From Fairy Tales to Musicals to Comedy
By Charlene & Richard Mixa
“Live, Love & Laugh” is the theme for our entertainment excursions in western North Carolina. A variety of entertainment options are easily found from music festivals to music venues to drum circles to musicals to fairy tales to comedians and more. On our excursions we find entertainment for the young and old. Taking youngsters on a culture adventure is exciting as well as enjoying special venues that have us singing and laughing. Come along with us on our magical entertainment journey in the mountains.
SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS! Hurrah it’s Mary Poppins, Jr. Louis (8 yrs. old) and Lucy (6 yrs. old) are excited to see Mary Poppins, Jr. Arriving at the Diana Wortham Theatre we find our seats in the Orchestra section. All have a great view of the stage. As the play begins we become entranced in the story of this most infamous nanny with her whimsical and magical ways. Songs of A Spoonful of Sugar, SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS, and Let’s Go Fly a Kite fill the theatre. Mary Poppins, Jr. was created by Disney and Cameron Mackintosh and is designed for student actors. The show features students of the Asheville Performing Arts Academy. In fact all roles are filled by the Performing Arts students. Impressive! The students do a great job in taking on major roles. The play is a shortened version of the Disney Mary Poppins movie with so many familiar songs. Excitement of the students is contagious in the fun-filled story. All leave singing our favorite songs.
All Aboard the Rootabaga Express! At the home of Carl Sandburg, now a National Historic Site, Louis, Lucy, Mimi and Papa locate seats at the small outdoor theatre for The Rootabaga Express. This free show brings Sandburg’s American fairy tales to life. Apprentices of the Vagabond School of Drama perform skits of many of Sandburg’s fairy tales including the Five Rusty Rats, Bimbo the Snip, a journey to the Village of Liver and Onions and more. Absolutely terrific! This energetic talented troupe dances, sings, jumps, climbs, and bounces as it brings these fairy tales to life in a 45-minute show. What fun! All ages enjoy the show and tales.
Now for a Magic Carpet Ride! Aladdin Jr. at the Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown is magical from the magic lamp to the magic carpet. Last year Louis and Lucy delighted at seeing The Little Mermaid at Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown. Today we are thrilled as the story of Aladdin unfolds from him being sent to find the magic lamp to releasing the genie to using his three wishes. Absolutely spectacular! The actors, the staging, the choreography, the costumes, the sound and the songs all make for an amazing show. We especially like the coziness of being in a small theater with central stage giving a feeling of being part of the play. All thoroughly enjoy the show. Louis and Lucy immediately recognize many of the cast. These are the same Vagabond actors we saw in the Rootabaga Stories this morning. Their energy is inspiring. Afterwards we visit with the cast and snap photos with them. On each visit to the Flat Rock Playhouse Downtown, we leave even more impressed with the shows and talent.
Mamma Mia! Despite gray skies and a bit of rain a sold out crowd shows up on opening night of Mamma Mia at Flat Rock Playhouse. Cloudy skies do not dampen the energy, enthusiasm and fun of this enchanting story of Sophie as she seeks to learn who her father is. Maybe it should have been named Papa Mia? The theater is alive with the music of ABBA carefully woven into this entertaining story. A lively play with its beautiful music and a lot of laughs, too. The cast was excellent and we were transported to the Greek Island as we got to know Sophie, Donna –her mother, Donna’s girlfriends, and the three men -one of which is Sophie’s unknown Dad. With a happy ending the finale is spectacular! Everyone is standing, clapping and singing to these great ABBA songs of Mamma Mia, Take a Chance on Me, Dancing Queen and more. . We continue to be IMPRESSED with the caliber of talent and shows at Flat Rock Playhouse. The Vagabond players that we saw in the Rootabaga Stories at the Carl Sandburg Home and in Aladdin Jr., help park cars before the show and then perform as the Ensemble in Mamma Mia. So much talent! We leave energized and singing the beautiful ABBA songs. Ours is Dancing Queen!
Be ready to have some belly laughs at Chad Prather’s Star Spangled Banter Comedy Tour. As soon as Chad Prather steps on stage at the Diana Wortham Theatre he has the audience laughing! An American humorist and motivational speaker. Chad is known for a series of YouTube videos in which he comments on life, politics and current events. Such great humor whether he is telling a “tale” about his wife, his dad, his mother, his own shortcomings or life experiences, we all relate to the topic and story. From experiences of having a vasectomy to colonoscopy to teaching a father how to use a computer – “because he owed him,” Dad’s term, Chad has us rolling in our seats. His humor and stories basically have no “bad words” that so many comedians today feel they have to use in a skit, but he does tell some tall tales about bodily functions. His downhome style is easy for audiences to relate to and we can all imagine his stories and expectations from our own life experiences. Chad has a quick quip and roars in laughter at his own stories. His enthusiasm is great as he goes from one tale to the next in this 90 minute one-man comedy. Glad we had the bathroom break before he came on stage.
We truly find a variety of shows that thrill and fill us with “life, love and laughter!”
If you go:
Asheville Performing Arts Academy, 376 Hendersonville Road Suite 3 Asheville NC 28803
Carl Sandburg National Historic Site, 81 Carl Sandburg Lane, Flat Rock, NC 28731
Chad Prather, “Chad Prather has been called a “modern day Will Rogers.”
Diana Wortham Theatre, 18 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801
Diana Wortham Theatre is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization connecting arts and audiences in western North Carolina.
Explore Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau, 36 Montford Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801
Flat Rock Playhouse: The State Theatre of North Carolina
Downtown, 125 S. Main Street, Hendersonville, NC 28792
Mainstage, 2661 Greenville Highway, Flat Rock, NC 28731
Vagabond School of the Drama, 2661 Greenville Highway, Flat Rock, NC 28731