The Function of Fashion

GVT is proud to bring you the jukebox musical The Marvelous Wonderettes: Dream On. Featuring some of the most beloved classics of all time, this musical runs Aug. 24 & 25Aug. 31-Sept. 2 and Sept. 6-9 at 7:30 p.m., with a Pay-What-You-Can Preview performance on Aug. 23 at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee performance on Sept. 2 at 2:30 p.m.

Saying farewell never had so much style. Four high school alumni rock out with some of the greatest hits of the 60s and 70s while saying goodbye to one of their favorite teachers. This musical celebration of that golden age features the songs “More Today than Yesterday,” “You’re No Good,” “I Can See Clearly Now” and many more.

Every year GVT invites Guest Costume Designer Sherry Harper-McCombs to add her own flavor to the season. After designing for the 2011 production of The Marvelous Wonderettes, and followed by favorites such as 2015’s Chicago and the 2016 world premiere production Cinderellish, this season will add The Marvelous Wonderettes: Dream On to her list of costume creations.

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Melissa Robinette*, Melissa Weisbach*, Elizabeth Doyle* and Kim Morgan Dean* in GVT’s 2017 production of The Marvelous Wonderettes: Dream On. (Photo Courtesy / Greenbrier Valley Theatre) *denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association

Any costume designer needs inspiration in order to create, and for this production it came naturally. Harper-McCombs used the musical’s time period, music and, of course, the singers themselves.

“Influences on the design were the characters of the women themselves as presented in the scripts,” Harper-McCombs said. “We learn a bit about their lives and that gives us important information that can be used to make costume decisions.”

The costume designer has been a guest at GVT since 2002, and her creativity and interest in many different art forms speak volumes about her capabilities. She has an MFA in costume design from Virginia Commonwealth University, and other interests include mask making and fabric painting, among many others.

 

As a designer, Harper-McCombs knows that the best way to utilize her talent and training is to work alongside the other designers to tell a cohesive story. The costumes should not steal this show but, alongside the lighting, sound and set design, highlight the music and talent onstage.

“I think this show is mostly about the music. The clothes and the visual story simply provide a backdrop for the music,” the designer said.

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Melissa Robinette*, Melissa Weisbach*, Kim Morgan Dean* and Elizabeth Doyle* in GVT’s 2017 production of The Marvelous Wonderettes: Dream On. (Photo Courtesy / Greenbrier Valley Theatre) *denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association

Such a vivid visual aid is one crucial tool these talented actors will use to bring life and energy to these classics, using music and song to tell the story of such eventful and influential decades.

This fabulous and fashionable production will run Aug. 24 & 25Aug. 31-Sept. 2 and Sept. 6-9 at 7:30 p.m., with a Pay-What-You-Can Preview performance on Aug. 23 at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee performance on Sept. 2 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 for general admission, $27 for seniors and $20 for children/students. For tickets or more information, call GVT’s Box Office at 304-645-3838 or visit www.gvtheatre.org.

This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture & History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

Kermit’s Kabaret – A One Night Event!

GVT announces Kermit’s Kabaret, a one-night musical theatre experience, on Monday, July 17 at 7:30 p.m.Tickets are $16. Seating is limited. Reservations are highly recommended. For tickets or more information, call GVT’s Box Office at 304-645-3838 or visit www.gvtheatre.org.

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Kermit’s Kabaret is one of GVT’s most highly anticipated events. The evening will feature GVT’s Music Director Kermit Medsker as Master of Ceremonies, with visiting and local talent taking the stage to deliver inspiring interpretations of some of musical theatre’s most beloved classic and contemporary pieces.

“There may be an accordion, a ukulele, a comedy skit, and a drag act… It’s still in formation, but I guarantee it’ll be a veritable quodlibet of exciting entertainment you won’t want to miss!” the Master of Ceremonies said.

Medsker has been working with GVT since productions were held at “The Barn” outside of Lewisburg. His GVT career began with Pirates of Penzance, and some past credits include 1940’s Radio Hour and Dracula: A Rock Opera.

