ECU Summer Theater kicks off at Turnage

Published 6:53 am Friday, June 27, 2008

By Staff
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Staff Writer
Thursday night East Carolina University/Loessin Summer Theatre debuted its first show in Washington at the Turnage Theater.
From July 24 to Aug. 2, the Turnage will host “The All Night Strut!” a musical with songs from the 1930s and 1940s.
Ticket sales for the first night of “The Boy Friend” were the third best since the theater’s opening gala revue, which John Shearin, the current play’s director also directed.
Just after 6 p.m. Thursday ticket sales still hadn’t quite caught up to those of the Glen Miller Orchestra and “A Christmas Carol,” Turnage Box Office Manager Elizabeth Holbrook said.
Shearin said the summer theater program is an institution in Greenville. Kyle Langworethy, a 5th-year senior at ECU and Garner native, cast as “Tony,” one of the lead roles in the play, said he thought the public would enjoy the show.
The cast and crew rehearsed in Greenville until about a week before opening night, when they moved the show to Washington, Shearin said.
Langworethy said the twice-daily 30-minute commute on the cast bus was not bothersome.
Langworethy said the theater reminded him of acting houses he had seen on Broadway in New York.
Many involved with the production had high praise for the Turnage’s renovations. Shearin, who also runs ECU’s School of Theatre and Dance, was one of several faculty members from that school who consulted on the building’s redesign.
Because the Turnage’s stage is slightly smaller than the one at ECU, the actors taped off a section of their Greenville stage to approximate it.
But Shearin said the change of venue hasn’t impacted the quality of the performance.
The production includes students from ECU and Elon University, as well as professional actors from around the country.
David Aston-Reese of Woodstock, N.Y., plays Lord Brockhurst, another major character, in the play. He praised the ability and work ethic of the students participating this summer.
Shearin said the program had intended a few shows here. The entire summer theater season was move to Washington so major renovations could be done to the Messick Theatre Arts Center.