Celebrating theatre arts: past, present and future

by Shannon Rae Gentry
Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Supplied photo courtesy of the Thalian Association 

“Ragtime” was one of the Thalian Association’s productions in 2011. The organization is celebrating its 225th anniversary this year.

The Thalian Association in Wilmington will kick off its 225th anniversary this month, starting with a live revue at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort. The Thalian Association in Revue: Celebrating 225 years of Live Theater, Sunday, Jan. 20 at 6 p.m. features a three-course dinner and cabaret show in the ballroom at 7 p.m.

As the official community theater of North Carolina, Thalian artistic director Tom Briggs said the revue is an opportunity to look back at the impact the Thalian Association has had on the artistic community.

Briggs also said the Blockade Runner was the best venue for this historic celebration. 

“The folks at the Blockade Runner like to reach out to the art community,” Briggs said. They’re very art-friendly. It’s a wonderful venue for this kind of thing. … They’ve got the right kind of setup for pulling all this together.”

The live revue will feature many actors from past productions, all of whom will sing various favorites enjoyed over the years, like frequent players of the main stage, Troy and Kathy Rudeseal. 

Troy, who played in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” will sing, “This is the Moment.” His wife Kathy will sing, “You Can Never go Back to Before” from “Ragtime.”

While celebrating what has been a successful past, Briggs said the 225th anniversary revue is also about celebrating what will come, with previews of the musicals “Xanadu,” opening Jan. 31, and the Thalian Association Children’s Theater’s “High School Musical,” opening in the spring.

Guests will also include local author, Ellen Elizabeth Hunter, who has written her tenth book in the Magnolia Mystery series, “Much Ado About Murder,” in honor of the Thalian Association’s historic anniversary.

Invited by the association’s board to write the book about a year ago, Hunter said one goal was to include a history of the Thalian Association. “After including all of the history of the theatrical organization … I wove in a mystery to go along with it,” Hunter said.

“Much Ado About Murder” follows Ashley and her family while preparing for the association’s celebratory events. In Hunter’s book a contest is announced for best musical, with a large cash prize, and the winning musical is to be produced by the Thalian Association and made into an original Wilmywood movie.

While some of the proceeds from upcoming appearances and book signings will go back to the association, Hunter said she is excited just to be involved with the anniversary.

“My hat is off to everyone at the Thalian Association. … There is so much talent in Wilmington,” she said. “It’s an honor and pleasure to be directly involved with the celebrations that are going on this year.”

For more information about Ellen Elizabeth Hunter or her Magnolia Mystery series, visit www.ellenhunter.com

The Thalian Association will continue celebrating throughout the year, including a birthday party on Feb. 9, immediately following the performance of “Romeo and Juliet” at the Community Arts Center, free to everyone that attends the play. For details, visit www.thalian.org

Dinner is $55 which includes a  $20 donation to the Thalian Association and Children’s Theater. Reservations should be made by calling 910- 256-2251 or visiting

email shannon@luminanews.com

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