Entertainment

Fayetteville Dinner Theatre showcases local performers

love letter ladiesThe Fayetteville Dinner Theatre will kick off its 2021 season this weekend at Gates Four Golf & Community Club with one showing each day at 7 p.m. on April 9 and 10. “A Sinister Cabaret: Love Letters/Sleight of Hand” is a musical mystery written and directed by Dr. Gail Morfesis, a local performer who has collaborated with Fayetteville State University, Methodist University, Fayetteville Technical University, Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, among others.

In “A Sinister Cabaret,” Morfesis takes on the role of Francine Maximillian, a seasoned actress who starts an agency to promote young artists. Francine’s philandering husband, who works at the agency, meets his end under mysterious circumstances early in the show, and through performances by the artists, we learn details of their lives and dealings with the deceased.

“During the course of the story all of his interactions with different women come out,” Morfesis said. “It’s just a really fun show.”

The play is interactive, Morfesis said, so before the finale, the audience will be able to ask questions of characters to try to determine who is guilty of the murder.

Jim Smith plays Sylvester “Sly” Fox in the production and said he has enjoyed working with Morfesis and the other talented performers. Smith said that with multiple plots running between the characters, the audience will be intrigued and entertained by “how all the ladies feel about my character.”

Smith is a recent transplant to the Sandford and Fayetteville areas. Originally from New Jersey, he performed in regional productions in the New York metro area when his full-time job with the New Jersey Department of Human Services would allow. Smith appeared in “Pippin,” “Godspell,” “West Side Story,” and “Hair” among others. Locally, he has appeared in the Cape Fear Regional Theatre’s “Best Christmas Pageant Ever.”

Smith hopes to do multiple shows each year now that he is retired and able to devote more time to his craft. Smith said that with each of his past shows, he was able to gain experience in dancing, singing and acting as well as build friendships with other performers. He found the same camaraderie in rehearsals for “A Sinister Cabaret.”

“It has been a pleasure to work with Dr. Gail, who has a lot of background knowledge in vocal training,” said Smith.

Tabitha Humphrey, who goes by the stage name Selva Black, plays Percy Barker in “A Sinister Cabaret.” Like Smith, Humphrey is a transplant to the Fayetteville area. She is a military spouse with several moves under her belt which allowed her opportunities to perform in a variety of areas to include Hawaii, Canada and South Korea.

“I loved to sing and I taught myself how through Disney songs,” said Humphrey. She then decided to try singing on stage and landed a spot in “Little Shop of Horrors” at Camp Humphreys Community Theatre in South Korea. A role as Kate in “Kiss Me, Kate!” followed before a family move to Hawaii. Several performances at the Diamond Head Theatre, a community theatre in Honolulu, followed including “Catch Me if You Can,” “ South Pacific,” “Spamalot,” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

“Hawaii was a wake-up call for me,” Humphrey said. “I learned I had to fight for the role I wanted.” Humphrey soon found an agent and landed a small speaking role in the 2016 movie “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” starring Zac Effron, Adam DeVine and Anna Kendrick.

Another move took the family to Canada where she performed as Mrs. Lovett in “Sweeney Todd” at the Oshawa Little Theatre.

Now in North Carolina, Humphrey is hitting the local stage with Fayetteville Dinner Theatre, but is looking forward to opportunities for other performances. Like Smith, Humphrey said her experience with FDT has been fun.

“Dr. Gail gave us creative freedom with our characters,” Humphrey said. Morfesis allowed the performers to improvise many aspects of their characters.

“A Sinister Cabaret: Love Letters/Sleight of Hand” also features Courtney Parker, Reba Fox, Valerie Humphrey, Kaitlyn Woodrow, Stanley Seay, Gabriel McKern and Vajra Spring. For ticket information visit www.fayettevilledinnertheatre.com or call 910-391-3859.

 

Pictured above: Fayetteville Dinner Theatre's “A Sinister Cabaret: Love Letters/Sleight of Hand” has scheduled performances April 9 and 10.

Pictured below: (Left) Jim Smith is Sylvester "Sly" Fox and Gail Morfesis (Right) is Francine Maximillian in Fayetteville Dinner Theatre's “A Sinister Cabaret: Love Letters/Sleight of Hand.”

 Jim Smith as Sly FoxGail M as Francine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

   Pictured below: Selva Black is Percy Barker in Fayetteville Dinner Theatre's “A Sinister Cabaret: Love Letters/Sleight of Hand.”

