Playbill Picks: Upcoming local theater highlights

COMEDY AND TRAGEDY: Xpress takes a look at upcoming local theater productions. 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.

Night of hilarity at HART

Looking for a significant dose of humor and perhaps a hollowed-out coconut or two? Haywood Arts Regional Theatre in Waynesville has you covered with Monty Python’s Spamalot, which opened Aug. 25 and runs through Sunday, Sept. 17.

Based on the 1975 cult classic film Monty Python and the Holy GrailEric Idle’s 2005 Tony Award winner for Best Musical likewise follows King Arthur (played by Matt Edwardsen) and his faithful servant Patsy (Pasquale LaCorte) as they travel England on their divine quest. Dominic Aquilino directs, with choreography by Jason Aycock.

Monty Python’s Spamalot offers a night of hilarity, immense talent and nonstop spectacle,” says Candice Dickinson, HART’s artistic director. “Whether you are a Monty Python fan or not, this show will have you rolling in the aisle with laughter as you remember to ‘always look on the bright side of life.’”

For more information, visit

Magic and mystery at Asheville Community Theatre

Now in its 77th Mainstage Season, Asheville Community Theatre revs back up with Pippin, Friday, Sept. 15-Sunday, Oct. 8. The 1972 musical about a young prince who yearns for adventure and passion in his life features music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Roger O. Hirson. Bob Fosse, who directed the original Broadway production, also contributed on the writing front.

ACT Artistic Director Robert Arleigh White is directing the show and is drawing on his own experiences, having played the lead role in two different productions.

Pippin is the perfect opening to a season we curated specifically to explore magic and mystery,” White says. “We are working with our pals from Asheville Aerial Arts and a troupe of fearless performers, designers and technicians to create something truly beautiful and dazzling for audiences.”

For more information, visit

Shakespeare with a contemporary twist

After successful productions of God of Carnage and Blood Knot in September 2022, Flat Rock Playhouse’s Black Box series returns Friday, Oct. 6-Sunday, Oct. 22, with an intimate staging of Shakespeare‘s Macbeth. As with last year’s selections, the Scottish play involves the audience sitting onstage, surrounding the performers and the performance space on all four sides.

In addition to the unusual theatergoing arrangement, this version of the tragedy takes place in a new setting: contemporary rural Appalachia, which is under siege in a new (and fictional) civil war. Within this provocative environment, the classic tale of a military hero and his wife conspiring to seize political power feels more relevant than ever.

“A cast of nine world-class actors will play multiple roles with all of the production excellence and theater magic the playhouse is known for,” says Lisa Bryant, producing artistic director at FRP. “We promise you have never seen Macbeth like this before.”

For more information, visit

Constitutional crisis at N.C. Stage Company

Next up at N.C. Stage Company is Heidi Schreck’s Pulitzer Prize finalist, What the Constitution Means to Me, Friday, Sept. 1-Sunday, Sept. 24. Directed by Charlie Flynn-McIver and starring Hanley Smith and Kelley Hinman, the play opens with a charming but bold, seriocomic look into the playwright’s early life as she traveled around the U.S. earning her college tuition by winning Constitutional Oratorical contests through The American Legion.

The action then shifts to the present as Schreck reevaluates her favorite historical document after experiencing how it serves and doesn’t serve certain populations. And it concludes with a short debate between Schreck and a student debater (Asheville High School debate team members Ava Leigh Manderson and Elise Carson will alternate dates), after which the audience will decide whether to alter or abolish our current Constitution.

“We’re really excited about this show and can’t wait to share it with Asheville,” says Maria Buchanan, audience relations manager for N.C. Stage Company.

For more information, visit


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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

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