MonkY Business, opening Nov. 11, an experience in live theater

Published 12:40 pm Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What is it about live theater that makes the experience so special? From the kindergarten stage to the Great White Way of Broadway, audiences flock to enjoy live performance. Unlike film or television, where mistakes and bloopers can be corrected and edited out, stage actors and technicians must pick up and go on after the most colossal flub. The rehearsal process can be lengthy or brief, but despite the best preparation, on stage, anything can happen.

At a recent rehearsal for Tryon Little Theaters MonkY Business, opening November 11, actors swapped nerve-wracking tales of stage nightmares. From missed entrances and forgotten song lyrics, to lighting cues, and wardrobe malfunctions, when all is said and done, these human errors can generate laughter. Strangely, audiences can be very forgiving or just totally unaware of errors. Actors are trained to keep on going and wing it.

In the comic musical farce, MonkY Business, five desperate brothers borrow a religious radio station WGOD (the WORD of God in Stereo!) to conduct a fundraiser. The bank has given the Men in Brown thirty days to raise $250,000 or lose their monastery. They have tried bake sales, raffles and dunking booths, to no avail. So in front of a studio audience, and a world-wide radiothon audience, the Monks of St. Bernards make their plea.

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Tryon Little Theater audiences will of course be part of the show. Up close and personal in the newly reconfigured seating design by Richard Sharkey, patrons can expect to hear music genres of country gospel, jazzy blues, up-tempo, ballads and even a touch of Argentine Tango. There will also be a special performance by Jack Carruth who sings of the challenges of celibacy, from the viewpoint of an innocent orphan named Brother Lee Love.

MonkY Business is directed by Richard Sharkey, with musical direction by Pam McNeil. Joining Jack Carruth on stage, Lavin Cuddihee struts his stuff as the mischievous devil-may-care Brother Clarence. In the fatherly role, Guy Winker of Rutherfordton, N.C., plays Abbott Costello, and Inman, S.C., resident Mark Monaghan will play the fastidious organizer, Brother Brooks. Newcomer Pat T. Peake rounds out the cast in the role of a miraculous monk, Brother Forte.

Tickets for MonkY Business are on sale at the Tryon Little Theater box office, located at 516 S. Trade St (Hwy 176). Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Call 828-859-2466 to leave a message, or e-mail

MonkY Business, by Todd Mueller and Hank Boland with music and lyrics by Gregg Opelka, plays November 11 to 14 and 18 to 21, Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday matinee at 3 p.m. For more information visit the web site at

Tryon Little Theater is located at 516 S Trade Street in Tryon and is accessible from Asheville via I-26 exit 67 (Hwy. 108 and Hwy. 74). From Spartanburg, take I-26 exit 1 (Hwy. 14 – Landrum) to Hwy. 176, turn right for 3.3 miles.

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