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Catawba College Theatre Arts Opens ’15-’16 Season with a Production of Barrymore

July 29, 2015

Category: Events, Faculty, Theatre Arts

barrymore15.jpgIn an upcoming production, local actor, author, and Catawba College Professor Kurt Corriher will portray the legendary John Barrymore in a play titled simply Barrymore.  According to this show’s director, Craig Kolkebeck, Catawba College’s Scene Shop Manager and Adjunct Theatre Instructor, the production gives Kolkebeck and Corriher a chance at long last to collaborate as colleagues in a theatre project.

The production will run for two weeks, August 6-8 and 13-15 at 8:00 p.m. at the Warehouse Performing Arts Center in Cornelius, with a 2:00 p.m. matinee performance there on Sunday, August 9 before coming to Salisbury for three performances at the Florence Busby Corriher Theater on the campus of Catawba College.  The Salisbury offerings of Barrymore begin at 7:30 p.m. August 20 through August 22 at the Florence Busby Corriher Theater on the Catawba College campus.  Profits from the Salisbury run of the show will go to benefit the Blue Masque at Catawba College.   

Corriher follows in the footsteps of British actor Christopher Plummer who won a Tony for his performance as Barrymore in the highly acclaimed Broadway production of the same play. Catawba theatre student Caleb Garner of Robbins, N.C., will share the stage with Corriher, playing the role of The Prompter.

Says Corriher, “It is without a doubt the most challenging role of my stage career.  It’s a play about an aging man looking back and confronting his failures and disappointments.  The question is, can he do so with courage and dignity, or will, as Barrymore says in the play, ‘regrets take the place of dreams.’?”  Corriher describes the play as “very entertaining, alternately funny and heartbreaking.”

Craig Kolkebeck, who most recently directed A Few Good Men at the Lee Street Theater, directs Barrymore by William Luce.  Luce is best known as the author of The Belle of Amherst, a similarly biographical play about poet Emily Dickinson. 

Kolkebeck shares: “It was probably a year ago when Kurt and I were talking about finding a project that we could work on together, initially as actors. In that conversation, Kurt mentioned a play that he had always wanted to do called, Barrymore.  It wasn't the play itself that caught my interest so much as Kurt's statement: ‘I'd like to do it before I no longer can.’

“That was like what Barrymore says in a line from the play: ‘I need to be taken seriously, once more before the man in the bright nightgown comes for me.’  To me, actors are larger-than-life figures, uber-sensitive, moody, broody, self-destructive, self-deprecating, and horribly needy.  In other words, they’re just like everyone else, only on a larger scale.  What better way to capture the decay of spirit that can come with age, than to embody it in the character of an aging actor?”

Reservations for the Cornelius run of the show (August 6-8 and 13-15 at 8:00 p.m.) at the Warehouse Performing Arts Center can be made by calling (704) 619-0429, or by emailing  Tickets for the Salisbury performances (August 20-22 at 7:30 p.m.) are available at the door of the Florence Busby Corriher Theater on the Catawba College campus.  Courtesy transportation from the parking lot to the door of the theatre will be available.