This time of year there is one burning question on many minds: Will Ralphie get the official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model BB rifle with a compass in the stock?
And the Surry County Arts Council wants to give you the answer.
For the first time, the Council is putting on a holiday performance of a seasonal favorite “A Christmas Story”.
Three performances are scheduled this weekend, Friday at 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m., according to Arts Council Director Tanya Jones.
The performances will be held at the Andy Griffith Playhouse, located at 218 Rockford Street in Mount Airy. Reserved seats are $10.
Jones said this year’s performance features the local directorial debut of John Adams, a commercial director who relocated to Surry County from Los Angeles in 2010.
Adams teaches at the film school at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem.
“We’re extremely fortunate to have him even interested in our community theater, much less directing a show,” she said. “He’s quite an accomplished national director and this is his first community theater production.”
But Jones said there is a lot of talent on hand for the holiday favorite.
“The stage manager for this performance is Heather Elliott, and Stan Bernstein is serving as assistant director, so there are a lot of incredible folks — including dozens of talented volunteers — working on the show,” she said.
The cast includes Vince Hancock as Ralph, Scott Carpenter as The Old Man, Jane Tesh as Miss Shields, Dawson Boyer as Randy, Alex Bowers as Flick, Peyton Martel as Esther Jane, Kristie McMillan as Mom, Isabella McMillan as Helen, Michael McMillan as Farkas, Michael Senter as Schwartz and William Wharton as Ralphie.
Jones said the performance of the holiday classic is an effort to raise the level of performances available to both local residents and visitors.
“Our community theater has had some really big shows in the past, so we’re sort of trying to raise the bar,” she said. “We’re even talking about making this show an annual event because it’s a Christmas classic and just makes everyone feel good.”
Adams said he is humbled by both the accolades and the amount of talent available in Surry County.
“It’s fantastic,” he said enthusiastically. “Coming here is like coming home, and getting to direct a performance of this caliber at the Andy Griffith Playhouse… I consider it an honor.”
He said he is “amazed” by the talent available in this area.
“There are actors here who are as good as any I’ve worked with in Los Angeles or New York,” he said. “Will Wharton is a stand-out, but several of the kids I’m directing are very, very talented.”
And the quality of production is nothing to sneeze at, he said.
“I think the most impressive thing for me is the level of production that the Surry Arts Council is able to put on in this city with their available resources,” Adams said. “I’ve been to several performances myself, and I can only hope this follows in the footsteps of those terrific productions.”
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.