Wayne Carter plays God in latest Community Playhouse production

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By The Staff

Indian Land resident Wayne Carter played Jesus in 2002 and today, he’ll get to play God in “Children of Eden,” opening at the Community Playhouse of Lancaster County.

“The play is based on the first nine and a half chapters of the Book of Genesis and is really the story of parents and children, and the growing pains they experience as their children grow up,” Carter said. “They learn that they have to let go of the ones they love so they can find their own way.”

Written by John Caird (“Les Miserables”), with music written by Steven Schwartz (“Wicked”), Carter says the show has something that everyone in the family can enjoy.

“The show has been fun for me. Despite the long hours of rehearsals, I have had the opportunity to make a lot of new friends and work with amazingly talented performers that usually do not participate in CPLC productions, but are driving from all over the region to be part of this show,” Carter said.

That includes director Vito Abate of Charlotte in his first production with the Community Playhouse.

“It’s a challenging show, as it’s more like an operetta than a standard musical with difficult music and harmonies,” Abate said.

A New York City native, Abate has acted with the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. He directed “A Christmas Carol” at Theatre Charlotte and is now producing “Just Do It.” He’s also directed for Rock Hill Community Theatre.

Last week, Abate was named Creative Loafing’s Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for playing Billis in “South Pacific” last year. The Metrolina Theatre Association gave him the same honor. He was also named Emerging Artist of the Year.

Jack Stevenson, who plays Adam and Japheth, drives in from Rock Hill and says these two roles have turned out to be his favorites so far. Kristin Jann Fischer, who plays Yonah, commutes from Charlotte and says the hour drive is worth performing what she describes as a “dream role in a dream show.”

Chris Sepulveda really wanted to play the part of Noah and makes the drive from Hickory to rehearse with members he’s worked with before.

There are local performers as well, including Katherine Sears of Sun City Carolina Lakes, who plays the Snake and is in the Chorus of Storytellers.

Established in 1972, the playhouse does not have a permanent facility, but is supported by the University of South Carolina at Lancaster, where it holds rehearsals and productions.

Carter, who has appeared in eight playhouse productions, has served as president of the playhouse board for the last two years.

“The space at USC Lancaster allows us to perform a children’s show every summer, along with three other performances, one being a musical, throughout the remainder of the year,” Carter said. “We also do a fundraiser, and are raising money to one day open our own facility.”

“Children of Eden” will be performed at the Bundy Auditorium in the Bradley Arts and Sciences Building at USCL, 476 Hubbard Drive, Lancaster, at 8 p.m. today, Saturday and April 11 and 12. It will also be staged at 3 p.m. April 6.

Advance tickets – $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, and $10 for children under 12 – are available at Silver and Spice Gifts, 408 N. White St., Lancaster.

For details, visit www.lancasterplayhouse.com or e-mail info@lancasterplayhouse.com.