This evening of light-hearted fun and entertainment is on Monday, July 17 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $16. Seating is limited. Reservations are highly recommended. For tickets or more information, call GVT’s Box Office at 304-645-3838 or visit www.gvtheatre.org. This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture & History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

GVT’s 23rd Annual Art Auction is Right Around the Corner

GVT is excited to host its 23rd Annual Art Auction on Saturday, July 15. The Art Auction is GVT’s largest annual fundraiser, featuring donations from prominent local artists and generous patrons, each of which goes toward fulfilling GVT’s mission of providing quality year-round theatre. Donations include everything from handmade jewelry and crafts to paintings and photographs of West Virginia’s beautiful countryside.

 Sue Howard teaches art at Carnegie Hall WV and is a member of the Greenbrier Artists.

She and her husband Don enjoy painting at their home in Alderson, WV. They created the 20 inch x 16 inch oil painting “Celebrating 50 Years of G.V.T.” in honor of GVT’s 50th Anniversary Season.

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“Celebrating 50 Years of G.V.T.” by Sue and Don Howard. (Photo Courtesy / Greenbrier Valley Theatre)

 Courtney Fridley is originally from Covington, Virginia. She lived in the art and comedy world of Los Angeles for over five years, but has recently come home to the mountains she loves. She has made two donations this year: “Mountain Mama” is a set of 11 inch by 14 inch photographs of “Rhododendron maximum” or “great laurel,” the state flower of West Virginia, showing off in the warm summer sun. “Path to Spring” is also a set of 11 inch by 14 inch photographs. The gorgeous green of spring has sprung in this set of photos taken at Blue Bend Recreation Area.

 

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“Mountain Mama” by Courtney Fridley. (Photo Courtesy / Greenbrier Valley Theatre)

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“Path to Spring” by Courtney Fridley. (Photo Courtesy / Greenbrier Valley Theatre)

GVT’s 23rd Annual Art Auction is on Saturday, July 15. A preview party with hors d’oeuvres, beverages and silent auction opens at 6:00 p.m. The live auction begins at 7:00 p.m. Tickets to the preview party are $12. For tickets or more information, call GVT’s Box Office at 304-645-3838 or visit www.gvtheatre.org.

Behind the Scenes with Elizabeth Salisch

A great production can transport its audience to another world. The actors, set pieces, costumes, lighting, props and sound all fit neatly together to create a captivating and cohesive story. If one element falters, the illusion can be shattered. While it takes the efforts of many designers, actors and artistic staff to create this magical and delicate balance, it is maintained by one of theatre’s greatest assets, the stage manager.

As the linchpin of marrying the technical and artistic aspects of a production, it is the stage manager’s job to troubleshoot any problems that may interrupt the world of the show. A truly excellent stage manager’s work often goes unnoticed, unless you know what to look for. Every taped spike mark on stage, every precisely timed lighting shift and every perfectly orchestrated scene change is thanks to a stage manager. Here at Greenbrier Valley Theatre, our thanks go to Elizabeth Salisch.

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Stage Manager Elizabeth Salisch*. Photo by Kelsey Pressnall / Courtesy of Greenbrier Valley Theatre. *denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Elizabeth joined the Greenbrier Valley Theatre family this season and is currently stage managing her third show here, Moon Over Buffalo. She first discovered her love of theatre at the age of five when she saw the Broadway production of The Secret Garden. At 12 she began performing at the YMCA and later chose to study Theatre Arts at the University of Pittsburgh. She got her first taste of stage management as the assistant stage manager for Dancing At Lughnasa in her sophomore year of college. Elizabeth reflected, “Since then I realized that I wanted to be a stage manager because not only does it fit well with my personality it is one of the few positions in theatre that see the process from the very beginning to the very end at the ground level.”

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                                               Stage Manager Elizabeth Salisch* at the table reading of Moon Over Buffalo. Photo by Kelsey Pressnall / Courtesy of Greenbrier Valley Theatre. *denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association.

That process begins in the rehearsal hall. Elizabeth works alongside the director and actors tracking the blocking and necessary elements of the production to communicate with the rest of the production team. “During the rehearsal process I take extensive notes so I can answer questions or foresee any problems that may arise. I also create and maintain any paperwork that tracks set, props, costumes, sound, and any other needs of a show,” said Elizabeth.

Her favorite part of her job begins when the show opens. “It is the stage manager who is in charge and maintains the artistic integrity of the show by giving notes to actors and crew… I love when the show is routine and in your bones.”

