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Flat Rock Playhouse hosts youth auditions


Turner Rouse Jr., at right, clowns with Tucker Shelton with much suspender suspense in FRP youth comedic improvisation.  Shelton is a 2007 grad of Hendersonville High School, and a yoga instructor. Rouse, age 14 in the photo, is a 2008 Hendersonville High alumnus and 2012 Elon College grad in theater. He has toured in musicals. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

By Pete Zamplas- Aspiring young actors and those who a moment in the spotlight or backdrop amidst an ensemble of peers are encouraged to audition for two classics with star power direction at Flat Rock Playhouse, on Monday, Feb. 29.

Auditions are on the main stage, 6-9 pm. Feb. 29. FRP, the official state theater, is at the Greenville Hwy. (N.C. 225) and Little River Road, in Flat Rock.

Its satellite site, Playhouse Downtown at 125 S. Main St. in Hendersonville, hosts Theatre with the Stars Saturday, Feb. 20 at 3 p.m. It benefits FRP, and the charity of choice of the talent contest-winning amateur entertainer. Eight contestants include Flat Rock Mayor Bob Staton and Pardee Hospital CEO Jay Kirby. (Tickets are $50 each. The reception starts at 2 p.m.)

Two mainstage shows need child actors. The classic musical The Music Man has rehearsals starting May 23 and eight performances a week, June 16-July 9. It was among plays gaining the most requests, in a patron survey that guided selection of the new season.

Chase Brock directs. The former FRP youth program star is an accomplished Broadway choreographer.

Auditioners should sing 16 bars of a musical theatre song and be ready to learn a short dance combination.

Famed inspirational drama The Diary of Anne Frank’s rehearsals begin Aug. 23. Shows run through Sept. 25, with matinees on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Playhouse Producing Artistic Director, Lisa K. Bryant directs the drama. She is excited about the season, after what she noted was record ticket sales in 2015 in turning around FRP finances.


Jesse Siak (in forefront) lets loose, in a FRP youth cathartic improv a dozen years ago. Siak, an East Henderson (’08) and Catawba College alumnus, is Charleston (S.C.) Stage Co.’s associate education director. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

Auditioning includes reading from “sides” provided, she said. Aspiring Annes are encouraged to attend the free audition workshop for this role on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2-4 p.m. on the mainstage.

The worship gives a glimpse into FRP’s Vagabond School of the Drama, with YouTheatre revamped into Studio 52. There are year-round and summer classes and workshops in theatre and film, for kindergarteners through adults.

The Music Man has a large ensemble of River City, Iowa towns folk including ages 8-18. There are featured roles of Winthrop Paroo and Amaryllis, for youths who can sing and move well, according to FRP. Winthrop hopefuls should review the bouncy old-styled song “Gary, Indiana.”

Ron Howard portrayed Winthrop in the 1962 film version, when he was eight years old. This was two years into his breakthrough television role as Opie Taylor. Winthrop speaks with a lisp as shy, introverted 10-year-old kid brother of town librarian and piano teacher Marian Paroo.

Winthrop gradually comes out of his shell — inspired by vagabond swindler Harold Hill. Hill poses as a traveling band instructor. He gets the town excited about a band he is supposedly molding, supplying and outfitting.

Amaryllis, also 10, is Marian’s piano student who is enamored with charismatic Winthrop.

Robert Preston is Hill and Shirley Jones is Marian, in the ’62 film. In the 2003 remake, Matthew Broderick is the fast-talking con man and Kristin Chenoweth is Marian.

Meredith Willson wrote The Music Man book, lyrics and music. It debuted on Broadway in 1957. Its standards include perky “76 Trombones,” and the tender ballad “Til There Was You” that Paul McCartney sang with The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.

The Diary of Anne Frank is based on the actual diary of a young Jewish girl kept while her family hid for two years in Amsterdam, Holland, trying to avoid Nazi round-up and genocide during World War II. Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett wrote the original play; Wendy Kesselman recently adapted it.

Anne Frank is cast in her early teens. She is the “lively and curious girl who remains optimistic throughout the months her family is in hiding, and makes the best of the situation she is in,” FRP Marketing Dir. Dane Whitlock stated.

Shy, quiet teenaged Peter Van Daan hides with the Frank family. Anne has a crush on him.

The new season starts March 10-20 in Playhouse Downtown (PD) with Studio 52 students in the multi-media James and the Giant Peach. A young boy flees conniving aunts into an adventure of friendship.

Bryant said “nearly all of the titles that we are producing in 2016 on our Mainstage and Playhouse Downtown — as well as Music on the Rock — are suggestions taken directly from the (survey) feedback.”

The Music Man and also 9 to 5 — which Dolly Parton popularized in the ’78 film — are cornerstones of the new, discounted 10-play Summer Musicals Package. Million Dollar Quartet (April 28-May 21) is on the Sun Studio jams of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. Beehive, the 60’s Musical (Oct. 13-30) is on girl groups/singers. The other musical, A Christmas Carol (Nov. 17-Dec. 17), returns to FRP every two years.

Comedies include The Affections of May (May 26-June 4) about an adored lady innkeeper, and classic The Importance of Being Earnest (July 7-24, PD).

The season downtown concludes with Vintage Hitchcock, A Live Radio Play (Oct. 20-Nov. 6), a 1940’s-styled trio of audial suspense, then Studio 52’s A Thousand Cranes (Nov. 11-20) dramatizing the true story of a Japanese girl stricken by radiation from the Hiroshima atom bomb who is intent on recovering.

Music on the Rock tributes are on Elvis, Beach Boys, Eagles, Billy Joel-Elton John, Barbara, Buddy Holly, Patsy Cline then Fleetwood Mac. A Celtic Christmas is Dec. 1-18.

For more information, call the box office at 693-0731 or check

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