• Laurel Contributor

A Summer of Sold-out-Shows

By Luke Osteen



For Highlands Playhouse, 2019 was a season of dramatic events, both onstage and behind the scenes.

It’s been a year of change for the Highlands Playhouse, change both exciting and challenging.

But as Albert Einstein said, “In the middle of change lies opportunity.” Playhouse management and patrons rose to all occasions.

Here’s Managing Director Lance Matzke’s review of this amazing year:

“In February, we hosted our first ever Oscar Party. Nominated films were screened during our annual Playhouse Awards Series, which runs through December and January. At the Oscar Party, guests arrived in bejeweled elegance and dined on fabulous food for a spectacular affair to remember. We are looking forward to an even bigger and more dazzling celebration in 2020.

“The Kids Afterschool and Summer Camp programs immersed young students in a variety of skills, both educational and creative. Socializing, problem-solving, writing, acting, role-playing, teamwork, and more provided a variety of learning activities, plus good old-fashioned fun.

“The 2019 summer season was one rollicking sold-out show after another. Our Buddy Holly Band rocked our audiences and the Kelsey-Hutchinson Park with a live performance. “Always, Patsy Cline” brought the down-home songstress to life, and “Oklahoma” set the stage on fire (literally). But the first responders and the people of Highlands had our backs – I remain touched and inspired by the outpouring of support from our community.

“Thank you, Highlands, for saving our season.

“At season’s end, we said farewell to our talented artistic director, Bill Patti. We wish him well. Thanks for your creativity and your devotion, Bill. We welcome Marshall Carby (Bill’s former assistant) as his replacement, and fan-fave, Jimmy Lewis as our new assistant artistic director.

“On the cinema front, we hosted a producer from the film “Best of Enemies” for a Q & A, presented the hit documentary “Pavoratti,” and hosted a High Tea during the outstanding run of “Downton Abbey.” Our Second Annual Foodie Film Festival was in supremely good taste. . .great food and fabulous films, two of Highlands’ favorites. And what could be more fun than a Halloween “Rocky Horror Picture Show” interactive screening? It’s where you don’t dream it. You Be it!

“It’s been an eventful year. Thank you, Highlands community, for your gracious and generous support of The Highlands Playhouse. A diamond can’t be polished without friction. We had a couple of rough patches, but thanks to you, the Playhouse continues to shine. Visit us at highlandsplayhouse.org or contact us at (828) 526-2695 for more info about our current films or the 2020 season.”

The Laurel Magazine

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