Golf: The Musical: Moore OnStage Offers a Unique Look at the Game
Ever since 12th century, when Scottish shepherds began knocking stones into rabbit holes on the current site of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, golf has a long and illustrious history.
Now a unique and slightly irreverent look at the game comes to the Sandhills, as Moore OnStage opens its new season with "Golf: The Musical," at the Sunrise Theater from Sept. 11-20.
The swinging comedy revue of songs and skits first premiered at off-Broadway's John Houseman Theater Center in 2003. "Golf: The Musical" has been seen by enthusiastic audiences in country clubs and theaters across the nation, and has even been performed in New Zealand and Scotland, as well as at Florida's World Golf Hall of Fame and at a Ryder Cup opening night gala in Bloomfield, Mich.
Critics from The New York Times, The New Yorker Magazine and Golf Magazine used such words as "Hilarious," "Madcap," and Uproarious" in describing "Golf: The Musical" -- a show that celebrates the fun, frustration and elation of the sport that is enjoyed by more than 35 million Americans and hundreds of millions of pro and amateur players worldwide..
Moore OnStage executive producer Cinny Beggs saw a production of the play in Blowing Rock and was immediately struck by its suitability for Moore County audiences. To direct this glimpse into the world of golf valued by so many Sandhills residents, she chose Alison Lawrence.
An award-winning performer, director and voice teacher in Raleigh, Alison Lawrence has had a rich and varied career acting in and directing musical comedies throughout North Carolina. Among her successful students is Clay Aiken, with whom she toured in his "Joyful Noise Tour."
Lawrence has been involved with numerous shows for Theatre in the Park, Ft. Bragg Playhouse, Spring Lake Little Theatre, Neuse Little Theatre, North Raleigh Performing Arts and the Raleigh Little Theatre. Her recent directing credits include "Smokey Joe's Caf," "Nunsense" and "Little Shop of Horrors," and she has been seen on stage in regional productions of "Funny Girl," "The Sound of Music," "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," "Oliver," "Mame" and "The Full Monty."
Commenting that a good sense of humor is a prerequiste to appreciate "Golf: The Musical," Lawrence believes even if you are not a golfer, but have ever watched even just a few minutes of tournament play, or have friends who are dedicated golfers, you will enjoy the show.
"If you are a golfer, you will find some of the material very, very funny," she says. "It has been billed as a revue, but in reality I think it is more of a variety show, with lots of singing, dancing, clever sketches and all around good fun."
"Golf: The Musical" was written by Michael Roberts, who also supplied the lyrics and music, based on a concept by Eric Krebs. At the helm of the Moore OnStage production as musical director is Steve Menendez, who says,"It is a big book with a lot of music.
"The audience may not recognize some of the tunes, but they will definitely tap their feet to the rhythms as well as relating to the different styles. They will hear ballads, jazz, country, rock and gospel -- everything from harmonies reminiscent of Crosby, Sinatra and Tina Turner. All of them just jump out at you, and the melodies become as familiar as a pair of old shoes."
The onstage trio is comprised of Menendez at piano, Jerry Mashburn on bass, and David Byles on drums. The four-person cast the trio accompanies is made up of favorite actors of other Moore OnStage shows.
Michael and Rebecca Jones, Nick Ryan and Bob Dellert are the foursome poking fun at traditional golfing customs in a most entertaining way.
Michael Jones will be remembered by Moore OnStage audiences for his parts in "The Buddy Holly Story," "42nd Street," and in his nonmusical performance in "Driving Miss Daisy."A director of drama at Southern Lee High School in Sanford, he recently was in "Lend Me A Tenor" with Alison Lawrence at the Raleigh Little Theatre.
Rebecca Jones was last seen in the Moore OnStage production of the hit musical, "42nd Street." Before that she played Patty, the youngest of the three sensational Andrews Sisters, recording stars and popular entertainers in the World War II era, in the Moore OnStage production of "Sisters of Swing." In addition, she has been in "Salute to Broadway" and "Buddy."
Another performer from "Sisters of Swing" is Nick Ryan, who played multiple roles in that show. A 2007 graduate of Elon College's theater arts program, he has performed in "The Lost Colony" and has worked in television and film. Most recently, he appeared at Temple Theatre in Sanford in its production of "Hamlet."
Bob Dellert is a familiar face to local audiences, having grown up on Sandhills- area stages.
Dellert last appeared in the Moore OnStage production of "Swing" several seasons ago. He is now a resident of Greenville, S.C., and views his return to the stage as a respite from his position as a business broker.
"I do very little stage work anymore, but shake off the cobwebs every couple of years just for fun," he says. "It takes a special show and the right type of talent surrounding me to entice my return. I think we have that in 'Golf: A Musical.'"
Pointing out that the word golf is supposedly fashioned from an acronym for "Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden," director Alison Lawrence says that the show is a witty reminder of the history of the game, including presidents who swung a club and other golfing greats.
The unusual set for the production was designed by Ron Gordon, and the backstage crew includes stage manager Lauren Beecher. Lighting design was provided by Lester Seidenberg, and sound design is by Dave Godsey of Extra Mille Audio. The lightboard operator is Nick Dokich, and Sarah Edwards is in charge of props.
"Golf: The Musical" will be performed at the Sunrise Theater Friday and Saturday, Sept. 11-12 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 17, 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m., along with two matinee performances Sunday, Sept. 13 and 20 at 2 p.m.
All seats are reserved, and reservations may be made by calling (910) 692-7118 with a Mastercard or Visa.
"Do not call the Sunrise Theater directly," says a spokesman.
Moore OnStage is sponsoring The Tin Whistles First Tee Junior Tour Series with this show.
Contact Pinehurst freelance writer Mary Elle Hunter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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