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Arts & Entertainment

Cultural museum made possible by community support

Pull up a chair and listen to the old timers talk about their lives in the valleys and hollers of the Smokies. See a taxidermied scalded pig. Read about how the early Cherokee hunted. The new cultural museum in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park’s Oconaluftee Visitor Center, located at the entrance of the park near Cherokee, North Carolina, preserves the area’s cultural heritage in a very personal and dramatic way.

This long envisioned project has become a reality thanks to private donations. “The park is humbled by the continual support from individuals, the nearby communities, and those from afar,” said Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson. “To the Friends of the Smokies license plate holders, donation box contributors, and foundations alike, thank you for your support.”

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Broadway singer Jeri Sager takes the stage at the Martin Lipscomb Performing Arts Center Saturday, June 11, at 8 p.m. Sager will sing songs from “Cats,” “All That Jazz,” “Evita,” “Sweet Charity,” “Cabaret,” “Sound of Music” and many more. She is best known for her portrayal of “Grizabella” in “Cats,” Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony Award winning musical.

Sager was 12 years old when her love of singing and her voice were first discovered. Her first public performances were in her local church. As she grew up, Sager’s passion for singing grew into a life long love affair. She studied opera at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Ultimately, her profound love of performing led her to New York City. There she made her Broadway debut as Frumah- Sara, in the Tony Award winning, 25th Anniversary Production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” The New York Times review of this production said “When Fruma-Sara [Jeri Sager] scurries across the stage ... ‘Fiddler’ levitates.”

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“Educating Rita,” the award winning play by Willy Russell, will be on stage at the Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center as a Small Stage Production. Though it’s on a small stage, it’s big on drama, comedy, romance, and possibly a little bit of classic tragedy, as two of the area’s very own stars, Jennifer Royce and Stuart Armor, under the direction of Bart Patton, an actual movie director from Hollywood Calif., bring this story to life.

The play follows the relationship between a young working-class hairdresser and Dr. Frank Bryant, a cynical middleaged University lecturer, over a year of night classes. Rita, who is as eager and driven as Frank is not, gets a breath of fresh air the more she learns, and eventually even Frank opens up the window of his closed world, possibly for the first time in years.

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Western Carolina University announced Friday, June 3, that John W. Bardo’s name will be permanently affixed to its Fine and Performing Arts Center in recognition of the retiring chancellor’s efforts to make the $30 million, 122,000-squarefoot facility a reality.

Announcement of the honor was made during the WCU Board of Trustees quarterly meeting, following action to name the facility the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center during a special called meeting of the board in April.

Steve Warren, board chair, said the trustees decided to name the building for Bardo in appreciation of his successful efforts to dramatically improve the university’s academic reputation, the quality of its programs, and its role as a center for the arts and economic development for Western North Carolina.

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published: 10/18/2013
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