By David Rogers. May 2, 2016. BLOWING ROCK, NC — Theatre patrons young and old have a lot to look forward to this summer. In announcing its “Main Stage” and “Saturday Kids Theatre” lineup recently, it looks like Blowing Rock’s Ensemble Stage packed a lot of fun, as well as drama and intrigue into its summer-long offerings.
- June 25 through July 3 — The Melville Boys — Playwright Norm Foster brings to life a weekend trip that is supposed to be just about fishing, football and maybe a beer or two for the Melville brothers, “…but weekend plans are suddenly thrown for a loop when the boys meet two attractive sisters — who inadvertently change more than just their agenda,” notes Ensemble Stage producing artistic director Gary Smith. “This is a lighthearted comedy full of vigour about brotherhood and the unexpected.” Jame Scarborough, in a Huffington Post review of a San Pedro, California production of the play describes it as “…perfectly paced. It begins frat kegger funny and then, almost in a whisper, it end neither maudlin nor tragic. Instead…., it glows with gentle humanity: all four characters must (and do) come to terms with the one thing that no one who’s ever lived can avoid.”
- July 16 through July 24 — Toyer — Vanity Fair magazine has called playwright Gardner McKay, “…a terrifying talent.” Observes Smith, “The arrival of a charming stranger at psychologist Maude’s remote house soon becomes a battle of wits. Is he merely a playful admirer or the man who has been terrorizing the neighborhood? This is a cat and mouse game of verbal, psychological and physical intrigue, where one player must outwit the other in order to survive.” In 1998, McKay turned his play into a first novel that prompted Vanity Fair magazine to describe him as “…a terrifying talent.”
- August 6 through August 14 — Visiting Mr. Green — The lives of difficult, but lovable curmudgeon and a young and, it turns out reckless driver intersect when the young man is ordered by a judge to visit — and help — the elderly and recently widowed, Mr. Green. Drama unfolds as they each learn some things about the other. Smith describes it as the beginning of “…the hilarious, yet often moving ‘oil and water’ relationship between a pair of cantankerous polar opposites who, as they get to know each other, come to understand that stereotypes are based more on fear than fact.” Playwright: Jeff Baron.
- August 27 through September 4 — Waiting for MacArthur — P. Paulette MacDougal weaves an interesting exploration of patriotism, heroism, love of liberty, and courage under fire. Notes a review from The Daily Record (Morris County, New Jersey), “Waiting for MacArthur is funny, moving, and at times, poetic. This play will knock you for a loop with its humor and grace. It will make you shiver at its penetrating insights about courage under fire and the hellish banality of war. And it will leave you thinking long after about the amazing capacity for hope and love among the women and men who served and those who stayed behind.”
Saturday Kids Theatre
In addition to Ensemble Stage’s “Main Stage” productions, Blowing Rock’s professional theatre company will also take kids on two fantastic adventures with Cinderella (July 2nd and July 23rd), and Robin Hood – The Commedia (July 9th and July 30th). All of the productions are on Saturdays and made possible by a grant from Blowing Rock Community Foundation.
A season subscription for the Main Stage productions (4 plays) is $73 (plus NC sales tax) for adults and $65 for seniors, students and military personnel. Tickets can be purchased by calling 828-414-1844. Season tickets must be purchased by phone. Tickets for individual shows will be available on May 15, 2016. Additional information can be obtained at www.ensemblestage.com or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.