AshevilleHendersonvilleNews Stories

Theatre with the Stars is the ‘cat’s meow’ with humor, song, dance

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Pardee CEO Jay Kirby, as a police desk sergeant pretends to club Scott Treadway on the head. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

By taking in early $22,000, the Feb. 20 event in its second year almost doubled the amount of a year ago. Half of proceeds went to the eight non-profits. The show sold out the three-quarter staged theater, at $50 per patron. Flat Rock Playhouse’s satellite theater is at 125 S. Main St., in Hendersonville.

Each community, amateur “star” chose a non-profit to represent, and was paired with a FRP-affiliated professional who has acted. The style of skits varied tremendously, with amateurs often keeping up with their professional partners. Each opened with a video — typically behind-the-scenes of rehearsal and saying how much they believe in the non-profit for which they competed.

The professionals and “these leaders in our community have been so giving with their time and their talents,” Playhouse Artistic Director Lisa K.Bryant said. She directed the show. “We are honored to showcase their limitless abilities, in such a fun and festive afternoon and platform for so many amazing local non-profits.”

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School official John Bryant is about to toss the basketball to Paige Posey, in demonstrating agility in her demanding job interview. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

Judging results combined ratings by a three-person civic celebrity panel, and money raised by patron cash donation votes, Bryant said. Votes were made online in advance then in the playhouse lobby in the reception before the event, right after it and during intermission.

The overall winner of $1,000 was Blue Ridge Humane Society. Its Executive Director Lutrelle O’Cain and Lynn Llewelyn Penny performed on its behalf, as the opening of eight brief acts.

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Safelight Exec. Dir. Tanya Blackford, as a cheerleader, strikes a Carol Burnett-like expression. Brian Robinson is her pro partner. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

O’Cain got the audience howling with visual humor of chopping giant shears, to accent her supposed eagerness for neutering pets to curb their population. She thus made sheer shearing sharing, to lunch friend Penny. FRP favorite Scott Treadway made a cameo, as a befuddled waiter in the cafe scene.

Penny was a comical name-dropper, in the skit. She is The Cliffs’ private events sales manager. She was FRP development director, in 2011-14. She acted for 20 years. She apprenticed at Burt Reynolds Jupiter (Fla.) Theatre, and was directed by the famed actor there and at FRP. Her husband Will was script editor for Reynolds’ one-man, self-biographical show at FRP in 1991.

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Lynn Penny, at left, acts flabbergasted by Blue Ridge Humane Society head Lutrelle O’Cain’s sheer shearing sharing. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

The three Penny daughters are very much into acting. Molly is a musical theater major, at Alabama. Young identical twins Clancy and Samantha Penny acted with their mother, in the musical “Gypsy” at FRP last year. They came in at the end of the “stars” skit. And Lynn’s father Doug Llewelyn, who retired here, was the court reporter on TV’s famed “People’s Court.”

Jovial, personable Pardee Hospital CEO Jay Kirby did a slapstick comic skit with well-timed dialogue, for the Pardee Hospital Foundation. He played the straight man police desk sergeant, to Treadway’s eccentricity with names that were slap-happy motions.

Erica McArthur Allison, Allison Development Group founder, did comedy with FRP Mktg. and Communications Dir. Dane Whitlock, for Boys and Girls Club of Henderson County. They lampooned the working relationship of p.r. people and reporters.

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Erica Allison plays p.r. and Dane Whitlock journalism. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

Safelight Exec. Dir. Tanya Blackford was an agile cheerleader for Safelight (formerly Mainstay, the shelter for abused women), in a skit with actor Brian Robinson (i.e. John Adams in “1776”).

John Bryant, Henderson County Public Schools’ Human Resources senior director, teamed with veteran actress Paige Posey (for Children & Family Resource Center).

Posey played a demanding personnel manager, interviewing Bryant for a job. She later laughed at how her accent unwittingly shifted from German to French. Posey has been a force on stage and in FRP management, for decades.

Lanky 6-foot-3 Bryant eventually did basketball drills showing dexterity — amidst strobe lighting, for a creative effect. This was part of a series of oddball job tests. In the end, the job was simply directing FRP vehicular traffic. That got a hoot from the crowd.

Horizon Heating & Air Conditioning President Dan Poeta and Amy Jones fronted a dancing foursome. This was for Vocational Solutions. In a moving moment, two of its clients joined in, such as with moves in a chilly wintry opening scene.

Accomplished singer and community star Sandie Salvaggio-Walker teamed with veteran actor Steve Carlisle to wow the crowd, on behalf of Believe Child Advocacy Center.

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Flat Rock Mayor Bob Staton, the sole elected official to perform, competed for the Salvation Army. He led a farmer-clad, chorus of a half-dozen Flat Rock residents singing. The band included FRP actor-musician Ryan Guerra on guitar.

Judges were last year’s Stars amateur champion, Sheriff Charlie McDonald, Community Foundation of Henderson County CEO McCray Benson, Dr. Scott Donaldson, and former WLOS news anchor Victoria Dunkle who is Park Ridge Health communications director.

WTZQ Program Dir. Mark Warwick and Tiffany Ervin hosted. Recording artist Wendy Jones was the guest singer during brief breaks. Backing her were FRP’s George Wilkins on piano, bassist Charles Holland on drummer Paul Babelay.

For details on FRP’s season, call the box office at 693-0731, or check flatrockplayhouse.org.

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