Sunday, February 26, 2012

Feature: Salisbury Post - David zum Brunnen says Piedmont Players is 'home'

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David zum Brunnen says Piedmont Players is 'home'

David zum Brunnen
Piedmont Players is home. The group has rehearsed in many different places over time, but when you're in rehearsal, building or striking the set, or getting ready for the show, you’re at home. And when you're on your way to rehearsal — you’re on your way home. It may not always feel that way at every given moment, but you really are.

Piedmont Players is family. I don’t necessarily mean the family you share a house with, or your blood relations. I mean the family with whom you share the failures, the successes, the fears, the pain, the laughs and the joy that come with working on a show — on-stage or off-stage.

It’s just like a family of sorts, because some family members you immediately connect with, and others, well ... ya just don’t. But you still work together for a common purpose — and it usually pays off in the end.

Piedmont Players is community. As I understand it, the early shows were done at Knox Junior High School (or middle school, now I think). What a journey from then to now. There are lots of people who helped formed the organization (including my father), but there are a great many more who have kept it alive and now thriving.
My son and I were visiting recently and attended the youth presentation of “A Comedy of Errors” at the new Norvell Theatre. I’m not sure who was more thrilled in our trio who saw it — my mother who just beamed that her community had this new “second” stage in town; her grandson, who was able to follow actors about the same age as himself speaking Shakespeare; or myself, who was so impressed that my home town was host to a community of generous, caring people dedicated to make such a beautiful space possible and to make such a fun event happen.
There are a great many factors that have helped shape me and my view of the world, and Piedmont Players was one of them — for the better to be sure. And I’ve no doubt the same remains true for many others. Piedmont Players informed me broadly in the early steps of my path. It gave me an outlet when I was a bit precocious in my adolescence. It provided a foundation for me and a place to be accepted when I was such an ugly, awkward, clumsy, goofy dweeb of a kid (and I was all of those, believe me). It kept me out of trouble when I was briefly a rebellious teen. And it elevated me to understand why my parents stayed involved in their community for so many years.
I mentioned before that Piedmont Players is family. Like so many, I hold many fond memories of those who have been a part of the group. Though I don’t see many of them as often as I’d like when I get back in town on occasion — and some have now passed away — I think of them often. A few of them remain some of my dearest friends to this day and they remain close with my wife and son.

I'm lucky enough to be a working actor and theatre producer thus far in my life, but who would’ve thought that in its first 50 years, so many individuals would have gone on to such success in their lives — particularly so many in the performing arts and other avenues. When you think of all of the college students who participated with the group who have gone on to great performing careers (or the like), along with all of the community members (young and old) who have tread the boards, worked the lights, or sold the tickets, who have also enjoyed such success in so many ways — it’s pretty remarkable, if not inevitable.

Most of all though, Piedmont Players reminds me of why so many communities have a local theatre group. Because it’s needed — because it’s essential. It’s part of how a community defines itself. When people ask where I’m from, I tell them about this idyllic place I grew up in called Salisbury. Sure the town and the county have issues to confront — that’s true everywhere. But as I describe the place to them, in the back of my mind I'm reminded how lucky I was to grow up where I did — and how I did. I’m trying to make sure my son has access to similar experiences. And as I continue my stories about my home town to those who ask, I am also reminded of how lucky Salisbury is to have Piedmont Players.

You really can’t make this stuff up. Lucky indeed.

Monday, February 20, 2012 - Discover Yourself!

EbzB Bookmarks: Discover Resources that have helped EbzB on - Discover Yourself!

Compliment: In One Era, Lake Wales, FL

In One ERA and Out The Other - Student Matinee.

"It was a delightful day for us....I was so happy that one particular student, Alec, participated in the 'talk back session' after the show - his self-concept has been soaring this week.  Please use us a  reference anytime.  Hope our paths cross again soon."

 -Cathy Wooley Brown
Vanguard School
Lake Wales, FL

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Compliment: War Bonds

War Bonds at Governor's Club, Chapel Hill, NC

"Barbara and I sat there enthralled.  I am blessed by remembering the words of any tune I have ever known.  I sang the entire score under my breath and almost fell in love with Serena on the spot.  Thanks for renewing valued, old memories.  You made me wish that I had been sitting close to Barbara instead of across the table."
Paul Hardin III, J.D. 
Former UNC Chancellor, 1988 - 1995

EbzB's War Bonds at FMU Performing Arts Center, May 2012

EbzB's War Bonds at FMU Performing Arts Center, May 2012

Chicago’s famed Second City comes to FMU’s Performing Arts Center FLORENCE – Chicago’s legendary comedy theater, “The Second City” will appear Friday, Feb. 10, at Francis Marion University’s Performing Arts Center. The show, part of the group’s Laugh Out Loud Tour, will feature some of the best sketches, songs and improvisations from “The Second City’s” forty-five year plus history.

Founded in Chicago in 1959, “The Second City” has become the premier training ground for the comedy world’s best and brightest. Their alumni read like a who’s who of American comedy including Joan Rivers, John Belushi, Dan Aykrod, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and countless others. Not only does the show provide audiences with the chance to see comedy starts in the making, but they will also have the opportunity to see absolutely hilarious satire and cutting-edge improvisation. No topic or subject matter is off limits for “The Second City.” If your parents asked you not to speak about it at the dinner table, chances are it will be made fun of in an evening with “The Second City.”

The performance is the third of four performances in the “Variety Series” that will conclude with the show “War Bonds: The Songs and Letters of World War II” on May 26. In addition to the “Variety Series” there are four others during the PAC’s season that runs until May 2012. Those series include Broadway shows, concerts, family oriented shows and a dance series as well as a wide range of acts in the smaller, more intimate Black Box Theatre. Information on the complete season is available at Tickets for the show start at $15 via telephone at (843) 661-4444, and at the FMU Performing Arts Center Box Office. Telephone and personal ticket sales are available Monday through Friday between noon and 5 p.m., subject to availability. Tickets may be available for purchase at the door. The PAC is located in downtown Florence at the intersection of Dargan and Evans streets.