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Piedmont Players return to Meroney Theater this weekend with season opener performance of ‘Some Enchanted Evening’

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Piedmont Players will return to the main stage at Meroney Theater this weekend to premiere a full 10-show season after a hiatus in 2020 because of COVID-19.

“Some Enchanted Evening,” featuring music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, will kick off the season Friday at 7:30 p.m. and continue with showings throughout the weekend and following weekend. To adhere with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, the audience will be required to wear a face mask while inside the theater, though Interim Director Tom Hollis said it can be removed while consuming concessions. Performers will not be masked.

Each season is split between adult productions at Meroney Theater and children’s shows at Norvell Theater. A children’s performance of “Miss Nelson is Missing” was scheduled for September, but it has been postponed to February. Additionally, this season won’t include the traditional field trip among Rowan-Salisbury Schools to catch a Shakespeare production.

“Some Enchanted Evening” will feature five actors, three dancers and two grand pianos.

Wendy Weant of Salisbury, who will play Anna in this weekend’s production, said performing “Some Enchanted Evening” will be particularly special for her. She’s the daughter of a mother who performed and a father who enjoyed singing. Her father died a year ago.

“This show has a very special place in the heart for me,” Weant said. “I can’t help but think of them. It gives me a smile on my face when I sing the songs and I hear him singing with me.”

Tommy Foster, who stars as Billy, said he’s excited to return but understands the urgency in erring on the side of caution. Though it’s his first show with Piedmont Players, he recalls performing a show during the pandemic while wearing a face shield and feeling a “sense of fear” among potential audiences — “rightfully so,” he added.

People gathering for music from Rodgers and Hammerstein, he said, will be the perfect way to welcome audiences for the new season.

“It gives me a sense of hope that we’re coming back to some sense of normalcy,” Foster said. “Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s music is classic and everyone knows it. It’s the perfect thing to bring everyone together. This will be really nice to help everyone feel connected in coming back.”

Hollis said fundraising has been a challenge, but some virtual events throughout 2020 kept Piedmont Players afloat. The Norvell Theater featured performances of “The Sweet Delilah Swim Club” and “Madagascar” earlier this summer.

Tod Kubo, director and choreographer of “Some Enchanted Evening,” said this particular production was challenging because a case of COVID-19 delayed rehearsals for about a week and a half. Nonetheless, he anticipates a “thrilling performance.”

“In a matter of four rehearsals, we’ve had to pull the whole show together,” Kubo said. “And I’m very grateful for our collaboration and everybody’s focus. I think commitments for performers right now are stronger than they’ve ever been.”

Other shows scheduled for this season include “Twelve Angry Jurors” in November, “Ragtime: The Musical” throughout February and March, “The Savannah Sipping Society” in April and “The Sound of Music” to end the season in July. Children’s shows include “Frozen Jr.” in December, “School House Rock Jr.” in March and “Legally Blonde: The Musical” in June.

Hollis said he anticipates “Ragtime” being the biggest show performed this season and that Boomers will enjoy reliving Saturday morning cartoons with the “School of Rock” children’s show.

For more information about shows and to purchase tickets, go to piedmontplayers.com.

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