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A Simple Gift: Mill Mountain Theatre’s “Once-In-A-Lifetime” Celebration

Mill Mountain Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director Ginger Poole calls A Simple Gift??, the theatre’s first major fundraiser in more than a decade, a celebration in three acts: fine food; the show itself; and a festive dessert.

“Nancy Ruth Patterson’s play, A Simple Gift, brought crowds to its feet when it premiered in 2008,” Poole said.  “We’ve sandwiched that play, called Nancy’s love song to the theatre and love song to life, between a sophisticated stand-up supper and open bar sprawled out over Center in the Square and a dessert buffet accompanied by show tunes and bubbly toasts. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about this once-in-a lifetime celebration.”

Headliners for the play itself include two of the playwright’s former students, who are returning home to join the Mill Mountain Theatre family in honoring Patterson’s lifelong creativity and devotion to this community. Stage and television actor Trey Ellett, whose credits include Rent and Amelie on Broadway and the  National Tour of  If/Then, joins his lifelong friend and  Mill Mountain Theatre favorite Christy Smith Treece,  on stage.

Others featured in the cast include Emmy-Award Winner  Natalie Faunce, retired Hollins University President (and former high school drama teacher) Nancy Gray,  attorney/actor Carter Brothers, Ginger Poole Avis, and the real star, a well-loved poodle.  A large cast of some of Mill Mountain Theatre Conservatory’s finest students is headlined by Charlotte Pearl. The play is directed by MMT Director of Education, Travis Kendrick.

A Simple Gift tells the story of two former residents of fictional Brownsville, North Carolina – one who found fame on Broadway and the other as a children’s writer – accept the invitation from an old teacher to put on a performance of her book, Michael Madigan’s Curtain Call, as a gift to the hometown that raised them both. When the author’s ten-year-old want-to-be-actor daughter begs to audition for the play, she finds out that no matter what, the show must go on, and so much can depend on the simplest of gifts.

Tickets for the November 10, one –night- only (6:30-9:00 p.m.) event are now on sale for $100 each. A portion of that price is a donation to MMT to complete renovations of the Waldron Stage, home of its Conservatory, as a green space.

Contact [email protected] or call 540-342-5761 for more information or to buy tickets.

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