Kingsport Times News Thursday, August 27, 2015

Dysfunctional family sizzles in 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof'

November 9th, 2011 4:12 am by staff report

   Marriage is hard. Dealing with ailing, capricious parents is trying. Living with, or too near, family can be disastrous.

   Playwright Tennessee Williams knew just how dramatic and destructive family and marital relationships can be when pushed to the extremes, and it is these shared experiences with loved ones that make his “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1955, still relevant and gripping even today.

   “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” will be performed at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 10-12 and at 2 p.m., Nov. 13 in East Tennessee State University’s Bud Frank Theatre, located in Gilbreath Hall on the Johnson City campus.

   General admission tickets are $15; tickets for ETSU students are $7. Doors will open 30 minutes prior to the show.

   One of Williams’ best-known works, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” is set in the plantation home of Big Daddy Pollitt, a wealthy cotton businessman. The show observes the different relationships among the members of Big Daddy’s family, particularly between Brick, Big Daddy’s alcoholic son, and Maggie, Brick’s seductive and desperate wife. Savannah Arwood portrays Maggie, played in the film version by Elizabeth Taylor. “I watched the original movie several times and after that I pretended that I hadn’t seen it,” Arwood said. “If I try to copy Elizabeth Taylor it will be obvious that I am a young actress trying to copy a legend.” Arwood isn’t the only “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” cast member faced with a challenging role. Camielle Reed plays Big Mama, a woman three times her age. “Playing the role of an elderly woman who has children that are 30 years old is a challenge, but a challenge that I enjoy,” Reed said. Spending so much time around each other during rehearsals has given the cast an insight into family dynamics. “My favorite thing about this show is, without a doubt, the cast,” said Kyle Walter, who plays Big Daddy Pollitt. “There isn’t a weak link in the bunch.” “Four of us in the cast actually came in as freshmen , so there is this very nostalgic feeling,” said Danielle Mumpower, who plays May. “It’s really awesome to see how much everyone has grown and is continuing to grow.”

   Rounding out the cast are John Kaywood, Jessica Womack, Brock Cooley, Josh Holley, Charles Schill and Travis Welch.

   To reserve tickets, call ETSU’s Division of Theatre and Dance at (423) 439-7576.

   Halloween has come and gone, but thrill-seekers have one last weekend to catch Blue Moon Dinner Theatre’s hauntingly hilarious production of “Po l t e r- H e i s t . ”

   Seats are still available for the Nov. 11 and 12 performances of Blue Moon’s latest interactive murder mystery. Doors open at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 and the show at 7:30.

   “Polter-Heist” spoofs the classic horror film “Poltergeist” while taking a few jabs at paranormal trends on TV, from “Ghost Hunters” to “X-Files.”

   “This show is perfect for this time of the year,” said James Andes, who stars in as well as directs the show. “It will haunt you.”

   “Polter-Heist” follows Madame Zelda Von Spookum, president of the Boogeyman Outreach Organization, or BOO, and a whole host of other wacky characters as they attempt to contact and relocate a ghost that has been haunting the Mouldering Pines Inn.

   Will innkeepers Jim and Phyllis Lodge kill each other before they find the ghost’s lost treasure? Will FBI agents Skullery and Smoulder solve the mystery before another guest is murdered? Who will leave the inn alive?

   It’s the job of the audience to decide the killer — and make it out without dying from laughing. Prizes will be given to those who help solve the mystery.

   Bringing the show to life are several local favorites, including Debra Shoun, Dave Carter, Nancy Hope Major, Josh Sellers, Laura Berry and Colleen Dunne. Kelsey Duncan is stage manager.

   The evening’s three-course candlelight dinner begins with a raspberry vinaigrette salad topped with croutons and Craisins, followed by a main course of stuffed-cheese ravioli in a red sauce with meatballs and a buttered garlic roll. Dessert is a homemade brownie topped with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream drizzled with hot fudge.

   Tickets are $39.99 plus tax. Dessert and show-only tickets are available as well as menu upgrades at an additional price. Special requests require a 24-hour notice. Groups of 10 or more receive a special group discount.

   Blue Moon Dinner Theatre is located at 215 E. Main St. in downtown Johnson City.

   For tickets or more information, call (423) 232-1350 or visit www.bluemoondinnerthe  .

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