 Selva Black as Percy Barker

 

Greek drama 'Oedipus Rex' opens at the Gilbert Theater

07 Rex program“Oedipus Rex” opened with a dramatic flair at the Gilbert Theater on March 26 and will continue until April 11.

Based on the infamous Greek myth written by Sophocles in 429 B.C. about the cursed king Oedipus and his tragic misfortune.

The story entices the audience with compelling drama, songs and acting. Director and adapter Montgomery Sutton successfully simplifies the language for everyone to understand without taking away its charm.

The drama takes viewers on a journey through the plague-stricken city of Thebes, where the citizens beg their king Oedipus to find a solution.

After promising to end their misfortunes, Oedipus receives a prophecy that changes his life. Told to solve the murder of the last king of Thebes which went unsolved, Oedipus sets himself on a path to seek the truth for his people that leads to his own doom.

Returning actress Deannah Robinson plays Oedipus and perfectly captures his character - slightly arrogant, paranoid, honest, righteous, a loving husband, father and king. Seen before at the Gilbert in productions like “Laramie Project” and “Barefoot in the Park,” she brings to stage a new character.

Playing Oedipus brought new enlightenment in the rehearsals, and there was more sympathy for him, Robinson said.

The production showcases an almost trial in search of the truth, and Oedipus becoming more and more paranoid. Tiresias, the blind prophet, played by Ella Mock, tells Oedipus that he himself is the murderer of the last king. Oedipus then blames Tiresias for treason, then his brother-in-law Creon.

The drama unfolds to when an ambassador of Corinth comes forth and a shepherd to confirm that Oedipus was the abandoned prince of
Thebes, adopted by the royalty of Corinth and did in fact kill his birth father, Laius, and marry his own mother, Jocasta.

Mock, who plays multiple characters in the show including Tiresias and Antigone, said they were excited about how the show flows.

The show sees many of the actors playing various roles with much ease and talent. Mock’s performance of the blind prophet Tirisius was outstanding and leaves the audience at the edge of their seat. Tim Zimmerman did well in his various roles, but stood out as Creon.

The music is made better with the live instruments being played and the stunning voices of Zimmerman, Mock and Helen Steffan.

Those familiar with the original Greek myth know that the story ends with heartbreak for Oedipus and his kin, as he gouges out his own eyes, symbolizing his blindness of the obvious truth and his gruesome fate.

Audiences can expect a night of much drama, and perhaps some sympathy for Oedipus
the King.

For tickets and more information about the Gilbert visit, https://www.gilberttheater.com/index.php

Area Easter events offer fun, food and fairy gardens

02 Easter kidsSeveral businesses and area churches have events scheduled to boost your Easter weekend. From egg hunts to pictures with the Easter bunny, you won’t want to miss these opportunities for fun.

Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Tap Room are having an Easter Egg Hunt on April 3. Pictures with the Easter Bunny start at 10 a.m., and the egg hunts start at different times based on children’s age. The egg hunt for those 5 and under starts at 9 a.m.; the egg hunt for 6 to 10-year-olds starts at 10 a.m.; for 11-year-olds and up, the egg hunt starts at 11 a.m. To find tickets go to www.dirtbagales.com or visit the events page on Facebook.

Take the family out on April 4 to Huske Hardware located downtown for a nice brunch. Their Simply Southern Easter Brunch will offer Signature Salmon and Huske Benedicts, Steak and Eggs, Biscuits and House Sausage Gravy, Country Fried Steak and Eggs, Chicken and Waffles, and other dining favorites. Huske Hardware will be hosting brunch from 9 a.m. until
2 p.m.

For a family day filled with fun, eggs and paintball, visit Black Ops Paintball of Fayetteville on April 4 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. participants can grab a rental and scour our fields for eggs with discount codes, free stuff and candy.

On April 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fort Bragg Harley Davidson will host an Easter Egg Hunt every hour beginning at 11 a.m. The Bucaneros will be working the grill with free hamburgers and hot dogs. Fort Bragg Harley Davidson is located at 3950 Sycamore Dairy Road.

