 50 people enjoy 15% off their ticket price.
Present your group ticket stub to a list of restaurants to receive 10% off of your food bill.
Fun and exciting theatre classes this fall for kids, grades K-12 and adults began September 11th. Instruction in Music Theatre, Acting, Dance (including Tap), Playwriting, Directing, and Improvisation will be available for all ages. For more information about specific classes, schedules and prices visit millmountain.org/class
The Mill Mountain Theatre Education department welcomes three new instructors Emma Gwin, Christopher Castanho and Josh Walker. Previous Education Associate, Travis Kendrick, steps up to the role of Director of Education. “I am thrilled to begin my new adventure at MMT as Director of Education. In the past year, I have witnessed so many talented children grow as both artists and humans; I’m excited for this fantastic new team to continue to nurture students along their theatrical paths.”
Classes are taught by the following theatre professionals:
Travis Kendrick, Director of Education has worked professionally as a director, choreographer, actor, and educator across the country before coming to Mill Mountain Theatre. He holds his MFA in Directing from the University of California – Irvine and a BFA in Musical Theatre from Point Park University. Most recently, he adapted and directed MMT’s touring production of The Jungle Book and directed Willy Wonka Jr. Other favorite directing credits include: Reverberation, The Little Dog Laughed, Evita, Fifth Of July, The Tempest, and Blood Wedding. As an educator, he has taught for UCI, Inside Broadway, New York Kids Club, and Roxy Regional Theatre, and is excited to teach at Hollins University this fall. www. traviskendrick.com
Seth Davis, Resident Music Director is a music director and musician in both the musical theater and classical music realms in addition to being a teacher, clinician, and coach for performers and musicians of all ages. Seth has also served as musical director for Georgia Tech and Oglethorpe University in addition to teaching at The Alliance Theatre, Aurora Theatre, and judging many regional music and theater festival competitions.
Emma Gwin, Outreach Coordinator/Teaching Artist, received her B.M. in Vocal Performance from James Madison University and her Master of Music in Vocal Performance degree from George Mason University. Emma has worked as a preschool music and is a private voice. Emma has performed professionally throughout the region with credits including Laurey in Oklahoma! (Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre), Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre), Squirelle in Elephant & Piggie’s We are in a Play! (Roanoke Children’s Theatre), and Angelina in Trial By Jury (The In Series).
Christopher Castanho, Resident Creative/Teaching Artist recently graduated from Shenandoah Conservatory’s BFA Musical Theatre program. Christopher is honored to be Mill Mountain Theatre’s Resident Creative, as he loves working in many different disciplines within the theatre and the classroom. His work also exists online, writing for websites such as “The Huffington Post” and “BroadwayWorld.com.” Follow Christopher at: ChristopherCastanho.com
Josh Walker, Teaching Artist is a recent graduate from William Peace University in Raleigh, NC. Originally from New Jersey, he began Musical Theatre while attending Howard. W. Blake High School of Performing Arts in Tampa, Florida. He recently appeared in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee as Mitch Mahoney and The Jungle Book as Bagheera at Mill Mountain Theatre. Some of his favorite roles include Samuel in Pirates of Penzance, Lymon in Piano Lesson, ensemble member in Sweeney Todd, and Garcin in No Exit.
Mill Mountain Theatre is supported in part by Center in the Square, Actors’ Equity Association, National Endowment for the Arts and Virginia Commission for the Arts.
This fast-paced and very funny musical tells the story of six kids vying for a spelling championship while disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives. You’ll meet Leaf Coneybear, a home-schooler who doesn’t think he’s smart enough, Marcy Parks, an over achiever who is tired of winning at everything, the politically aware young feminist Logainne Scwartzandgrubenniere, and William Barfee (pronounced with “an accent aigu”) and his Magic Foot that helps him spell. The original Broadway production was nominated for 6 Tony awards and won for Best Book of a Musical and Best Featured Actor, Dan Fogler.
Jay Briggs, MMT’s Director of Education and Community Engagement, directs Spelling Bee, with the help of Resident Musical Director Seth Davis. “This cast has great energy and they are going to crack up the audiences,” says Briggs. Spelling Bee will feature MMT’s Summer Apprentice Company alongside other professionals- with guest appearances by you, the audience! A few audience members at every performance will be asked to join the bee and spell their way to fame – or loss and a juice box and hug from Comfort Counselor Mitch Mahoney, an ex-con working off his community service.
Although filled with the exuberance of youth, this musical is rated: PG 13 for content and language. Performances are June 22 – July 1 Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:00 p.m., with matinees on both Saturdays at 2:00p.m. Tickets are available on The Mill Mountain Theatre website (www.millmountain.org) and the Center in the Square Box Office in downtown Roanoke (540-342-5740). Tickets are $15 and the MMT bar will be opened before the show and during intermission.
