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‘Rumors’ at Lees-McRae

Article Published: Feb. 21, 2013 | Modified: Mar. 4, 2013
‘Rumors’ at Lees-McRae

From left, Casey Courtney, Daven VanHoy, Cassie Schulz and Somber Johnston rehearse a scene from Neil Simon’s ‘Rumors,’ coming to Lees-McRae College Feb. 28 to March 3.
Photos submitted

Need a laugh?

“Rumors” has it.

Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk is presenting celebrated playwright Neil Simon’s comedy farce, “Rumors,” Feb. 28 to March 3, and all are invited to join in the fun.

“It’s one of those plays where even though you may sit down and try to figure out the serious message, there isn’t one,” he said. “It’s just pure silliness and fun, designed to let you sit back in the audience, forget about serious thinking and just go with the flow.”

The story, Hannah explained, takes place during the night of an upper-class New York couple’s 10th anniversary party. The first couple of guests arrive at the house, however, to find their host is upstairs with a bullet hole in his ear. To make matters more intriguing, his wife is missing, as are the servants.

But it’s not as simple as calling a doctor. Their host is deputy mayor of New York City, and one of the new arrivals is his lawyer – and both hope to avoid a political scandal.

“As each additional couple shows up for the party, the previous couple has to decide how much to tell them and what to tell them, because they don’t want the scandal to get any worse,” Hannah said. “Of course, it does get worse, because some forget what they’ve said and are making it up as they go, because they only have a few details to try to fill in the gaps.”

Throughout the comedy, the audience sees how rumors start and perpetuate – albeit from a frantically comic point of view.

“You end up with a story that’s completely out of control,” Hannah said. “It goes from simple panic to complete chaos. This has got to be the worst set of events that can happen to people who just wanted to have a nice time out. A few friends gathering for a nice party all goes completely south in no time.”

“Rumors” stars Lees-McRae students Cassie Schulz, Destini Fleming, Daven VanHoy, Somber Johnston, Laren Evans, Jeff Schaffer, Michael Rogers, Casey Courtney, Hayden Moses and John Brett, who have been working on the production since the beginning of the spring semester, having been cast before Christmas. Joining them behind the scenes are costume designer Mindi Bishop and sound designer Drew Wallace.

Since production has been under way for almost two months, the students have had more time to grow comfortable in their roles. Hannah noted that “Rumors” is a more intimate production than the others produced this season – “Legally Blonde: The Musical” and “Pride and Prejudice” – as it features a smaller cast and set.

“This time, our set designer (Danielle Curtis), said she’d like to do a nice, fully realized interior set, something that would give the students who work with her a chance to build that kind of set,” Hannah said. “And ‘Rumors,’ of course, takes place in one living room in an upscale suburban house in New York. It’s a very nice interior with doors that have to be slammed a lot, stairs, set dressing, the fun stuff you don’t always get to do.”

Apart from its smaller scale, “Rumors” also appealed to Hannah because of the obvious – fun.
“I wanted to do something that was very lighthearted, very fun and would give the students the chance to do something in the farce range that was very physical,” he said, “and I think it’s been a good experience for them.”

“Rumors” runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28 to March 2, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 3, at 2 p.m. in the Broyhill Theater at Hayes Auditorium, located on Main Street on the Lees-McRae College campus in Banner Elk. Tickets cost $12 for general admission and $5 for students and children. “Rumors” features adult language, Hannah said, so parents should be aware.

Tickets are general seating and only available at the door. Doors open a half-hour before the show.
For more information on Lees-McRae performing arts, visit

Additional Images

From left, Casey Courtney, Daven VanHoy, Cassie Schulz and Somber Johnston rehearse a scene from Neil Simon’s ‘Rumors,’ coming to Lees-McRae College Feb. 28 to March 3.
Photos submitted

From left, Cassie Schulz, Daven VanHoy, Michael Rogers and Hayden Moses rehearse a scene from ‘Rumors.’

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