Belmont, most recently known for it’s thriving downtown and restaurants, has been an active theater town for a number of years. The Abbey Players would regularly present interesting and sometimes quirky works a couple of times per year.
Keith Taylor, the long time drama instructor at South Point HS left after the last school year to pursue greener pastures in the Triad. His replacement at South Point, Marcus Riter (prounounced, write-r), has taken the youthful thespians to new heights this school year.
Saturday night in the South Point cafeteria, the stage was set for a Dinner Theater production of Murder and Mystery. 2, one-act plays were performed around a pasta dinner catered by the Olive Garden restaurant to a sold out, SRO crowd.
The first performance, “Clue’, was a take-off of the popular whodunit game. Mr. Riter wrote and directed his young charges through a simple choreography of murder and revenge. The usual suspects of Mr. Green (played by Sarah Green), Professor Plum (Scott Stowe), Colonel Mustard (Jon Stewart), Ms. Scarlett (Laura Lemond), Ms. White (Kelsey Pate), Mrs. Peacock (Haley Bishop), and the body (Adam Kirkby), were drawn into a surprising murder, committed by who? An audience member? one of the caterers, or (gasp…) Mr. Riter’s own father!
The second play, a longer one-act play-within-a-play, called, “The Real Inspector Hound“, evoked a Twilight Zone appeal where two theater critics are drawn into a London stage play in the midst of their own personal dramas. Julianne Reeger starred in this scenario as “Moon”, a second level theater critic covering for a more expereienced reporter. Ms. Reeger ably carried an english accent throughout the production as did her competitive writer, Birdboot, played by Geoffry Brown. Ryan Howard played a somewhat clueless romeo, Simon Gascoyne, often floating around the stage. Felicity (Crystal Hannah) and Cynthia (Kirby Beal) were the objects of Simon’s “affairs”.
To make a long story short, the students pulled off a complicated plot line with energy, humor, and class. More importantly, a young crew of actors displayed their talent in a popular dinner setting. Mr. Riter is to be praised for his chops in putting together this event. As he mentioned, “if you liked it, tell everyone, if you didn’t, just be quiet and go home!”
Obviously, we liked it. The format, the staging, the actors, and the enthusiasm – all good, even after a busy day in downtown Belmont.
The Abbey Players are still around. Somewhat loosely organized, but missing longtime director, Simon Donohue. Marcus Riter could certainly try to tie the student and adult groups together, find much needed funding for both programs and keep Belmont theater supporters going to dinner and a show.
On the Belmont Front Porch, Conference Championship Sunday is actually a bit bigger than the Super Bowl. The reason? There are TWO games and a lot more emotion wrapped up in the outcomes — plain and simple.
There is a split in the factions, so this year it seems that everyone will be rooting for someone else. This makes for an interesting evening.
No school on Monday and with MLK holiday on top, it is all working well for a wonderful get-together.
There were some stores sales the past week to help with party planning. The food prep is pretty easy — with two games back-to-back — there is time for two complete meals. Nobody really stresses out over it all.
Ok, well, one for the kids, and one for the gamers. The rest of us just sorta come and go.
We will have chili, hotdogs, chips (lots of ’em), wings, and a lot of pickups like the smokie sausage thingy’s. Since we have too many cheese-heads in Belmont, we have to grill out Brats — they are sooo picky with their food choices during ball games.
Right now it appears that overall, people are predicting the Pats and the Pack in the Super Bowl.
It has been a great football season.
Friday night’s American Legion annual Christmas celebration awarded its Community Service Award to two very deserving men, Bob Brown and Jack Page.
(Gazette Photo-Benjamin Patton)
The award was given for their long community service records and especially for their leadership in the establishment of the Belmont Historical Society.
Both men were invited to the celebration to introduce the other as the Community Service award recipients. Mayor Richard Boyce and long time legionaire, Art Shoemaker, turned the tables on both by having Mayor Boyce introduce them to the assembly.
The annual Christmas celebration at the Legion Post on Park Drive was attended by current Mayor Boyce, and past mayors, Billy Joye and Kevin Loftin. Newly elected city council member, Ron Foulk was in attendance as well as the re-elected Charlie Flowers and former council members Becky Burch and Arlene Flowers. County Commissioner Mickey Price was present as well.
Joye served as emcee in his own inimitable way introducing honored guests and community stalwarts. Coaches John Devine and Mickey Lineberger were recognized as well as former Belmont Banner editor, Dwight Frady.
Art Shumaker announced that Mickey Lineberger would be the Belmont Braves Legion baseball coach for this upcoming season.
Shannon Angel, a 1991 Red Raider graduate entertained the crowd with several Christmas songs and carols.
Youth leaders from the community were introduced and each spoke briefly about their experiences of the Legion-sponsored event that they had been selected to attend.
Legion baseball player-representative Nick DeMarsico thanked the Legion Post 144 for sponsoring the baseball team each year and how he enjoyed playing through the summer to keep his skills sharp.
Girls State representatives Lindsey Hawkins, Caitlyn Reese, Katie Dare Payseur, Emily Scruggs, and Ashley Baker. The young women had attended the Girls State program at Catawba College this past summer, and each expressed their gratitude for the leadership development opportunity. Boys State Representatives for the summer program were, Trevor Reeves, Matt Crane, Cameron Matthews, Andrew Pierce, and Omar Baroudi.