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                                                  Elizabeth Salisch* preparing for Pippin, the second show in GVT’s 50th season. Photo by Kelsey Pressnall / Courtesy of Greenbrier Valley Theatre. *denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association.

 

While Elizabeth masterfully executes her role as a stage manager, in her words, “things still may happen because it is live theatre after all.” Elizabeth recounts her time stage managing a production of Our Town that went awry one night when a loud party was held just outside the theatre.

“In Act 3 when Emily is doing her big goodbye world speech in the grave yard, the music slowly kept getting louder and louder so that by the time George knelt by her grave My Heart Will Go On was playing in full blast so the audience thought it was part of the show.”

Since Elizabeth began working with GVT, she has found she “like[s] the sense of community [here] and how genuinely nice and caring everyone is.” From The Importance of Being Earnest‘s high brow humor and complicated set changes to Pippin‘s flashy chorus dance numbers, Elizabeth has enjoyed challenging herself to solve the unique puzzles each production presents. Up next at GVT is the fast-paced, quick-witted farce, Moon Over Buffalo, where you’re sure to see Elizabeth’s hard work once again!

Dancing to the Beat of His Own Drum

GVT presents the fantastical Pippin!

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                                                              Donald Laney, choreographer and ensemble member in GVT’s 2017 production of Pippin. (Photo Courtesy / Greenbrier Valley Theatre)  

The young Prince Pippin, Charlemagne’s heir, is guided by a Leading Player and her acting troupe on the quest of a lifetime. As he searches for adventure, tries his hand in battle and finds love, Pippin learns what is truly important. With acrobatic dance numbers and an exhilarating grand finale, this musical comedy is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

 Such a fabulous tale of adventure and discovery requires staging that will excite the imagination. GVT has recruited Choreographer Donald Laney, who specializes in modern dance and has a long creative relationship with GVT, to bring this story to life. Past GVT credits include Jesus Christ Superstar (2016),Cabaret (2012) and the wildly popular Chicago (2015).

 The choreographer’s love of dance started at age four and his career has spanned over 20 years beginning with Theatre West Virginia. He is now Producing Artistic Director at West Virginia Dance Company and has served as the WV Governor’s School for the Arts Dance Instructor since 2005.

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                                                     Donald Laney, choreographer, and Kelsey Pohl in GVT’s 2015 production of Chicago. (Photo Courtesy Valerie Pritt / Greenbrier Valley Theatre)

With this experience under his belt, Laney faces the challenge of dancing a story first created by the legendary Bob Fosse.

 “Being a Bob Fosse show adds more pressure and sometimes difficulties,” Laney said. “Fosse was a choreographer so there are extended dance breaks in his shows and dance is more of a focus to help carry the storyline along.”

 His ability to create dance pieces in a short amount of time, a clear idea of what he wants and a willingness to experiment and improvise guide Laney as he creates those pieces so important to the story.

 “This is a very intellectual and thought provoking script and score. Pippin is searching for his purpose/meaning in life and what would make life important … Each number is set up by the song that reflects where Pippin is in his search for meaning,” the choreographer said.

The musical journey runs May 26 & 27, June 1 – 3 and June 7 – 10 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee performance on June 3 at 2:30 p.m. and a Pay-What-You-Can Preview Performance on May 25 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 for general admission, $27 for seniors and $20 for children/students. For tickets or more information, call GVT’s Box Office at 304-645-3838 or visit www.gvtheatre.org.

This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture & History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Greenbrier Valley Theatre presents the epic Pippin. First directed for Broadway by Bob Fosse, this musical comedy will run May 26 & 27, June 1 – 3 and June 7 – 10 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee performance June 3 at 2:30 p.m.and a Pay-What-You-Can Preview Performance May 25 at 7:30 p.m.

 This soaring musical features young prince Pippin and his pursuit of adventure. A mysterious troupe of actors, led by a Leading Player, takes Pippin on a journey through war, regret and love as he searches for something more from life.

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 Will Nash Broyles, who will portray Pippin in GVT’s 2017 production of Pippin. (Photo Courtesy / Greenbrier Valley Theatre)

Will Nash Broyles, who was last seen as Tom Tom in GVT’s 2014 production of Babes in Toyland, stars as the young prince. Broyles, a dedicated actor, feels a deep connection with his character because he has also faced doubt about his future.

