Like her parents before her, Lauren Rogers Hopkins grew up watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” each holiday season. Now, her 6-year-old son has likewise developed a love for the animated classic.
“It’s a great show for all generations,” says Hopkins, education programs manager for the Flat Rock Playhouse. “It brings together everyone in the family, from little kids to big kids to adults.”
The Flat Rock Playhouse will present a live production of A Charlie Brown Christmas on the main stage from Thursday, Dec. 1-Sunday, Dec. 4. The shows will be produced by the playhouse’s Studio 52, which offers year-round classes and camps in theater and musical theater.
The actors in the production range in ages from 10-19 and come from all across Western North Carolina. Most have participated in Studio 52 classes and performed in previous family productions at the playhouse.
The show stars Cyrus Hardin as Charlie Brown, Cassidy Bowen as Snoopy, Caroline Frampton as Lucy and Zach Shaduk as Linus.
The production is directed and choreographed by Anna Kimmell with musical direction by Lenora Thom.
The stage adaptation will run about 55 minutes and include some song-and-dance numbers that were not in the TV special, which first aired in 1965. It also will feature the show’s classic Vince Guaraldi songs, including “Christmas Time Is Here” and “Linus and Lucy.”
The production marks the first time a Studio 52 show has been on the playhouse’s main stage since COVID hit in 2020.
“Our students and families stuck with us during the pandemic,” Hopkins says. “Through virtual classes, outdoor programs, and eventually our regularly scheduled in-person classes and camps, we worked to keep theatrical experiences accessible to young people when they most needed meaningful connection and a creative outlet.”
The shows will be Thursday, Dec. 1, and Friday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 3, at 2 and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 4, at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $20-$33. Student prices as low as $10 are available for ages 18 and younger.
The Flat Rock Playhouse is at 2661 Greenville Hwy., Flat Rock. For more information, go to avl.mx/c6b.
Fair and square
Many of the people who visit downtown Asheville and Pack Square are tourists who have little understanding of the housing crisis the city faces, says Liz Trader Williams. With that mind, she and two fellow artists created a project they hope will shine a light on skyrocketing housing prices, gentrification and homelessness.
“Homesick” is a multimedia sculpture designed and created by Williams, Leslie Rosenberg and Ethan Schultz for the city of Asheville’s Art in the Heart rotating public art exhibition. It is on display in Pack Square through Wednesday, Nov. 30.
“Our aim is to tell the stories of community members whose voices have been erased from the narrative of Asheville — those forced out of their homes and forced out of the city they call home,” she explains. “We envision a Pack Square in the future where everyone is welcome and can afford to enjoy this beautiful area no matter their income.”
The sculpture is made up of 15 large, floating house structures. The houses are tightly composed and staggered in height reaching upward of 15 feet with panels of canvas attached to the outside of the houses.
Chalkboards at the sculpture’s base invite viewers to answer the questions: “What defines home?” and “What memories does home conjure?”
On Saturdays from 7:30-9:30 p.m., the houses light up with dynamic video projections playing in unison with audio samples of testimonials from Asheville residents discussing their housing experiences. The projections run on a 40-minute loop.
“We wanted to give people from all areas of life a chance to speak for themselves, instead of assuming we understand their experience,” Williams says.
For more information, go to avl.mx/c6g.
A friend indeed
When Asheville bluegrass band Supper Break broke up a few months ago, guitarist/songwriter Andrew Wakefield was left with an unreleased recording of a song he wrote, “My Friend.” So, he decided to release the recording as solo single, complete with an animated music video.
“I’d been wanting to get the song out for quite a while as people always enjoyed it live, and some of my friends and musical peers consider it their favorite composition of mine,” he explains.
The song is about a person who finds some success, chooses greed over friendships, starts stealing from people and ultimately is exiled from peers as a result. Wakefield labels it “indie-grass.”
“The current phase of songwriting style I’m doing doesn’t quite fit the bluegrass category, according to most grass aficionados,” he says. “I debated calling it ‘jamgrass,’ as I do have some songs that fit into that category, and there is certainly a psychedelic aspect to it.”
The song was recorded earlier this year at Sprouse House Studios in Weaverville with Nick Dauphinais at the production helm. In addition to Wakefield on guitar and locals, the musicians were Cam Williams on bass, Jeremy Rilko on banjo, Adam Bachman on dobro, Zach Dyke on mandolin and James Schlender on fiddle.
Wakefield is working with Dauphinais on an album he hopes will be out early next year.
For the “My Friend” video, Wakefield turned to freelance motion designer Daniele Arcuri. “The animation was all just his strange and beautiful expression of what the song made him feel,” Wakefield says.
The wonder of it all
Place and Wonder, an exhibition featuring the works of five artists, will run through Saturday, Jan. 8, at Tyger Tyger Gallery in the River Arts District.
The works in the show “explore the things we know and cannot entirely know about a place — real, imagined or remembered — accessing humor, amazement, mood and narrative to poetic representations of landscape and direct observation,” according to a press release from the gallery.
The featured artists are Barbara Friedman of New York, Barry Hazard of Brooklyn and local artists David Skinner, Selene Plum and Melanie Norris.
Tyger Tyger is at 191 Lyman St., No. 144. The gallery is open Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sundays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, visit avl.mx/c6i.
Snow is glistening
The Adventure Center of Asheville will host the second annual Winter Wonder Walk, which takes guests on a quest through the kingdom of Winterland to find Jack Frost and stop a blizzard while meeting various characters along the way.
The event runs Friday-Sunday, Dec. 9-11, and Thursday-Sunday, Dec. 15-18, and features a holiday market, a kids play area and a festival tent with local vendors, food and activities.
Part of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to support MANNA FoodBank. Tickets are $18.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. daily, with the Winter Wonder Walk and Glow Trail starting at 6 pm. The last entrance to the Winter Wonder Walk will be at 8:30 p.m.
For more information or to buy tickets, go to avl.mx/c6h.
The bridges of Henderson County
Eight Henderson County students had their artwork chosen by a panel of judges to adorn piers of eight bridges that cross Interstate 26 in Henderson County.
N.C. Department of Transportation officials awarded plaques to Sofia Fernandez Rojas, Berit Raines, Sophie Thomas, Alexis Donald, Ryan Bartlett, Viesna Mao, Sophia Beck and Ashlyn Webb.
The art will complement other features of the bridges upon completion of the interstate widening project. Images will be 3-feet-by-3-feet emblems on each of the recently built bridges, which carry an average of more than 60,000 vehicles per day.