Shakespeare, Singing and Spam

By Frank Ruggiero (

Article Published: May. 14 | Modified: May. 14


‘Kiss Me, Kate’
July 1, 2, 3 & 5 at 7 p.m.
June 29, July 5 & 6 at 2 p.m.
Hayes Auditorium, Banner Elk
(828) 898-8709

‘A Grand Night for Singing’
July 16, 17, 18 & 19 at 7 p.m.
July 17, 19 & 20 at 2 p.m.
Hayes Auditorium, Banner Elk
(828) 898-8709

‘Monty Python’s Spamalot’
Aug. 6, 7, 8 & 9 at 7 p.m.
Aug. 7, 9 & 10 at 2 p.m.
Hayes Auditorium, Banner Elk
(828) 898-8709

Although Lees-McRae College is known for its academics and unique mountain campus, summertime brings a different curriculum: professional summer theater.

“I think we’re very audience-friendly,” said artistic director Janet Speer, who’s now in her 30th year directing LMC Summer Theatre. “We try to make the plays very obtainable for the audience, and we really work to try to make the energy of it jump off the stage at you. We don’t have the bells and whistles, we don’t have a huge theater, but I think that’s part of our charm. People are often surprised that a little college like us can do what we do.”

Audiences can see for themselves this summer, with LMC Summer Theatre’s productions of “Kiss Me, Kate,” “A Grand Night for Singing” and “Monty Python’s Spamalot.”

“Kiss Me, Kate” runs June 29 through July 6 and is directed by LMC’s Dr. Michael Hannah. A crafty combination of William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” and the wit and musicality of Cole Porter, “Kiss Me, Kate” features such show-stopping numbers as “Why Can’t You Behave,” “Wunderbar,” “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” and more.

This particular show is being dedicated to the late Stan Etkin, an avid supporter of LMC Summer Theatre.

Next up is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “A Grand Night for Singing,” running July 16 to 20.
“It’s a Rodgers and Hammerstein revue, done with a large group of outstanding singers and dancers,” said Speer, who directs the musical. “Rodgers and Hammerstein did ‘The Sound of Music,’ ‘South Pacific,’ ‘The King and I,’ and the list goes on and on. Some of their major numbers will be put together in songs and dance … and we’re going to put the orchestra on stage, which we’ve never done before.”

“Monty Python’s Spamalot,” directed by Speer, will close out LMC’s summer season Aug. 6 to 10.
Written by Python star Eric Idle and longtime musical collaborator John Du Prez, “Spamalot” is described as “a new musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture, ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail.’”

“We’re going out on a limb with ‘Spamalot,’ and I’m hoping it’ll bring in some younger audiences,” Speer said. “I think it’s going to be great.”

Each performance takes place at Hayes Auditorium, located off Main Street in downtown Banner Elk. Season tickets cost $112.11, and individual tickets cost $42.71 for adults and $21.36 for students and children. Tickets are available at the Hayes Auditorium box office or online at For more information, call (828) 898-8709.

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