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Centerstage readies for ‘Father of the Bride’

Xavier Smith • Sep 29, 2017 at 1:39 PM

Centerstage Theatre Co. will present “Father of the Bride” next weekend, and production directors and actors said there are many lessons audience member can learn and relate to in the play.

Based on the novel by Edward Streeter, Centerstage’s adaptation tells the story of Mr. Banks as he learns that one of the young men he has occasionally seen around the house is about to become his son-in-law.

Kay, his daughter, and Buckley, his future son-in-law, don't want a "big" wedding, just a simple affair. Trouble begins, though, as the guest list grows larger and caterers, florists, furniture movers and dressmakers begin to take over the wedding.

When Kay, in a fit of temper, calls off the wedding, everyone's patience snaps. 

“Everybody has been through this wedding culture thing. Weddings can be as cheap or expensive as you want, and they can be as simple or out of hand as you want,” Centerstage co-founder Mitchell Vantrease said.

Vantrease will direct “Father of the Bride,” along with Centerstage veteran Thomas Tapley.

“This story is timeless and can be about any family. This play will show that it truly can be about any type of family,” Vantrease said.

Jenny Smith and Kevin Driver will star as Kay and Mr. Banks, and Driver has first-hand experience in his role as his daughter will have her wedding after production ends.

“I’m pretty much living it. I’m rehearsing, and she’s texting me every day about venues, songs, menu and that kind of stuff,” said Driver, who said there is one big difference between his role in the play and reality. “I actually liked the guy at first.”

Vantrease and Driver both agreed the major theme of the play is “letting go,” as Mr. Banks struggles to let go of his daughter as she grows. Driver said the play also has parallels with today’s culture.

“It’s current day. The wife is black, the father is white, and the daughter is mixed,” he said. “There are some color differences you have to look past, but it also makes for funny anecdotes and moments.”

The show will also feature Savitri Marsh, Jared Dalton, Will Gipson, Kyle Pulley, Mallory Rickman, Jeremiah Marsh, Roger Davis, Brad Vermeulen, Stacia Brown, Kristi Matthews, McQuinlan Douglas, Danika Humes, Ken Jones and Lindsay Hall.

Vantrease said the group spent nearly six weeks rehearsing.

“It’s going great. They’re really getting into their characters,” he said.

“They all have a talent level buried in them and Mitchell pulls that out,” Driver said. “You wouldn’t know some of them have never been on stage before. It truly is 100 percent community theatre and it gives everybody an opportunity.”

“Father of the Bride” will show Oct. 6-7 and Oct. 13-14 at Winfree Bryant Middle School, keeping the group’s desire to rotate productions throughout the community.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays.

Tickets are available at brownpapertickets.com and Iddy and Oscar’s on the Lebanon Square.

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