Also on April 3, Temple Baptist Church will hold an Easter Egg Hunt for kids in Pre-K up to 5th Grade. They promise thousands of eggs ready to be found. They will have three egg hunts separated by age. In addition to toys and candy, they will have golden eggs with tickets for prizes to be given away after the last egg hunt. The fun begins at 11 a.m. for registration; 11:15 a.m. for the Pre-K egg hunt; 11:30 a.m. for the K-2nd grade egg hunt; 11:45 a.m. for the 3rd-5th grade egg hunt; prizes and giveaways start at noon. This event is completely outdoors. Masks are not required but social distancing is encouraged. For questions contact Pastor Trent at 910-991-6807 or trent@templebaptistfay.com

King’s Grant will also be holding their Easter Egg Hunt on April 3 from 2-4 p.m. at 347 Shawcroft Road in Fayetteville.

Green Side Up will be hosting their Fairy Garden Workshop on April 3 from 10-11:30 a.m. For the $25 fee, each fairy garden comes with 3 plants, soil and a container. All participants will receive 15% off on their purchases. Register early because only 10 spots are available. Spots and tables will be socially distanced with only 2 people at each table.

Lafayette Trail makes historical mark on Fayetteville

06 LAF TRAIL MARKER 1A historical marker was placed March 5 on the edge of Cross Creek Linear Park designating Fayetteville as a stop on the Marquis de Lafayette’s tour of the United States nearly 200 years ago. The placement is part of the Lafayette Trail Project founded by Julien Icher and leads up to the bicentennial celebration of Lafayette’s Grand Tour of 1824-25.

Lafayette was a French nobleman who fought alongside the American people in the Revolutionary War. His loyalty to General George Washington, his resources, and his alliance with the French king all played an important role in the American people earning their independence from the English crown.

This Trail marker is one of five in North Carolina that helps map out Lafayette’s tour 196 years ago. Icher, from France, has collected extensive details and artifacts about Lafayette. His multi-year project aims to place a marker at each of Lafayette’s stops during his tour.

The placement of the historical marker is a notable designation of our city’s connection to Lafayette and the Revolutionary War, said Bud Lafferty, a member of the Lafayette Society.

When Lafayette arrived in Fayetteville in March of 1825, he visited multiple places during his stop. He arrived in a carriage with a whole entourage that was so big that, instead of staying in the hotel named after him, he actually stayed in the National Banking House (which is the old courthouse today). The carriage that Lafayette came in is still in Fayetteville and is located at the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry Museum.

Lafferty said that Lafayette was for the rights of man, as well as an abolitionist. He said that Lafayette received a warm welcome when he arrived in Fayetteville, which had been renamed in his honor in 1783.

There will eventually be markers in 25 states that Lafayette visited during his tour. Members of the Lafayette Society say the markers will help increase awareness of the story of the Marquis de Lafayette and Fayetteville’s own connection to history.

For more information on The Lafayette Society and events visit their website at https://www.lafayettesociety.org/.

For more information about the Lafayette Trail visit https://thelafayettetrail.org/#map.

Audiences invited to enjoy a night of mystery and entertainment at the Fayetteville Dinner Theatre

15 A Sinister Cabaret 01The Fayetteville Dinner Theatre is back after a pandemic hiatus and ready to kick off their season with the fun and entertaining musical Mystery Dinner Theatre production of "A Sinister Cabaret: Love Letters/ Sleight of Hand." Formally known as the Bordeaux Dinner Theater before its demise in the mid-1980s, Fayetteville Dinner Theatre has been reintroduced to the Fayetteville and Cumberland County community by local businessman, entrepreneur, and Up & Coming Weekly newspaper publisher Bill Bowman.

The FDT's first production was in 2016, with "A Southern Girl's Got To Have It" written and directed by local Fayetteville playwright Elaine Alexander. It was the overwhelming success of this production that motivated Bowman to create a totally "new and unique dinner theatre experience for Fayetteville and Cumberland County audiences."

With the FDT celebrating its fifth year with the production of "A Sinister Cabaret," Bowman follows through with his strategy of utilizing local creative writers and talented actors to create a unique and enjoyable evening of dinner theatre.

"A Sinister Cabaret: Love Letters/ Sleight of Hand" is written and directed by Fayetteville resident Dr. Gail Morfesis. No stranger to the local arts and cultural community, Dr. Morfesis has a doctorate in music, voice, and theater.

Dr. Morfesis is very active in the Fayetteville arts community as a singer, performer and ardent volunteer. She has directed many shows with the Gilbert Theater and at Fayetteville Technical Community College. Talented and with a penchant for mischievous humor, Morfesis has created her unique style and format for her original plays.

