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Lees-McRae Summer Theatre

By Jamie Shell (

Article Published: Jun. 21, 2012 | Modified: Jul. 2, 2012
Lees-McRae Summer Theatre

Pictured from left to right are Shaquera Alls, who plays Sour Kangaroo; Jenny Burton, who plays Mayzie Labird; and David Craven, portraying the Cat in the Hat in LMC Summer Theatre’s production of ‘Seussical,’ playing June 27 to July 1 at LMC’s Hayes Auditorium. The production is the first of three spanning the summer season.
Photo courtesy of Janet Speer

The 2012 installment of Lees-McRae College Summer Theatre marks continued resurgence in the dramatic delight that has served both Banner Elk and High Country drama aficionados for more than two decades.

From Wednesday to Sunday, June 27 to July 1, LMC will kick off its 27th year of summer theatrical productions with “Seussical,” based on the works of Dr. Seuss and the book by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.

“Seussical,” believed to be one of the most performed shows in America, is hailed as a magical and charming musical based on the writings of Dr. Seuss. The show lovingly brings to life all of the memorable characters from the writings, such as Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat, Gertude McFuzz, Lazy Mayzie and a little boy with a big imagination, Jojo.

Narrated by the Cat in the Hat himself, the story is centered on Horton the Elephant.

“’Seussical’ basically takes all the works of Dr. Seuss and rolls it up into one giant musical,” said Jenny Burton, LMC alumnus who returns to reprise her role as Mayzie LaBird, a role she once performed as a student at the school. “It appeals to all ages and is very creative. I think it really gets to the heart of what theater is all about, the creativity and imagination that goes into it. It takes you back to being a child when the production begins with an empty stage and suddenly his imagination begins taking over and characters pop out.”

“This production just assaults your senses with color,” artistic director Dr. Janet Speer said. “It’s very much also for adults who can like it as much as children. We always do one family show each summer that involves children, and second, Dr. Mike Hannah, the director of this show, loves this show and has done it before when Jenny (Burton) was in the production. He did a really great job with it previously. He is bringing it back because so many people have asked for it again.”

LMC Summer Theatre will also offer a special matinee performance of “Seussical” for children at 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 28.

“We wanted to give children the opportunity to watch the production at a discounted price and have a good time,” Speer said. “Children also will have the opportunity to eat with the characters at the LMC cafeteria after the production if they wish.”

Showtimes for “Seussical” are June 27, 28, 29 and 30 at 7:30 p.m., June 28 at 10 a.m., June 30 at 2 p.m. and July 1 at 2 p.m.

LMC Summer Theatre offers two additional productions in the coming weeks. “See How They Run,” a comedy by Philip King, tells the story of a young vicar’s wife who is trying to fit into a small, tightly-knit town. Set in the background of the Cold War, the story moves into light but misinterpreted scandal, mistaken identities, the mugging of the good vicar and the church matron’s introduction to heavy drinking. Throw in another vicar and a witty maid, and the formula exists for a comedy that will make even the grumpiest smile.

“See How They Run” runs from Friday, July 13, to Friday, July 20. Evening show times begin at 7:30 p.m. July 13 and 14, as well as July 18 to 20. Matinee performances take place at 2 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, July 18 and 19.

LMC will wrap up its season of theater with the Harold Prince version of the classic production, “Show Boat,” based on the novel by Edna Ferber of the same name.

Perhaps the most influential musical of the 20th century, director Prince took the helm for a new Broadway production in 1994. Based on Ferber’s bestselling work, the musical follows the lives of the performers, stagehands and dockworkers on the Cotton Blossom, a Mississippi River showboat, spanning a course of almost 50 years, from 1880 to 1927. The story tells of a showboat family and its struggles with gambling, race, infidelity and poverty.

“Show Boat” comes to Hayes Auditorium Wednesday, Aug. 1, to Sunday, Aug. 5. Show times are 7:30 p.m. from Aug. 1 to 4, with 2 p.m. matinee performances on Aug. 2, 4 and 5.

Tickets for individual show performances at Hayes Auditorium range from $25 to $35 for adults and $20 for students and children, with no refunds. Group sales opportunities are also available. To request tickets by mail, send request to: Tickets, Lees-McRae Summer Theatre, P.O. Box 128, Banner Elk, N.C. 28604.

For more information, call (828) 898-8709 or visit

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