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Guest Artists Highlight Co-production of “The Last Night of Ballyhoo”

BOONE – Two guest artists will join the talented students, faculty and staff of Appalachian State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance as it co -produces Alfred Uhry’s “The Last Night of Ballyhoo” with the Blowing Rock Stage Company Oct. 6-10.

Performances begin at 8 p.m. in Valborg Theatre on campus, with an additional 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday. For reservations and more information, call the Valborg Theatre Box office at (828) 262-3063.

Producing Artistic Director Kenneth Kay of the Blowing Rock Stage Company directs the play. Equity guest artist Rebecca Koon plays the role of Boo.

” The Last Night of Ballyhoo” is a bittersweet romantic comedy set in Atlanta in 1939, on the opening night of “Gone With the Wind.” It deals in a very personal way with being Jewish in the South. The play, which won a Tony Award for best play in 1997, focuses on events in the Freitag home and the romances of two young couples as they look forward to the dance event of the Southeast.

Kay says of the production, “‘The Last Night of Ballyhoo’ offers some gentle lessons in self-identity and accountability that resonate with laughter and wisdom.”

The Blowing Rock Stage Company is the only professional theatre company in the High Country. Prior to his position as producing artistic director, Kay was an associate director and director of outreach programs for the Caldwell Theatre Company in Boca Raton, Fla. Previously, he served as associate artistic director and director of apprentices with North Carolina’s Flat Rock Playhouse, and from 1993-95 he was the artistic director of the Burt Reynolds Institute for Theatre Training.

Kay is also an adjunct instructor in Appalachian’s Department of Theatre and Dance.

Rebecca Koon returns to Appalachian where she performed “Shirley Valentine” more than 10 years ago, and to “The Last Night of Ballyhoo” in which she has played Reba twice before. Most recently she appeared as Emma in “Over the River and Through the Woods” for Blowing Rock Stage Company where she also appeared in “The Nerd” and “Social Security” years ago.

Koon’s film credits include “The Gift,” “Something to Talk About,” “That Darned Cat,” “The Grass Harp,” “A Time to Kill,” and more recently, “Radio.” Her television credits include the recurring role of Eileen Slocum on “I’ll Fly Away,” and she has appeared on “Dawson’s Creek” and many made-for-TV movies.

Both Koon and Kay are members of Actors Equity Association, the union for professional theatre performers and stage managers.

Rounding out the cast of “The Last Night of Ballyhoo” include theatre and dance students Jessica Hayslett as Reba, Callie Gannaway as Lala, Hillary Edwards as Sunny, Scott Hoppmann as Joe, and Scott Bean as Peachy. Faculty member Joel Williams will portray the family “patriarchal figure,” Adolph Freitag.