Mill Mountain Welcomes New Education Staff Members

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

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.

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 “” Follow Christopher at:

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.

The cast of “Spelling Bee”

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 ( 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.

From last year’s production of “Tall Tales: An American Folk Musical”

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 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 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


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!

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