Miracle on 34th Street: Study Guide

You don’t have to be a teacher or student to enjoy the study guide that accompanies our production of Miracle on 34th Street! Read the history of the show, enjoy an exclusive interview with Director Candice Burchill, and find out how Props Designer Ezra Campbell finagled period toys, games, candy and more! Plus, who doesn’t love a good word search?


Cast List: Miracle on 34th Street

We’re so excited to share the cast list for our next Mainstage show! Congratulations to all who were cast, and a big thank you to everyone who auditioned. We wish we had enough roles for everyone who came out!
Paige Gorczynski … Susan Walker
John O’Neil … Dr. Pierce
James Vaughn … Kris Kringle
Jack Heinen … Shellhammer
Mary Ann Heinen … Judge Harper
Rachel Adams … Doris Walker
Gavin Brown … Fred Gayley
Daniel Walton … Sawyer
Tod Leaven … Johnny’s Parent/Finley
Ella Leaven … Elf J
Sarah Leggatt … Mara
Nora Leggatt … Elf Z
Laura Walton … Halloran
Reagan Angel … Sharon/Elf
Roman Hunt … Johnny/Elf
Sadie Medlock … Dutch Girl/Elf
Tatyana Underwood … Megan
Riley Oswald … Elf Q
Evan Oldenburg … Elf R
Ellsworth Sullivan … Elf W
Matthew Leggat … Drunken Santa/Duncan
Kevin Scarbourgh … Macy/Al
Judi Harvin … Rich Person/Lou
Frank Salvo … Bloomingdale
RoseLynn Katz … Bag Lady/Dutch Mother
Want to see the show? Get tickets and more info here: http://ashevilletheatre.org/events/miracle-on-34th-street/

Actor Spotlight: Courtney DeGennaro Robinson

Courtney DeGennaro Robinson makes her first appearance at ACT in Rabbit Hole. She has most recently appeared on stage as Grace in the off-Broadway production of Starbright, Ricky Roma in Glengarry Glen Ross, Sam Fried in Coyote on a Fence, and Cecily Cardew in The Importance of Being Earnest. When not onstage, she is an avid knitter, bookworm, and baker of French macarons.
Name: Courtney DeGennaro Robinson
Character in Rabbit Hole: Becca
Occupation: Paralegal.
Hobbies and Interests: Baking French Macaroons, hiking, knitting, and reading
Why should you come and see a play like Rabbit Hole? The magic of the theatre allows us to experience lives outside our own as we invest in the characters onstage. This play, in particular, gives us a window into an experience that we all hope never to have. Rabbit Hole fosters empathy for those who are suffering, and reminds us that grief is not something that goes away neatly or quickly, nor is it a permanent state of being. There is always hope and light, and life, if we choose to find it.
What is the hardest part about playing your character? Becca has suffered an unbelievable loss, and she is in indescribable pain, but she doesn’t spend the entire play wailing and crying. It would be easier to just feel and release those emotions. Instead, I’ve had to generate that enormous sense of suffering and bury it just beneath the surface, so that it can eke out a bit when the circumstances of the show require it. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary.
Can you name some of the major recurring emotions you felt throughout the rehearsal process for Rabbit Hole? As odd as it may sound, there was a lot of joy in the rehearsal process. My cast mates and I bonded quickly, and we share a lot of laughs backstage. This show requires a lot of vulnerability and intimacy, and we’ve really leaned into our trust for one another to balance the pain of the deep emotions we’re exploring with care and affection for one other. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to go through this process with.
What is, in your opinion, the most important moment in …