 “Even as a teenager, I knew that being on stage was what made me happy. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be. But I went to school for engineering and tried to convince myself that I didn’t NEED to perform to be fulfilled,” Broyles said.

 Though his dream persisted, he was convinced to get his degree in Electrical Engineering, spending his senior year focusing on rocket propulsion and robotics. His time in college did not change what he knew in his heart he was meant to do.

 This diversely trained actor began his career at age 10. He portrayed John Darling in a production of Peter Pan at a community theatre in his home town of Anderson, South Carolina. As a professional, Broyles has been seen in classics like Grease, Footloose and The Sound of Music. Now he gets a chance to fulfill a long-held career goal.

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Will Nash Broyles as Tom Tom, Kenny Wade Marshall* as Miss Muffet, and the cast of GVT’s 2014 production of Babes in Toyland. (Photo  Courtesy / Greenbrier Valley Theatre) * denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association

 “Playing this role has been a dream of mine ever since I was in high school,” Broyles said. “There’s a filmed production of Pippin from the ’80s starring William Katt and Ben Vereen. I used to have a copy of it on VHS, and I watched it so many times that the tape stopped working.”

 This Pippin star is having the time of his life working with GVT Artistic Director Cathey Sawyer and Choreographer Donald Laney (Chicago, Beehive!). Broyles hopes that their genius, along with his close relationship with costar and Leading Player Kim Morgan Dean, will create a stunning production for the audience.

 This timeless and inspiring tale runs May 26 & 27, June 1 – 3 and June 7 – 10 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee performance June 3 at 2:30 p.m. and a Pay-What-You-Can Preview Performance May 25 at 7:30 p.m.Tickets are $30 for general admission, $27 for seniors and $20 for children/students. For tickets or more information, call GVT’s Box Office at 304-645-3838 or visit www.gvtheatre.org.

This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture & History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

Behind the Scenes with Josh Robinson

GVT’s 50th anniversary season is well underway with its second show, Pippin! These two weeks of rehearsal and preparation are the real “magic to do” of the production. The director, designers, and actors all must come together to create a cohesive piece of art.

One vital element of any production is the set design. It is often the first thing you notice when you walk into the theatre. The set is the skeleton of the production; it establishes the style and tone and stipulates where your gaze is drawn at any given time.

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                                                  Josh Robinson, Technical Director and Set Designer for Pippin

 

Josh Robinson, Technical Director and Set Designer for Pippin, earned his BFA in Theatrical Design/Production from Montclair State University in NJ. Since his arrival in 2010, he has designed about 35 shows for GVT and was seen onstage last year as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar!

When undertaking the set design for Pippin, Robinson worked with director Cathey Sawyer and fellow designers to create the world of the show. While many designers use drawings to communicate their concepts, Robinson likes to begin his design process with a model.

“In my experience…this allows the director to see exactly what will be on stage in full scale and 3 dimensional. Each set and model is unique in its construction and use of materials,” Robinson said.

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                                           Robinson’s set model from the front of Pippin, 2017

 

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Robinson’s set model from above of  Pippin, 2017

For Pippin, he was given direction to create a “scaffold type set with many levels.” Director Cathey Sawyer wanted “something that was timeless yet with hints of medieval” and “something that maximizes real estate for movement while still giving us levels for interesting visuals.” The show is based strongly around physical comedy and dance so it is imperative that the set offer ample opportunity to climb, jump, and dance across different parts of the stage.

Choreographer Donald Laney is no stranger to the GVT stage. His work has been seen in productions of Beehive!, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr., Chicago, and more.

“I am looking forward to exploring and utilizing as much of the set as I can” and “view the set as a jungle gym or obstacle course,” said Laney.

See for yourself how the world of Pippin is constructed and shaped! Performances run May 26 – June 10 at 7:30 p.m. with a Pay What You Can preview performance on May 25 at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee on June 3 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 for general admission, $27 for seniors (60+), and $20 for children/students. For tickets or more information, call GVT’s Box Office at 304-645-3838 or visit www.gvtheatre.org.

This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture & History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.