• Laurel Contributor

Producing Greatness

by Donna Rhodes



A fortuitous visit to a regional conference snares a raft of fresh new talent for the Highlands Playhouse’s summer season.

Whether you’re looking for a theater scholarship, technicians for lighting or sound production, costumes, set-designers, an exceptional actor for a leading role, or a way to grow your theatrical organization, The Southeastern Theatre Conference lives up to its motto: Connecting You to Opportunities in Theatre Nationwide. It’s the go-to place to raise your spirits, your theater’s curtain, and your production’s proceeds.

Highlands Playhouse’s dynamic duo, Lance Matzke and Bill Patti − managing and artistic directors, respectively, attended the conference this winter in Knoxville at the Conference Center on the 1982 World’s Fair site. They interviewed several highly-qualified applicants who promise to make the 2019 Summer Season our Playhouse’s most outstanding yet. The new hires will add their innovative energy to the mix of an already exceptional crew.

Matzke says, “This was my first opportunity to attend SETC. I dove into an ocean of phenomenal ideas and inspiration. It was eye-opening and gave me a lot of insight as to how the process works.

“I look forward to gleaning more from the many workshops and lectures offered by SETC in years to come while sharing our own unique mountain experience in exchange.”

Enjoy the new crew’s contribution to three musical productions starting with “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Musical,” June 20 through July 26.

Bill Patti says, “I’m excited to bring Buddy back to the stage because it is such a knock-out performance and was such a massive hit when we did it last time.”

The second production is “Oklahoma,” the classic written by Rogers and Hammerstein, who redefined the American Musical. The performers are a young and vibrant cast with Jeff Sullivan, lead from last year’s “Guys and Dolls” and “Damn Yankees,” returning as the lead for “Oklahoma,” and Bob Trisolini is back for his third season with the Playhouse.

The third production is “Patsy.” It’s song after song after song, 46 of them to be exact. It has just as much heart as it does singing. Get ready to leave the performance filled to the brim with joy and music.

For more information about the shows, new cast, and crew, patronage, or tickets for shows and movies, visit highlandsplayhouse.org or call the Playhouse at (828) 526-2695.

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