Kennedy — who has appeared on Broadway in Les Misérables, Sunset Boulevard, Side Show and Spamalot — takes us through the rehearsal process with cast and creative team, introduces the company and offers a glimpse at the backstage activities and special guests in attendance during opening weekend.
Of the experience, Kennedy says, "'Thank God for everyone I meet, while I am on my way.' That's a lyric in the show, and it feels so appropriate for this experience. I met director Eric Woodall when I was 7 years old, in a production of The Sound Of Music at the Village Dinner Theatre right here in Raleigh, and we have stayed connected over the years. But this production is the most rewarding. We have had a wonderful time digging into this show."
"This production boasts an incredible ensemble, the majority of which were cast from here in Raleigh where the talent pool is unbelievably rich. Doing this musical adaptation of North Carolina author Doris Betts' 'The Ugliest Pilgrim' has been extremely authentic."
PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: "On Our Way" Backstage With Violet Star Lauren Kennedy
"We are enjoying stellar reviews and sold out houses," she continues. "Eric Woodall came down here and just rocked it out. He really understands how to get great performances out of people. This show is so masterful and we all feel lucky to be able to share it with our audience!"
* Kennedy, who stars in the title role, is joined on stage by Yolanda Rabun (Landlady/Gospel Soloist), Melvin Tunstall III (Flick), Jason Sharp (Monty), David McClutchy (Preacher), Heather Patterson-King (Old Lady/Hotel Singer), Mary Mattison Vallery (Young Violet), Dennis Delamar (Father), Jeffrey Todd Parrot (Billy Dean), Nick DeVito (Leroy Evans/Earl), Hazel Edmond (Music Hall Singer/ Mabel), Jim Dadosky (Bus Driver/Mechanic) and Conner Lillis (Ensemble/Swing). Eric Woodall directs.
Based on the short story "The Ugliest Pilgrim" by Doris Betts, Violet features music by Jeanine Tesori and libretto by Brian Crawley. The musical, according to press notes, "is a story of a young disfigured woman who embarks on a journey by bus from her farm in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, all the way to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in order to be healed."
Shows take place at the Kennedy Theatre inside the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh. For ticket information call (866) 811-4111 or visit www.hotsummernightsatthekennedy.org.