Lees-McRae Summer Theatre
For more than 20 years, Lees-McRae College Summer Theatre has provided a stage for some of the region's finest performing arts students to learn their craft.
It has also welcomed back plethora of school alumni and professional actors to reconnect with the Western North Carolina mountains and entertain audiences with heartwarming and entertaining presentations.
From Monday to Sunday, June 27 to July 3, LMC will present "I Do! I Do!," a presentation based on "The Fourposter" by Jan de Hartog and originally produced on Broadway by David Merrick.
"I Do! I Do!" is a play on marriage, depicting a couple sharing their lives together from their wedding day through their twilight years. The song, "My Cup Runneth Over with Love," is just one of the many pieces performed during the presentation.
"I like to call this production a little gem," LMC Summer Theatre artistic director Dr. Janet Speer said.
"It's a small play with two actors who begin with marriage, and you watch them as they age and change in their marriage relationship. It's fascinating to see this sweet story and what happens. It has great music, and it's a heartwarming and funny show."
The drama is a two-person ensemble, as the real-life couple of Alan and Ruthie Tutterow play the parts of Michael and Agnes. The Tutterows, theater professionals hailing from the Greensboro area, are no strangers to the LMC stage. Alan has performed at Opryland Theme Park, Temple Theatre, N.C. Regional Theatre, Livestock Players Musical Theatre and Triad Stage, with whom he also serves as board chair.
Ruthie enjoys spending her time in Banner Elk at LMC. She has previously starred in productions, including "Ragtime" (Emma Goldman), "The Music Man" (Marian), "Crazy for You" (Tess) and "Cats" (Jellylorum), and heads the drama department head at Greensboro Day School.
From Wednesday to Monday, July 13 to 18, LMC will present the original Broadway production, "Swing!," originally directed and choreographed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, with original concept by Paul Kelly.
The production features music by the likes of Duke Ellington, William "Count" Basie and Benny Goodman. "Swing!" features the dance revolution that shattered ethnic and cultural barriers with styles like Jive, Swing, Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing and Hip-Hop Swing, with familiar tunes, such as "I'll Be Seeing You," "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" and many others. Seasoned instrumentalists will accompany the production, with the singers, dancers and orchestra honoring veterans at each performance.
From Wednesday to Monday, Aug. 3 to 8, LMC presents the Rodgers and Hammerstein collaborative classic, "The Sound of Music," based on the book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse and suggested by "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers."
According to advanced publicity, "When a postulant proves too high-spirited for the religious life, she is dispatched to serve as governess for the seven children of a widowed naval captain. Her growing rapport with the youngsters, coupled with her generosity of spirit, gradually captures the heart of the stern captain. The family's narrow escape over the mountains to Switzerland on the eve of World War II provides one of the most thrilling and inspirational finales ever presented in the theatre."
This summer's offering is an increase from the single production offered by the program in 2010, and is testament to the theater's resiliency.
"Last year, we cut back the budget and did the one show," Speer said. "Because we didn't 'live beyond our means,' so to speak, we were able to build back up and offer three shows this summer.
We're also very grateful to the town of Banner Elk, as they made the difference in helping us produce our third show, 'The Sound of Music.'"
The success of the LMC Summer Theatre and implementing measures to ensure its continued viability has been encouraged by virtually everyone associated with the school, including LMC President Dr. Barry Buxton.
"After seeing our production, 'Into the Woods,' Dr. Buxton really wanted to see a larger Lees-McRae presence in performing arts, and he was instrumental in beginning an internship program," Speer said. "Almost everyone besides the two actors in 'I Do! I Do!' is either Lees-McRae interns, students or alumni. They are the ones doing the sewing, the costuming, gathering of props. They're really a great group of kids."
Tickets for individual show performances at Hayes Auditorium are $30 for adults, $20 for students and children, with no refunds. Group sales opportunities are also available.
For more information, call (828) 898-8709 or click to http://www.lmst.lmc.edu.