South Charlotte

Union County theater offerings abound as fall rolls in

Union County’s newest community theater group, the Union County Playmakers, are offering theater lovers an opportunity to enrich their Labor Day weekend with a free concert reading of “Over the River and Through the Woods” by Joe DiPietro.

The onetime performance will take place in the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church parish hall at 4 p.m. Aug 31. The church is at 116 S. Church Street in Monroe.

“This readings is free as our gift to the community,” said Ginger Heath, vice president of the playmakers officers. “ … It will be something a little different for the holiday weekend and well worth the time.”

“Over The River and Through the Woods” will feature a cast of award-winning actors who are donating their time in support of this new community theater, Heath said.

“This terrifically funny yet heartwarming comedy captures the classic American dilemma of family versus career,” Heath said. “Nick, played by Union Academy Charter School theater arts teacher and published playwright Todd Ford, has just been offered his dream job in Seattle, but there are four problems: his four Italian-American grandparents.”

The grandparents are played by regional award-winning actors Tom Scott and Pat Heiss, Della Freedman of WFAE radio station and a newcomer to Union County, Ted Perzanowski.

You don’t have to be Italian to fall in love with these meddling grandparents or to laugh at the joys and annoyances of being part of this family. Other participating actors are Eileen Baucom and Carol Ford. Dr. Chuck Williamson will lead an optional post-show discussion with the audience.

Heath also talked about what what the Playmakers have in store for the fall.

“UCP decided to do the concert readings as part of St. Paul’s fifth Sunday activities,” she said. “As it happens, this year the last two fifth Sundays are on holiday weekends.”

The group is searching for a long-term home.

“Once a venue is found, the majority of the UCP offerings will be full productions,” Heath said. “Until then, we have a mystery dinner theater scheduled on Oct. 10 and 17 at the Treehouse Vineyard(s) in Monroe and a final concert reading on Nov. 30.”

For information on auditions and upcoming performances go to www.unioncountyplaymakers.org.

Storefront Theatre

As the Storefront Theatre of Waxhaw prepares for its eighth season, it’s worth recalling that director and founder Judy Simpson Cook popularized the reading stage format in this area.

“Judy has done a wonderful job with the Storefront Theatre,” Ginger Heath said. “I have had the honor of reading for her several times.”

“I’m excited that this is our eighth season, our second year at Waxhaw Presbyterian,” Simpson Cook said. “We’ve got a terrific lineup of shows and actors. You can go on our website ( www.thestorefronttheatre.org ) and read all about each show and see the actors who are appearing.”

The first performance is “The Cemetery Club” on Sept. 27 and 28. Storefront Theatre is also stepping out in some new directions.

“This year, we have a couple of fantastic special shows,” she said. “The Storefront Theatre is bringing Starving Artist Productions’ ‘The Birth’ to Waxhaw. This is an original work that uses music and dance and storytelling to present the Christmas story in a simple, elegant way, with such feeling.”

The performances are Dec. 6 and 7. For more information or to purchase tickets: 704-243-7283 or go online to www.thestorefronttheatre.org.

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