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2023 Lees- McRae Summer Theatre Season Celebrates the History, Culture and Stories of NC

BANNER ELK, N.C.─ The 2023 season of Lees-McRae Summer Theatre is right around the corner and tickets for this season are available online now. The in-person box office will be open Wednesday, June 14−Saturday, July 29 and will be reachable by phone at 828.898.8709.

This year every Summer Theatre production will celebrate the history, diversity, and natural beauty of North Carolina. Kicking off the celebration of this wonderful state will be the “Red, White, and Blue Ridge Variety Show.” With productions at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 30 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 2, the variety show, directed by Janet Barton Speer, will be fun for the whole family.

The “Red, White, and Blue Ridge Variety Show” will highlight some of the many special aspects of life in the North Carolina mountains, featuring the best music, dancing, comedy, and patriotic songs of Southern Appalachia.

The Appalachian Mountains theme continues into the second production of the season, “Bright Star,” directed by Gabriel Vanover. Inspired by a true story, “Bright Star” tells the tale of a young soldier returning home following World War II, the relationship he forms with the editor of a Southern literary journal, and the powerful secret that will forever alter their lives—all set against a backdrop of rolling North Carolina mountains and beautiful bluegrass melodies.

There will be four evening performances of “Bright Star” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 6; Friday, July 7; Saturday, July 8; and Tuesday, July 11. There will also be two matinee performances of the show at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 9 and Wednesday, July 12.

The third show of the season moves down from the lofty mountain tops of Western North Carolina and into the sandy shores of the state’s eastern seaboard where the Wright Brothers first took flight. Rather than Orville and Wilbur, however, “The [W]right Sister” focuses on the historically overlooked Wright sibling, their sister Katharine.

Here Speer collaborates with playwrights and composers John Thomas and Tommy Oaks to bring to the stage Katharine’s side of the story—from her childhood alongside her brothers in their family bike shop, to her expert nursing skills, to her charming demeanor—highlighting the key role she played in the flight story and her brothers’ success. With original writing and music by Speer, Thomas, and Oaks, “The [W]right Sister” is truly a show not to be missed.

There will be four evening performances of “The [W]right Sister” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 25; Wednesday, July 26; Thursday, July 27; and Friday, July 28. There will also be two matinee performances of the show on Sunday, July 23 and Saturday, July 29.

Tickets for performances of all three of this year’s Lees-McRae Summer Theatre productions are now available for purchase. Make sure to get your tickets to these amazing shows while you can, and enjoy a summer exploring the history, culture, and stories of North Carolina through vibrant theatrical productions.

Purchase tickets and learn more about the 2023 season >>


Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, Lees-McRae College is a private, residential college that awards baccalaureate and graduate degrees. At nearly 4,000 feet—the highest elevation of any campus on the East Coast—the college celebrates its location through distinct programming. An emphasis on experiential education inspires students to learn by doing and gain broad knowledge through study across disciplines. To provide continuing education opportunities for all, the college also offers bachelor’s and master’s programs online and in surrounding communities. For more information, please visit www.lmc.edu or call 828.898.5241.