The Playhouse Heads Fo(u)rth

By on 13 November, 2014 in Fun, Greg Thornton with 0 Comments

“I know, but what is it all about? People loose and at the same time caught. Caught and loose. All these people and you don’t know what joins them up. There’s bound to be some sort of reason and connection. Yet somehow I can’t seem to name it. I don’t know.”

“If you did you would be God,” said Berenice. “Didn’t you know that?”
  ― Carson McCullersThe Member of the Wedding

2015 Season Cards IIWe held a gathering Thursday evening to announce our 2015 season. The evening began with a review/revue of some the scenes, songs, and sights that have graced our stage during this 2014 season. The terrific cast of Into the Woods*, led by Randy Foster, took us from “Agony” to the “No One Is Alone/Children Will Listen/Into The Woods” finale; that extraordinary score of Stephen Sondheim’s resounding in the house. The Magrath Sisters, in all of their heartbreaking mania that only Beth Henley’s, Crimes of the Heart can provide, blew out the candles on Lenny’s birthday cake, and made us all pine for the visions in her head. A bit of Irish and Southern Voices followed, including a stirring scene and song or two, manifested by Emily Lowder Wootten, John McWilliams, Yvette Jones-Smedley, the exceptional fiddle playing of Kimberly Wolfe, and the shining voice of Jasmine Gatewood. The place was joyous.

We called out to the audience and asked anyone who had ever volunteered of their time by stitching a hem, building a piece of scenery, answering a phone, handing out a program, opening a door for someone, or giving us a dollar (or a million) to stand up. I think that other than a few folks, everyone was on their feet applauding each other’s efforts. It reminded me of how generous and giving a community can be. It was evident the Playhouse means a lot to our community and means so much more to the folks who filled the theater that night.

It is hard to believe that the Playhouse is beginning our fourth season! From our first performance of The Gin Game to Opus to Cabaret to A Raisin In the Sun, and all that came between and after, we have been honored to bring live theater to our audiences and we are thrilled by the response and grateful for all of the support. With six full productions a season and a wide variety of Special Performances, along with our Playhouse School providing classes to a growing number of young actors, and our monthly Joe Thomas, Jr. Guitar Pulls filling the air with extraordinary talent from all over the country, the Playhouse has quickly become one of the River Region’s most active homes for the performing arts.

Jonathan Conner, Eleanor Davis, Summer Gagnon, Brittney Johnston, Gillian Lisenby, Scott Page, David Rowland, Katherine Taylor, Matthew Walter, and Emily Lowder Wootten.

And so we announced our fourth season this past Thursday. Here it is:


A World Premiere February 12-22, 2015

Written and directed by this blog writer, Pastime is set in the late 1980′s in a large middle-class, suburban, metropolitan neighborhood near New York City. It tells the story of a close-knit family dealing with the loss of the father and the subsequent battle over keeping the family house.

I am gratified that the Playhouse Artistic Committee chose the play as the winner of the Playhouse Page-to-Stage Series. It received a wonderful staged reading in September, thanks to a great cast. The response that night was truly encouraging and now, the play moves on to a full production. It opens our 2015 season as a world premiere and becomes what we all hope will be a long line of plays to originate at the Playhouse.

The Member of the Wedding

April 23-May 3, 2015
by Carson McCullers
Directed by Greg Thornton

Winner of the 1950 Critics’ Circle Award for best play, this is the classic story of Frankie Addams, a 12-year old tomboy, in a small Georgia town, who is tired of her life, and yearns for a world of adventure and romance. Spending her days and nights with Berenice, her maid, and John Henry, her seven-year old cousin, Frankie dreams of running away with her brother and his new bride. A coming-of-age story that deals with the lives of whites and blacks in the American South in 1945. From one of the South’s most daring writers, this is an everlasting tale of a girl desperate for a place to belong.

