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Ensemble Stage Opens Summer Theatre Season in Blowing Rock With Mother/Daughter Comedy

By Greg Hince

June 13, 2012. A 13-year-old daughter dealing with her mother’s budding romance is guaranteed to be difficult, and possessing a genius level IQ won’t change that. Moon Over The Brewery, which opens at the Blowing Rock Auditorium June 16, is a tender comedy that tells the story of extraordinarily intelligent and precocious 13-year-old Amanda as she navigates the dangerous territory of her mom’s budding romance.

The performances open the third seasons of the summer series put on by Blowing Rock-based professional theatre company Ensemble Stage and run June 16-25. 13-year-old Valle Crucis Elementary student Olivia Waters plays the lead, and appears in all but 10 percent of the show.

“The biggest challenge is probably just getting to the point where it’s natural finding the feel of the piece without having to think about what I’m saying,” Waters said. “After working on something so many times, you can really just kind of talk.

Ensemble Stage’s Artistic Director Gary Smith took four weeks auditioning the part of Amanda before he officially gave Waters the role. Waters is well spoken and wise beyond her years, making her the perfect fit for Amanda’s character.

“It’s not just line, line, line anymore,” Waters said. I’m speaking, but I am Amanda.”

Though she says Amanda is so smart she is almost unsocial, Waters is extremely active as a competitive soccer player on the High Country Soccer Association’s U13 team, dancer, cello player, budding fashion writer and vice-president of Animals People and the Environment (APE), an organization of nine she runs with three of her friends.

The interaction between characters is what makes Moon Over The Brewery so compelling and funny.

Miriam, Amanda’s mom, is an every time mom and when she meets a prospective suitor Amanda’s fancifully dressed imaginary adult friend, Randolph, makes an unwelcome appearance, successfully causing relationships to crumble. Amanda and Randolph’s quick wit meet their match in the form of an unlikely character, her mother’s new oafish but battle-tested boyfriend, Warren the mailman.

“The dialogue provides a lot of humor and one of the best “awwww” moments in theater,” Smith said. “The actors are working so naturally with one another and we’re right on schedule for a tight show.” 

Shaun Rice, who plays Warren, comes to the High Country from New York City.  A professional actor, he’s been accustomed to touring all over the country, but is relishing his time in Blowing Rock. 

“I get to live on a mountain top for a month!” Warren said.

The cast includes:  Mark Woodard, Beth Woodard, Olivia Waters & Shaun Rice.  Show dates and times are June 16, 19, 22 and 25 at 7:30 pm and June 17, 23, 24 at 2:00 pm.  Tickets are $17 for adults, $15 for students, seniors and military and $10 for children under 16. 

With the help of sponsor Hemlock Inn, Ensemble has been able to house many out-of-town actors. In return, all guests of the inn are entitled to free admission to Ensemble Stage productions during their stay.

The Ensemble Stage is actively seeking donors for the first time this year. The non-profit has a campaign goal of $50,000, which they feel is obtainable.

The theatre opened shortly after the Hayes Center shut down the Blowing Rock Stage Company in 2009, which was Blowing Rock’s only professional theatre company. They also offer fall performances and a winter show.

For tickets and other information visit www.ensemblestage.com or call 828-414-1844.