Actor Spotlight: Joann Johnson

For Joann Johnson, the theater was a big part of her life in middle school and high school. Her roles as a fairy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a Lady in Waiting in the Princess and the Pea, and the Goblin Queen in the Princess and the Goblin Queen, helped influence her love for the arts. Mainly receiving smaller parts however, Joann moved onto other art pursuits when college came around. The journey through university was tumultuous, helping Joann decide to take a break to travel, work, and navigate adulthood. After a few years, Joann received clarity that she should pursue nursing school. While pre-nursing courses are arduous, Joann continues to study while working full time as a hostess at Chestnut in downtown Asheville. Joann decided to try out for Rabbit Hole after almost a decade of not doing theater. The role of Izzy felt like the perfect debut adult performance. 
Name: Joann Johnson
Character in Rabbit Hole: Izzy
Occupation: Hostess.
Hobbies and Interests: Hiking, yoga, biking, reading, writing and throwing events for my friends.
Why should you come and see a play like Rabbit Hole? Rabbit Hole is an authentic play that gives the audience a window into a home filled with the mixed emotions that families experience with loss. It has humor, sadness, dysfunction, and frustration that is relatable.
Can you name some of the major recurring emotions you felt throughout the rehearsal process for Rabbit Hole?  Humor, Joy, Sadness, Grief.
What about Rabbit Hole drew you to audition?  My character Izzy deals with pain through humor which I connect with. She is honest almost to a fault. I also have had my own experience with grief. Four years ago I gave my son up for adoption and I’ve been grappling with that grief in my own way the last few years.
Have you grown at all as a person, working on Rabbit Hole? I really feel like this play has helped me deal with my own grief and story in a deeper way. It’s brought me out of my shell in a creative and challenging way. Midway through the show’s rehearsals I also had a hard break up with my partner which was another loss …

Actor Spotlight: Jon Morrison

Jon Morrison is 23 years old and new to the Asheville area. This is his first play at ACT and he’s really grateful to be a part of it. He likes to watch movies and write. Earlier this year he performed in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure at Raleigh Little Theatre in Raleigh, NC.
Name: Jon Morrison
Character in Rabbit Hole: Jason Willette
Occupation: Delivering pizzas.
Hobbies and Interests: Watch movies, video games, write, sports, YouTube. Typical millennial stuff.
Why should you come and see a play like Rabbit Hole? Because it’s what we need right now. If we all took the time to understand each other and see that we’re all hurting in different ways, we’d spend less time fighting and more time growing.
What do you feel is the most important message of your character, and what can it teach other people? To be sincere. Jason sort of says/does what he feels without the filter of what society thinks is normal. It’s not corny to unironically express yourself.
What is the hardest part about playing your character? It’s easier/more fun to work with emotional extremes in acting. Jason is the opposite of that. It’s hard expressing emotions without being overt.
Have you grown at all as a person, working on Rabbit Hole? Of course. I’ve always dealt with grief the same way Becca does; by compartmentalizing. I’ve learned it’s healthier to face your demons head-on.
Have you struggled at all working on such a heavy and potentially sad play? If so, how were you able to remain positive? Yeah it was tough. The deeper we got into it the less fun it became. It slowly became an obligation just to get the story right which is what kept me motivated on the particularly rough days. Knowing that everyone goes through grief and that someone might take something away from the play on how to deal with it.
Can you describe what, in your opinion, the essence of Rabbit Hole is? Sometimes bad things happen that are nobody’s fault at all. You should spend your time learning, healing, growing instead of ignoring, hiding, and placing blame.
* * *
Jon, we hope we’ll keep seeing you on our stages and on other stages …

Cast List for Rabbit Hole

We are so excited to announce the cast of Rabbit Hole, the final show in our 2018-19 Mainstage season. We had an incredible amount of people at auditions, and are always so amazed at the depth of talent in our area. Thank you to everyone who auditioned!
Rabbit Hole cast:
Becca: Courtney DeGennaro*
Howie: Robert Walker
Nat: CJ Breland
Izzy: Joann Johnson*
Jason: Jon Morrison*
*Denotes ACT Mainstage debut

Cast List for Hands on a Hardbody

Announcing our newest cast for our next show Hands on a Hardbody! This winning musical will begin rehearsals next week and will run on our Mainstage for four weekends in June! Which character will win a new Nissan “hardbody” truck? Make sure you come to the show and find out!
Congratulations to all who auditioned! Here’s the cast:
Benny … Paul Gerber*
J.D. … Dan Baechtold
Virginia … Audrey Wells
Jesus … Aaron Ybarra*
Norma … Lauren Mata*
Don … Bob Kelso
Janis … Linda Pannullo
Frank … Jay Mitchell*
Cindy … Tiffanie Boone
Mike … Dillon Giles
Heather … Stephanie Marzoula
Greg … Andy Thompson
Kelli … Sara Terry
Chris … Adam Lentini
Ronald … Jay Allen Ponton*
* Denotes actor is making their ACT Mainstage debut