Mill Mountain Theatre is supported in part by Center in the Square, Actors’ Equity Association, National Endowment for the Arts and Virginia Commission for the Arts.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Conceived by Rebecca Feldman, Music & Lyrics by William Finn, Book by Rachel Sheinkin, Additional Material by Jay Reiss.
Mill Mountain Theatre produces two shows this summer, both designed to attract large audiences of children and encourage them to read. Performances of Willy Wonka Jr. on the theatre’s mainstage and The Jungle Book at outreach venues around the region are parts of a project to promote reading through engaging performance.
Ticket prices are discounted or admission is free to these summer shows. And books will be given to students without cost but with the promise to complete a survey so MMT can monitor the program’s impact.
“We are learning the power of professional theatre to help meet the community’s need to advance reading skills of young children,” said Jay Briggs, MMT’s Director of Education and Community Engagement. “Every show we have selected this season in our Young Audiences Series is based on a story or book that is tempting for kids to read after they see the shows. We also have developed strong partnerships with schools, libraries and other organizations that are focused on this goal of student reading,” Briggs said.
Summer is an especially important time for children to maintain and build on what they learn during the school year and to go back to school with even greater appetite to read and learn. MMT is a partner in the project for Roanoke students to achieve grade-level reading skills by the third grade and to promote English-language literacy for immigrants. MMT’s summer shows for families are:
The Jungle Book, a 30-minute adaptation of classic stories by Rudyard Kipling. These fables are set in a jungle in India and feature animals that take on human characteristics so they can teach children lessons of morality and ethics. MMT will perform a version of the story at parks, libraries and other neighborhood venues in Roanoke, Roanoke County, Salem and Vinton and at special shows for students enrolled in the Roanoke City Public Schools summer enrichment program. The cast is composed of college-level drama students, who are hired as summer apprentices especially for this project. All of the performances are free and open to everyone. A full and updated schedule of shows is posted at millmountain.org. Navigate to SHOWS/Young Audiences/The Jungle Book and click on the link to the performance calendar.
Willy Wonka Jr. is a large-cast musical version of the story about children who visit a candy factory, and learn valuable lessons about imagination and integrity along the way. The production features youth actors and designers, many of whom are enrolled in MMT Conservatory classes in theatre skills and technology. The show runs July 28 to Aug. 6 on the Trinkle Main Stage. Tickets, which are discounted to about half MMT’s usual prices, are available on line at millmountain.org or through the Center in the Square box office, 540-342-5740.
At all of these summer shows students who attend will be offered free books about stories and topics related to the performances. These books are provided through grants and gifts from donors who are our partners in the reading project: City of Roanoke Arts Commission, City of Salem, County of Roanoke, Sam and Marion Golden Helping Hand Foundation, Kiwanis Club of Roanoke and the Kathryn B. McQuade Foundation. Others partners include Star City Reads, Turn the Page Foundation, Roanoke City Public Schools and Roanoke Valley area public libraries.
In addition, sponsors of the 2017 Young Audience Series of performances include American National Bank, Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital, chocolatepaper, Claytor/Wirt Associates, Davis H. Elliot Co., Friendship Foundation, The Kroger Co., Lanford Brothers Co., LeClairRyan, Roanoke Valley Orthodontics and Woods Rogers PLC.
The Young Audiences Series also include two productions that spotlighted MMT Conservatory students on the Waldron Stage: The Velveteen Rabbit in March and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, coming up in October, and Write Stuff!, the inaugural festival of new plays written by local student playwrights.
The reading and literacy program was developed in 2015 when Roanoke Public City Schools administrators asked MMT to develop a multi-year project to supplement schools’ efforts to raise student reading score and help efforts for accreditation of all Roanoke primary and elementary schools. In partnership with Blue Ridge Literacy and Roanoke Refugee Resettlement Service, we also help their clients learn to use English as a primary language.
When children receive free books at Mill Mountain Theatre shows, staffers ask for email addresses so we can send their families links to questionnaires. This feedback tells us the impact we have on development of reading skills. In the 2016 season MMT distributed 1,439 books; 82 percent of the children who received these books reported reading them and 42 percent said they borrowed more books from area libraries.
For more information, contact MMT Education and Community Engagement Director Jay Briggs at (540) 342-5764 or via e-mail at email@example.com
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.
“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.”
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.”
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 www.millmountain.org 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 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.
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.
ALL ARE WELCOME TO JOIN US AND BE A LIGHT + BRING A LIGHT. See you there!
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.
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 www.millmountain.org.
Mill Mountain Theater is grateful for the support from Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital; The Roanoke Star and TheRoanokeStar.com; 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.
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 email@example.com 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.
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?
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!
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!