Western students, staff to perform at Roanoke Festival Park

What happens when Western Carolina’s own Bradley Martin is awarded $103,960 by the Roanoke Island Commission? You perform a two-hour piece to your love of Irving Berlin and figure out what is up with Charlie Brown, of course!

For June and July, Martin along with seven Western student actors, eight musicians, and other staff will be performing “I Love Piano” and “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” at various North Carolina locations.

The one in particular is at the Roanoke Festival Park in Roanoke, North Carolina. There, Martin and his team will spend two weeks performing and having a vacation of sorts during the beginning of July.

“It’s a beautiful outdoor arena,” Martin said. “There are different schools performing there over the holiday… we will be there the longest. I think they were very pleased with last year’s performance.”

The grant given will pay for their travel, the actor’s wages, the crew’s wages, the set, costumes, etc.

“It (the grant) allows Western audiences to enjoy the performances as well,” said Martin, explaining that to put on the show in Roanoke the cast can practice and raise revenue here in Cullowhee with two of their performance dates on the Western campus in Hoey Auditorium.

“You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,” which has been performed at Western before, is a family-friendly musical based on the all-time favored comic strip “Peanuts” written by Charles Schulz. The show debuted on Broadway originally in 1967 then was revamped in the late 1990’s. The musical opens on Charlie Brown searching for love while Linus and the gang provide comical entertainment whenever they appear. Snoopy, of course, could never be forgotten as he duels with the Red Baron throughout the show. In the show, the comic strip will come to life before your eyes.

“I Love a Piano,” also family-friendly, takes the audience through an epic journey through the eyes of a piano in a tribute to Irving Berlin, who famously penned “A White Christmas” and “God Bless America.”

“It’s similar to a medley,” said Martin, “…let’s say it’s a two-hour medley. It’s about a piano, and… the life of a piano as it goes through the 20th century. Well, as it does, it incorporates all the Irving Berlin songs.”

Maybe not all of them, but pretty close with songs “How Deep is the Ocean,” “Anything You Can Do,” “Always,” “Cheek to Cheek,” and more.

On July 6, the students begin their first show in Roanoke and end with “I Love a Piano” at the outdoor pavilion on July 15.

There are also performances at the Smoky Mountain Center for Performing Arts in Franklin, North Carolina on June 29, 7:30 p.m. and Highlands Performing Arts Centre in Highlands, North Carolina on June 30, 7:30 p.m.

To see the musical wonders of “Charlie Brown” and “I Love a Piano” for yourself, attend the Western Carolina shows. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults. “I Love a Piano” will be performed at the Hoey Auditorium on July 2 at 7:30 p.m.

“You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” will have two performances on July 3, one at 2:00 p.m. and an encore at 6:00 pm both in the Hoey Auditorium next to the Stillwell building. Please support the arts this summer, and do not miss out on a wonderful summer treat!