Tradition takes center stage with Cartersville theater offerings
by Marie Nesmith
Nov 18, 2012 | 1550 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CINDY HARTER/Special
Cartersville City Ballet members perform the Dance of the Snowflakes in last year’s “The Nutcracker.”
CINDY HARTER/Special Cartersville City Ballet members perform the Dance of the Snowflakes in last year’s “The Nutcracker.”
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As the holiday season approaches, Cartersville theaters look to create lasting memories with their entertainment lineups. While The Legion Theatre will present “A Christmas Story,” The Grand Theatre’s offerings will include “The Nutcracker,” the Atlanta Pops Orchestra’s “Holiday Concert” and “The Nativity.”

For Terri Cox, program director for The Grand Theatre, it is important for Cartersville to maintain a thriving arts community so that patrons can enjoy the season close to home.

“The Grand, it has a wonderful aura about it,” she said. “It is intimate and beautiful and historic. When people come there they always remark on the beauty of the place and I think it’s a wonderful place to celebrate the season. …

“Many people that come here say that they really enjoy it more seeing something here in their own hometown. It does have a local connection. [With] young people such as [the] soloists [accompanying the Atlanta Pops] and these dancers, [the audiences] might know someone in the cast. And I really feel like the quality of the performances are just as good as what you’d see if you went to Atlanta. The prices are better. You get to stay home and have dinner downtown — really make an event of it in your own hometown. I really think that has an appeal to it.”

‘A Christmas Story’

With the movie being a holiday staple on TV, the play version of ‘A Christmas Story’ will resonate with many residents. Directed by Laurel Walker, the comedy will open Nov. 30 at The Legion Theatre, 114 W. Main St.

“It is a classic story and it’s one that my family has watched every single year during the marathon that TBS runs. So it has a lot of traditional meaning for me,” Walker said. “I really enjoy the story, which follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker on his quest to get the Christmas gift of his dreams, which is a Red Ryder BB Gun. … It has been really fun working on such a classic because we’re bringing more life into the characters that everyone sees in the movie.

“Ralphie, he encounters a lot of obstacles. Everyone tells him that he can’t have the gun because he’ll shoot his eye out and he’s going through the same type of events that we all go through during our life as we come of age, [such as] have a crush on a girl [and] he struggles whether [or not to believe] in Santa Claus. It is just a quintessential American experience. It’s funny, the play is set in 1938, based on Jean Shepherd’s memoirs, and I think everyone that watches it relates to a different part of Ralphie’s story.”

Presented by The Pumphouse Players, “A Christmas Story” will be performed Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 7 and 8 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 2 and 9 at 3 p.m. The comedy’s cast will be led by Lucas Bern as Ralphie Parker, Dana Hannah as Mother, Mark Jamerson as The Old Man, Ian Gibson as Ralph, Emily Butterworth as Esther Jane Alberry, Tiffany Gambill as Miss Shields, Aaron Picklesimer as Schwartz/Desperado 2, Jody Jamerson as Helen Weathers, Autumn Townsend as Scut Farkas/Black Bart and Danny Fisher as Flick/Desperado 1.

Tickets for “A Christmas Story” are $14 for general admission, $12 for flex passes or pre-paid groups of 10 or more people, and $10 for Pumphouse Players members. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.pumphouseplayers.com or call 770-387-2610.

“The Nutcracker”

Under the direction of Terri Kayser, the Cartersville City Ballet will provide a fresh look to “The Nutcracker.” Performed locally since the late 1980s, the ballet will be presented at The Grand Theatre — 7 N. Wall St. in Cartersville — Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 1 at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 2 at 3 p.m.

“I think [‘The Nutcracker’] has the same appeal [as] any kind of holiday show, like ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’ or ‘A Christmas Carol,’” Kayser said. “I think ‘The Nutcracker’ [and] those [productions] kind of fall into that category of kicking off the holidays. It becomes a holiday tradition.

“But I also do think it’s a nice little story. It’s a story of a young girl who receives a present and there’s this magical adventure she goes on. So I think that has an appeal in itself because it’s definitely a family-type show. It’s a show for everyone.”

