Playbill picks: May local theater highlights

MAY DAYS: Area theaters are gearing up for their busiest time of the year. Photo by iStock

If you’re a fan of local theater, Western North Carolina offers plenty of options. Below are some highlights of productions hitting various stages across the region.

Maestro status

The Sublime Theater begins its year of shows with the world premiere of A God in the Waters, which runs Thursday, May 9-Saturday, May 18, at the BeBe Theater.

David Brendan Hopes’ latest play also concerns a world premiere — that of celebrated but controversial classical composer Peter Loredan’s second (and allegedly final) symphony. Steven Samuels, Sublime producing artistic director, directs and plays Loredan. He describes the tale, set at New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, as “a profound and wonderfully entertaining meditation on the nature of art, artists and family,” and is full of praise for the writer.

“I think David is way overdue for some serious attention, if not an appraisal. This prolific poet, novelist and playwright has been an Asheville treasure for decades, and I dearly hope he’ll receive some of the attention he deserves before it’s too late,” Samuels says.

A God in the Waters strikes me as the perfect occasion. It won’t be his swan song — and yet, it sounds all the notes of an accomplished senior artist making an ultimate statement.”

To learn more, visit


Audiences of all ages are welcome to explore The Secret Garden, running Friday, May 10-Sunday, June 2, at Haywood Arts Regional Theatre in Waynesville.

Adapted from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel, the Tony Award-winning story follows young Mary Lennox as she uncovers a hidden, unkempt garden with the power to mend the pains of the past.

The Secret Garden was my favorite story as a child, and when I became a teenager, it became my favorite musical. This story has followed me into adulthood, and its themes have become even more profound as I have grown older,” says director Kristen Freeze.

“As Mary heals, she becomes the catalyst for healing and growth for all around her, and the garden becomes the symbol of peace and beauty that is possible to attain in our lives as we learn to carry grief in a different way.”

To learn more, visit

Working my way back to you

Flat Rock Playhouse kicks off its Mainstage Season with Jersey Boys, which runs Friday, May 10-Saturday, June 1. The beloved musical biopic chronicles the rise and tumultuous history of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons and features such timeless songs as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”

Jersey Boys, to me, is about family,” says Candi Boyd, the show’s director and choreographer. “There’s a quote in the show that Frankie says, which is, ‘Family is everything,’ but I think it’s more complex than that. These real people that we portray in our show had their real families, their road families, the neighborhood was family — not to mention their mob ‘family.’ No matter what family they meant, their love and loyalty ran deep, even if times weren’t always easy.”

Boyd adds that she’s worked on Jersey Boys in some capacity since 2009, first as an actor, then a choreographer and now a director. “This community of show people have become my chosen family, and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she says.

To learn more, visit


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.