Featured “Esmeralda” cast announced

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, June 30, 2016

Rutherford County Arts Council has announced the rest of the cast for the 2016 production of the musical “Esmeralda” at the Maple Street Theatre, 132 Maple Street in Rutherfordton. The show, to be presented on July 15 and 16, will feature Philip Guadagno, Don McKinney, Rachael Palmeri, Kip Arrowood, and Jessica Davey.


Based on a novelette written by Frances Hodgson Burnett in the 1880s while she was visiting Rutherford County, the story was transformed into a musical by Diane McEnnerney which premiered in Lake Lure for two sell-out weekends in 2007.

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The box office for “Esmeralda” is now open, with tickets available online at tix.com.  Friday night is Dinner Theatre, and reservations must be made by Wednesday, July 13, at tix.com. Tickets include dinner, live music by Champagne Charlie, and the show. Saturday’s performance is a matinee at 3 p.m., and tickets may be purchased in advance at tix.com or at the door on Saturday. For general information, call the Arts Council at 828-245-4000.


Philip Guadagno, who will play Mr. Estabrook, a gentleman of leisure, appeared in the leading role of Algernon Moncrieff in last spring’s production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” at the Maple Street Theatre, where he also appeared as one of a Greek chorus in the premiere of the new adaptation with music of the historic satyr play, “The Cyclops,” by Euripides.


He also appeared in leading roles in a variety of productions in the Afterschool of the Arts at Maple Street and played Gloin in last spring’s “The Hobbit.” He is currently a theatre arts and music major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Don McKinney will play the role of George Drew, a mining entrepreneur who sets Esmeralda’s fateful plot in motion. He appeared as a soloist in last December’s “Medieval Christmas” and as the leading character of the writer in this spring’s “The Good Doctor” at Maple Street Theatre.


Rachael Palmeri will play Kate, the younger sister of Jack Desmond, the American artist living in Paris. Palmeri has appeared in Arts Council productions since middle school and has played featured roles in recent productions of “Pinocchio,” “The Hobbit,” “The Good Doctor” and “The Little Mermaid.”

The Marquis de Montessin, Esmeralda’s mercenary suitor, will be played by Kip Arrowood, who has played a large number of roles with the Arts Council over the years. Most recently, he was seen as the comic seagull, Scuttle, in “The Little Mermaid.” Among his many other appearances, he played the title role in last spring’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.”


Jessica Davey will play the maid Sophie. She recently played the governess in “The Good Doctor,” and she has appeared a number of times in church musical plays. Esmeralda will be her second appearance with the Arts Council.


-Submitted by Matthew McEnnerney