Nearly 100 individuals will perform in the ballet. Some of the lead roles will be Clara — Katie Collum and Taylor Wilfert, Nutcracker Prince — David Pye and Weston Melton, Sugar Plum Fairy — Ashlyn Bresnahan and Holly Nunn, and Herr Drosselmeyer — Allen Weirick.

“I do think it’s exciting [to see it come together] every year,” Kayser said. “We always have additions. We might change the choreography a bit. So it’s nice to work with the dancers that have been doing it for a number of years. It’s exciting for them to have new choreography, a new little twist on one of the sections. So that’s fun [for] me.

“It’s really pleasurable to sit there and watch the students and dancers who enjoy performing it, but also I [enjoy] the audience — the excitement and the joy they get from the performance. Those two aspects gives you a good feeling. So you realize that even though you’ve done this for years and years and years, it’s still something new and it’s exciting and it’s always really a pleasure to watch. ... When the curtain opens and the lights come on and [you see] the costumes and the dancing begins, it’s magical.”

Tickets for “The Nutcracker” are $18 for adults, orchestra level; $16 for adults, balcony level; $14 for students; and $12 for church or Scout groups containing 10 or more people. For more information or to obtain tickets for any of The Grand Theatre’s shows, individuals need to call 770-386-7343 or visit The Grand Theatre Ticket Office Monday through Friday from 8 to 11 a.m. and 12:30 to 5 p.m.

Atlanta Pops Orchestra

Holiday melodies will be brought to life by the Atlanta Pops — the second concert in The Century Bank Entertainment Series at The Grand Theatre — Dec. 8 at 7 p.m.

A familiar offering on The Grand Theatre’s holiday schedule, the orchestra’s “Holiday Concert” has become a tradition for many during the month of December.

“This will be the ninth performance of the Atlanta Pops Orchestra at The Grand Theatre. People look forward to this every year. It’s really become an iconic event for the holidays,” Cox said, adding the concert also will feature two soloists with ties to Cartersville — Abigail Lloyd and Nathan Autry. “Of course, you’re going to hear beautiful classical music but then also holiday carols and just songs about the season. We even try to include holidays besides Christmas, such as Hanukkah and the New Year’s feeling of peace and hope.”

Tickets for the “Holiday Concert” are $20 for balcony level and $25 for orchestra level.

“The Nativity”

Through “The Nativity,” the Steps of Faith Dance Company will celebrate the “real meaning” of the season. During the ballet, the birth of Jesus will be depicted and the importance of his arrival will be highlighted through the eyes of a child named Holly.

“The story of ‘The Nativity’ is actually the story of Christ’s birth surrounded inside of a story where a mother tells her daughter the real meaning of Christmas,” Steps of Faith Artistic Director Julie Reeves said. “She realizes that gifts aren’t the important thing, that Christmas is about her and her friends but it’s about so much more than that.

“Christ is an important message and I think it’s really important that we remember each Christmas that this is about Christ and not about presents, not about Santa Claus and not about the dance, per se. But it’s about Christ. And we hope that by the end of the show they see that the focus is on Jesus.”

Written and choreographed by Steps of Faith staff, “The Nativity” will be performed at The Grand Theatre Dec. 15 at 2 and 7 p.m., and Dec. 16 at 3 p.m.

While the production will primarily feature ballet and pointe, the show also will contain jazz and modern styles of dance and a dramatic aspect. The cast will include about 60 dancers from Steps of Faith and a dozen actors, the majority of whom will be from Allstars Community Theatre Inc. Lead roles will be portrayed by Taylor Gilliam, Sara Sharples and Jacqueline Glass as Mary; Cole Therusson as Joseph; and Alexa Knight and Johanna Maserjian as Holly.

Tickets for “The Nativity” range from $9 to $20 if purchased in advance. At the door, ticket prices will be $25 for premium orchestra center seats, with other seating options costing $15 for adults and $12 for students. Premium tickets also will include an ornament commemorating the 10th anniversary of “The Nativity