By Aaron Worley
MONROE – Back in 1982, the musical “Foxfire,” directed by David Trainer, premiered on Broadway. Fueled by performances by Keith Carradine and Jessica Tandy, the production was a hit with audiences and critics alike.
The Union County Playmakers is premiering its own version of the play.
Telling the story of Annie Nations, a 79-year-old Appalachian woman who holds on to a seemingly outmoded way of life, the musical details her interaction with her family and her eventual struggle with a developer who has plans of commercializing the area she has grown to love.
Nations is given the choice of moving from her land and trying to preserve it. Her ties to the area are root deep – her husband and some family members are buried on the property – and at her age, it is difficult to change ideals.
The ties that Union County has with “Foxfire” is with a magazine of the same name which circulated among its residents and often highlighted the way of the people in the Appalachian region. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, it was a popular magazine, although much has changed in the described area of Blowing Rock, as it is heavily tourist-based now.
“We chose the play because we wanted a drama that would appeal to people who are aware of the Appalachian history in hopes that the plot will resonate with them,” said Gay McCoy Clyburn, president of the Union County Playmakers.
Ginger Heath will take the role of Annie Nations and Jeff Rogers will play her son, Dillard. Rogers is a talented musician who will be supporting his and Heath’s roles with acoustic guitar. Other members of the cast include John Sexton as Hector Nations, Lisa Tarlton as Holly Burrell and Steve Clyburn as Prince Carpenter.
The story is detailed enough to compel audiences and bring back memories of the original Boone magazine.
Others may find comfort in Nations’ desire to fight for her land, both internally and externally, due to development pressures they endure in the Charlotte region.
Want to go?
The Union County Playmakers presents “Foxfire” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15, 16, 22 and 23, as well as 2:30 p.m. Feb. 17 and 24 at Monroe Crossings Mall. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students under 12.