Dinner With Friends

June 18-28, 2015
By Donald Marguiles
Directed by Mike Winkelman

Winner of the 2000 Pulitzer prize in Drama, this play had been described as” a modern masterpiece about the path you choose, the millions you don’t and the detours that make it worth the ride.” Gabe and Karen, and Beth and Tom are two married couples whose lives have become inseparable – raising kids together, holiday together and enjoying countless dinner parties – until –

The Woman in Black

October 22-November 1, 2015
Adapted by Stephen Mallatratt, based on the book by Susan Hill.

The production opened in London’s West End in 1989 and is still being performed there, becoming the second longest-running non-musical play in the history of the West End, after The Mousetrap. The framework of this spine-tingler is unusual: a lawyer hires an actor to tutor him in recounting to family and friends a story that has long troubled him concerning events that transpired when he attended the funeral of an elderly recluse. The lawyer has invited some friends to watch as he and the actor recreate the events of that dark and stormy night. A classic of the genre.


December 10-20, 2015

The Long Christmas Dinner by Thornton Wilder
The Long Christmas Dinner–nine decades long–showcases the lives of several generations of the Bayard family, and some of their Christmas dinners. Wilder breaks the boundaries of time as we measure it, and invites us to partake of “one long, happy Christmas dinner”-past, present and future.

The Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris
Based on the outlandish and true chronicles of David Sedaris’ experience as Crumpet the Elf in Macy’s Santaland display. This hilarious cult classic features comic encounters during the height of the holiday crunch.


On the March, March 6, 7:30 p.m.
An evening of readings and personal accounts, filled with prose and poetry, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery March and the passage of the Voting Rights Act, in collaboration with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Irish Voices, 2015 Edition
Back by popular demand, with some new additions, an evening of readings from some of the glorious writing of Ireland. From Friel to Heaney to McCourt to O’Casey to Yeats, the wit and wisdom, poetry and power of this grand isle will make for an enchanted night well-spent. Who knows- you may even hear a tune or two.

Hey Old Friend, Sondheim @ 85, March 22 & 23 7:30 p.m.
It’s his birthday! Join us for a celebration of the life and work of one of the theater’s extraordinary artists. These are benefit performances to assist with scholarships for our Playhouse School and for the Alabama Institute for Education in the Arts. Directed by Randy Foster.

Southern Voices, 2015 Edition, May 9, 2015 7:30 p.m.
For great writers telling great stories in a great part of the country, look to the South. The Playhouse presents a new mix of readings and music celebrating a great American treasure. From Capote to Welty, the list is impressive and memorable. Come spend an evening that will wrap you in the warmth of great words and songs in encore performance.

The Playhouse Troupe presents: James and the Giant Peach, July 24, 25, & 26, 2015
Adapted for the stage by David Wood, from the book by Roald Dahl

 The classic tale is faithfully told by James himself and the insect characters: Miss Spider, Old-Green-Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybird and Earthworm. The play begins at the end of the story, when James and his friends are living in the giant peach stone in Central Park, New York. A tour guide brings a party of tourists (the audience) to see this major attraction, and James and his friends tell the story of how they came to live in New York. This epic journey across the Atlantic is acted out with live action, puppetry, and storytelling.


The Artistic Committee seeks your new, full-length script! One play will be selected for this year’s public reading at the Playhouse. Submission guidelines will be posted in early 2015 on


Singer/ songwriters from all over the southeast present original live music on the intimate Elizabeth Crump Theater stage. It’s never the same show twice.

There will be other Special Events throughout the season. Please join us!! Audition notices for each production are always posted online at our website as well as on the Playhouse Facebook Page or call the Playhouse for further information.


Joe Thomas Jr. 3rd Tuesday Guitar Pull, November 18 7 p.m.

Featured Artists: Chase Brown and Patrick Wall, Patrick Cross, Jess Doran

It’s a Wonderful Life, A Live Radio Play

December 11-21 Performances Th-Sat 7:30 p.m., Sun 2 p.m.

For tickets and further information
Call: 334-262-1530


Greg Thornton is the Artistic Director of the Cloverdale Playhouse.

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