Talented cast announced for this uniquely Bristol story about the musical influences on the big bang of country music at the Theatre Bristol ARTspace
Theatre Bristol debuts The Mockingbird Sings on its ARTspace Stage September 7 and 11, bookending the 2023 Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion Festival with a special presentation of this uniquely Bristol recording sessions story with a uniquely Bristol-area cast. Tickets are on sale now for this limited engagement staged reading and live music presentation at www.theatrebristol.org/tickets.
The Mockingbird Sings weaves a story of love and the history of country music leading up to the recordings and discoveries of Jimmie Rodgers, Pops Stoneman, The Carter Family, and many others. The Mockingbird Sings was written by Dr. Nancy Hamblen Acuff, Terry Harkleroad, and Sharon Cort.
Our Eddie Snow, played by Kendall Johnson, is at a crossroads, influenced by generations of music through his grandmother Eula Mae Broome, played by Kim Lundin. The wishes of his mother, Lucy Snow played by Sarah Maxfield, come up against the time he’d rather spend playing music with friends Royal Campbell played by Zaiah Gray, and Royal’s friends played by Reece Hilt and Lily James Wright, and Arlee McKerr played by John Snyder.
King University college student Mary Martha, played by Mary Ellis Rice, tires of Ray English, played by David Maloney, and falls for “our Eddie,” as narrator Martha Hawk calls him. With Mary Martha, Eddie finds his courage and ventures out to WOPI radio with announcer Troy, played by Steve Baskett, on to the Bristol recording sessions, and all the way to the Grand Ole Opry. Along the journey, Eddie gets schooled in the blues by the train porter Toney played by Freddy Heath, and inspired by an Old Codger played by Richard Albright.
Ralph Peer, played by Dan Gray, and Monique Peer, played by Baleigh McKeehan, travel to Bristol to record the music of Pops Stoneman played by Mitch Wright with Stoneman children Amalia Hubbard and Ella Harper, Jimmie Rodgers played by Richard Albright, the Carter family with Mary Munsey as Maybelle, Martha Hawk as Sara, and Tony DeVault as A.P., and one Eddie Snow. In a featured role, CanJoe*John is played by none other than CanJoe*John.
The Mockingbird Sings band includes music director Mary Munsey on guitar and mandolin, Barbara Walton on upright bass, Gert King and Bill Dayton on clawhammer banjo, Chloe Campbell and Jim King on fiddle, Martha Hawk on autoharp, and John Snyder, Kendall Johnson, and Richard Albright on guitar.
Directing The Mockingbird Sings is director, Steve Baskett, with recent directing credits for “She Loves Me” and “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” Theatre Bristol executive director and producer Samantha Gray, and music director and musician Mary Munsey. They are supported by stage managers Bethaney Hilt and Reece Hilt, musician and casting advisor Kim Lundin, tech director Albert Tester, and technician Cooper Knapp. The Mockingbird Sings is presented by special arrangement with Terry Harkleroad and Sharon Cort.
With support from media sponsor 96.3 The Possum, The Mockingbird Sings will be on the ARTspace stage for a limited engagement of two special performances, Thursday, September 7 at 7:30 pm and Monday, September 11 at 7:30 pm, bookending the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion Festival. Tickets are $12 for adults plus fees and $10 for seniors and students plus fees, and are available at www.theatrebristol.org/tickets.
Theatre Bristol is pleased to present The Mockingbird Sings as part of its family-friendly 58th season of ARTspace and The Paramount Center for the Arts shows, including Mark Twain’s The Diaries of Adam & Eve, The Diary of Anne Frank, Real Heroes presented with River’s Way, Winnie-the-Pooh, The Seussification of Romeo & Juliet,Oklahoma!, A Christmas Carol, PLAYtime in the ARTspace weekly, and The StART of Adventure Summer Camp.
Founded in 1965 by Cathy DeCaterina, Theatre Bristol is a community theatre serving all ages that also has the distinction as the oldest continually running children’s theatre in northeast Tennessee. Located on historic State Street in Bristol, it also serves southwest Virginia. Its Main Stage season consists of drama, comedy, and musical productions that take place in the 100-seat blackbox ARTspace and at the Paramount Center for the Arts. Theatre Bristol is a volunteer-operated community organization and invites you to get involved.