Alice in Wonderland: Study Guide

You don’t have to be a teacher or student to enjoy the study guide we created for Alice in Wonderland! Get the scoop on who does what to create the show, read an exclusive interview with Director Candice Burchill, and see two of the beautiful costume vision boards created by Costume Designer Carina Lopez! Plus, who doesn’t love a maze?

Cast List for Alice in Wonderland

Congratulations to our newest cast! We had 89 people audition for Alice in Wonderland, and it was a very hard decision to choose a cast. There is so much talent in this area!
Thank you to everyone who auditioned!
Alice … Sadie Medlock
White Rabbit … Evan Oldenburg
Queen of Hearts … Heather Rudzenski
Red Queen … Myra McCoury
White Queen … Sophie Stanley
Cheshire Cat … Frank Salvo
Mad Hatter/ Gentleman in White Paper … Bradshaw Call
March Hare/Guard … Mark Jones
TweedleDee/7 of Spades … Jacob Dickson
TweedleDum/5 of Spades/Voice … Kaidan Miller
Duchess/Hoarse Voice … Kathy O’Connor
King of Hearts/Gentle Voice … Jack Heinen
White Knight … Robert Prevatt Jr.
Humpty Dumpty/Caterpillar … John Hall
Mock Turtle … Javon Brown
Mouse/Dormouse/Clerk … Baylor Prevatt
Crab/Card … Ruby Jo Whitehurst
Fish Footman … Anita DiNovo
Dodo/Card … Riley Oswald
Sheep/Cook … Robin Oswald
Goat/Clerk … Mary Ann Heinen
Gryphon … Denise Lockett
Frog Footman/Beetle … Nick Chamberlain
2 of Spades/Voice … Sara Terry
Lory/Knave … Kaitlin Rose Jencks
Eaglet/Card … Ellsworth Sullivan
Duck/Card … Ruby Lane

Announcing our 74th Mainstage Season!

We are SO excited to announce our 74th Mainstage season! Tickets and subscriptions will go on sale later in the spring, but we wanted you to have the first look at what’s coming up next!
We’ll also be announcing Mainstage directors and audition dates, Tanglewood Youth Theatre classes, student matinees, 35below shows, the Readers Theatre Showcase season and more a little later – so keep your eyes peeled for all the ways you can plug in at Asheville Community Theatre!
The Wizard of Oz
RSC Version * Music and Lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
October 4-27, 2019
This beloved tale, in which a Kansas farm girl travels over the rainbow to discover the magical power of home, has been entertaining audiences for generations. A faithful adaptation of the film, it recreates the dialogue and structure of the MGM classic, though it is adapted for live stage performance. All the songs we’ve loved for years are here including “Over The Rainbow,” “Munchkinland (Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead),” “If I Only Had A Brain/A Heart/The Nerve,” “We’re Off To See The Wizard (Follow The Yellow Brick Road),” “The Merry Old Land of Oz” and “If I Were King Of The Forest.” This production also commemorates the 60th anniversary of Tanglewood Youth Theatre, which began in the fall of 1959.
Miracle on 34th Street
Adapted by Mountain Community Theater from the novel by Valentine Davies. Based upon the Twentieth Century Fox motion picture Miracle on 34th Street.
December 5-20, 2019
Kris Kringle is an old man in a retirement home who gets a job working as Santa for Macy’s. Kris unleashes waves of good will with Macy’s customers and the commercial world of New York City by referring parents to other stores to find exactly the toy their child has asked for. Seen as deluded and dangerous by Macy’s vocational counselor, who plots to have Kris committed to Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital, Kris ends up in a court competency hearing. Especially at stake is Susan, a little girl who has a wavering belief in Santa. In a dramatic decision, the court confirms Kris as the true Santa, allowing Susan and countless other children to experience the joy …