A blast from the past will hit the Sampson Community Theatre stage this Friday night. The actors will produce seven lively and funny skits from the famous ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ in their rendition of the famous television program from the 1970s.
The curtain is set to rise Friday night. Shows will run Fridays and Saturdays, Aug. 24, 25, 31 and Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. and Sundays, Aug. 26 and Sunday, Sept. 2 at 3 p.m.Ticket prices are the customary $10 for general admission and $8 for seniors and students.
Show director G. Wayne Melvin is expecting the production to appeal to many of the older citizens as they reminisce on the memories of the show’s stars Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, Vickie Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner and Tim Conway. Local actors will be filling the roles those actors portrayed in the original show as they reproduce about seven skits from the show.
“Carol Burnett has taken about 100 of the skits they did on the show, published them and made them accessible to small theater groups, high schools, colleges and other small groups for production,” Melvin explained.
“I am excited for the show to get under way. We have three totally new actors that will be appearing on the Sampson Community Theatre stage for the first time. In fact, it is the first time they have ever performed on stage. The show should be very entertaining to all who come. Some of the humor is a little dated for today’s youth but I think they still might enjoy it,” added the director.
Melvin has also cast himself in several of the skits. Lila Maxwell, Sue Blanchard and Bettie Williams will appear for the first time. Other more familiar faces will includ Lisa Cain, Bruce Creech, Guy Padgett, Josh Owens, Sue Winfrey, Gary Wilson, Jessica Watts, and Jack and Abigail Whipkee.
“The skits will range in length from about two to three minutes up to 10 minutes. And the show will be fast-paced. We hope everyone will come out and support the community theatre and have a very enjoyable evening with us,” remarked Melvin.
The cast is excited about the production and shared their feelings during a recent interview.
“This is my very first ever play,” shared Maxwell. “It is something I had on my bucket list to do. I have found the experience very enjoyable and that I love acting.It is something totally different from anything I have ever done and I enjoy trying different things,” expressed the novice actor.
Maxwell and Wilson will perform the skit entitled “Bonnie and Clod,” a takeoff on Bonnie and Clyde, but Clod is definitely not as successful as Clyde in the crime business.
Both Blanchard and Williams also shared that being in a performance on the SCT stage was on their bucket lists. They will perform in the skit about a coffee commercial where things tend to get out of hand.
“This skit is so not me, but it is so much fun playing the part,” shared Blancahrd. “The practices are exactly what I expected, and it is fun. Being someone you are not — as the county club, garden club ladies we play in the skit are so different from what I am in real life — makes it fun. Sometimes you just want to be a little bad,” explained Blanchard.
“My biggest fear is when I get in front of the large audience I will freeze. It is easy in front of everyone here but I think it will be different when the curtain goes up that first time. But I am looking forward to it,” added Blanchard.
Williams is originally from Clinton but moved away to Rhode Island for 40 years and recently moved back home. She said she had always wanted to become active in the local theatre. She is an SCT patron but decided to take it a step further and get up on stage.
“I am totally enjoying doing this skit with Sue. She and I get a chance to be someone we are not and we really are able to get into it as the skit’s plot develops. It really is funny. I am not sure I realized how much actors have to put into rehearsal and preparing, to put a play on stage. I certainly have learned a lot and have a deeper respect for actors now. I never realized we would be here most every night rehearsing,” stated Williams.
Owens is certainly no stranger to SCT. The second year Campbell Divinity School student shared that he thought it would be something good to do and the timing was right just before he returned to school.
“I get to play a farm hand who takes a likin’ to the farmer’s mail order bride. It was a part played by Lyle Waggoner, and it is a lot of fun playing this role,” said Owens.
Guy Padgett is the farmer who is bit older than his mail order bride but he brings his experience and humor to the stage in the role.
“I remember watching The Carol Burnett Show and I just loved it then and I love it now. This skit is a lot of fun and I am so appreciative to have Josh playing in the skit with me. I am just happy to be a part of this production,” cited Padgett.
Watts is a freshman at Mount Olive College. She is not only performing in a skit, she is also Melvin’s assistant director.
“I wanted something to do this summer while I was waiting to go to school and this fit the bill. Being on stage and working in the theater helps you to better understand the real world. You learn to interact with people by being a part of what we do here. Acting makes your life more interesting and you might even learn something from it. I am looking forward to Friday and getting to finally perform for the public,” expressed Watts.
Creech is another veteran actor of SCT. He will portray the part of a dentist working on his very first patient, even using a textbook to ensure he does the procedure correctly, yet it is obvious he is very inept as a dentist.
“This skit is one of the funniest even though it is very short. I hope those who make it to our show will be able to enjoy the production. It is a different concept for the SCT but hopefully the actors will be able to pull it off,” stated Creech.
Winfrey blamed Tom Wilbur for getting her started on stage at the SCT.
“It is nice to do something different. Tom talked me into trying it and I found it a lot of fun. I wish more people would take the step to give it a try. It is a great outlet to be someone you are not. It is a high energy activity but it is very enjoyable. I am looking for the curtain’s rise on Friday night,” remarked Winfrey.
“This is my 28th production, but who is counting,” said Wilson with a slight laugh. “We are going to have to really ham it up on stage if this is going to be a funny show that is should be. We have a lot to live up to as we attempt to portray some of the funniest scenes to ever appear on television when the aired on The Carol Burnett Show, but we are going to give it our best,” expressed the veteran actor.