One of the more exciting aspects of "A Sinister Cabaret" is that it is never the same show twice. The music, dancing and comedy stay the same; however, the "whodunit" is a mystery. And this is how Morfesis intended it to be. She enjoys writing what she describes "as fun, interactive comedy." There are other unique aspects of this dinner theatre production. In the show, Morfesis also plays one of the leading characters, Francis Maximillian.

Fayetteville actress Tabitha Humphrey, who plays Percy Barker, actually created the character she is portraying. She described her audition with Morfesis as open and unique. She was instructed to come prepared to audition with a love song rather than reading lines from the script. Once she was cast, Humphrey was given the creative opportunity to express herself and assist in creating the character and how she impacts the murder mystery plot.

"Dr. Gail gave us creative freedom of our characters while she maintained creative control," said Humphrey. She added that she enjoyed working with the cast and the acting and improvisation became much easier once she got to know everyone and became familiar with their characters.

Leading actor Jim Smith, who plays Sylvester Sly Fox, said, "this play is a mystery with several different plots within the main characters, and is very intriguing. It's a mystery as to how they play ends and how all the ladies feel about my character." Smith did not want to give too much away about his character but is excited to be a part of the cast and production.

Interactive shows like "A Sinister Cabaret" are becoming common in the dinner theatre scene. Bowman said, "People are looking for fun and entertaining things to do in these trying times. They need some relief from the tensions caused by their jobs, or lack of, racial unrest, riots, pandemics, lockdowns, vaccines, social distancing restrictions, and Zoom meetings.”

“The timing for this comedy is perfect, and we are expecting a great response and turnout. Celebrating one year of COVID restrictions, you can bet people are ready to ditch the lockdowns and get out of their houses in search of some fun and wholesome entertainment. And that is what the Fayetteville Dinner Theatre is all about. What better to celebrate than with a show that's fun and showcases a local playwright and local actors? Besides, it's about time that people seeking good dinner theatre venues don't have to travel to Charlotte, Raleigh, Winston Salem, or Greensboro for quality entertainment."

In addition to "A Southern Girl's Got To Have It," the Fayetteville Dinner Theatre has produced "M is for Mullet," "The Fantastiks," and "HamLIT." The May 2020 FDT show that was canceled due to COVID-19 was titled "Mark Twain Himself," starring Richard Garey from Hannibal, Missouri. Garey owns his own Playhouse in Hannibal and is a Samuel Clement scholar. His performances are known for their authenticity.

Garey brings Mark Twain to life, and Bowman hopes the FDT will be able to reschedule his performance in the fall. It is a show the entire Fayetteville and Cumberland County community will appreciate and enjoy from an entertainment and historical point of view.

The Fayetteville Dinner Theatre is all about having a unique theatre and dining experience. The FDT prides itself on focusing on the “wow” factor. Every evening starts with a Preshow Welcome Reception hosted by Gates Four Country Club. It includes a wine tasting followed by the show and a three-course meal prepared especially for the FDT audiences. There are gifts, door prizes and a dessert bar set up during the intermission. After the show, the FDT hosts a Meet and Greet with the actors and actresses.

Gates Four Golf & Country Club is the home of the Fayetteville Dinner Theatre. It is a gated community located in western Cumberland County near Hope Mills. Gates Four is known for its beautiful residential neighborhoods, quaint country landscapes, and its challenging 18-hole golf course.

The FDT performance of "A Sinister Cabaret: Love Letters/Sleight of Hand" will hit the center stage on Friday, April 9, and Saturday, April 10. Tickets and reservations may be made online at www.fayettevilledinnertheatre.com.

The Preshow Welcome Reception begins at 6:00 p.m. Dinner and the performance begins at 7:00 p.m. Open seating with social distancing practices will be in place. Tickets are $75 per person with discounts available for active duty military, seniors 65+ and Gates Four members and residents. Parties of six or eight may purchase VIP tables.

For more information about tickets or how your business or organization can exclusively sponsor a FDT production, contact the Box Office at 910-391-3859 or email bbowman@upandcomingweekly.com. Partial proceeds from the FDT show will benefit Cumberland County education through the Kidsville News! Literacy and Education Foundation, a (501c3), provides reading and educational resources for local children and teachers.

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