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Ensemble Stage Plans Winterfest Events for This Weekend PDF Print
Written by Gary Smith   
Monday, 25 January 2010 00:04

Ensemble Stage has a busy weekend coming up.  The High-Country’s fledgling professional theatre has three events scheduled for Blowing Rock’s annual Winterfest celebration. 

They start off on Friday at 8:00 pm, by presenting a concert featuring mainstay’s of the High-Country music scene, EchoPark.  Then on Saturday, Winterfest visitors are invited to join the fun as Ensemble Stage presents their version of the TV game show, Match Game, at 4:00pm.  Then at 9:00pm they close out their Winterfest marathon with the game show, Not Necessarily Newlywed Game.  When asked why Ensemble Stage burdened themselves with presenting three events over the course of twenty-five hours, theatre co-founder, Gary Smith said, “First and foremost, it’s what our patrons asked for, and second, it’s not a burden when you’re providing this deserving community with access to live entertainment they wouldn’t get otherwise.” 


Even with so much on their plate, Smith says he’s excited about this weekend, “We’ve got three distinctly different events.  Even the two game shows are vastly diverse from one another.”  Smith went on to say the 4:00pm game show, Match Game, will pick its contestants from the audience and feature local and regional celebrities on the panel including NC State Representative, Cullie Tarleton, Joe’s Italian Kitchen owner, Joe Cafaro, MTN-TV18 owner, Terry Smith as well as Hollywood Screenwriter, Karen Hall.   


Match game will be a family-friendly presentation with none of the double entendre questions of the 70’s TV game show.  “We conducted a survey on our website asking what game show people wanted to see as well as what type of format should be used.”  Smith said, “Our patrons overwhelmingly said they wanted a family –friendly game in the afternoon and a game with more of an adult tone in the evening.”  Smith continued by saying the choice of presenting two different game shows was also decided by the online survey.  Both the Match Game and Not Necessarily Newlywed Game tied as the top choice in the survey, beating their closest competitor, The Price is Right, by nearly 100 votes.


As for their 9:00pm game show, Not Necessarily Newlywed Game, Smith says it’s probably what excites him the most about this weekend’s events.  “We’re doing something that’s never been done up here before, an adult-themed game show.”  Smith explained it’s not the fact the show has an adult tone, but rather the uniqueness of it.  “I always get excited when we break new ground.”   Ensemble Stage’s Not Necessarily Newlywed Game will closely follow the format of the popular TV game show of the 60’s and 70’s with revealing questions being asked of its contestant couples.  Contestants were chosen after they applied on the Ensemble Stage website and after Smith conducted phone interviews them.  “I wanted to be sure our contestants understood the type of questions that would be asked and be comfortable answering them.”  When asked how risqué the questions would be, Smith said they wouldn’t be any more risqué than the ones asked on the TV show.  “I can’t believe what they got away with on that show,” he said, “And really it’s not the questions so much as the answers given that end up being the most risqué.”

In keeping with TV game show tradition, prizes will be awarded to both winning and losing contestants.  Ensemble Stage won’t reveal specifics regarding the prizes but said they have received items from Bill Dotson’s TV and Appliance, Chetola Resort and Spa, Gems By Gemini and Crippen’s Restaurant with more prizes coming in.               


 With all the excitement about the game shows, Ensemble Stage doesn’t want people to overlook their opening event.  “Talk about an anchor to our weekend, says Smith, “EchoPark is such an institution here in the High-Country.  Having them perform a concert as our first Winterfest event is like icing on the cake.”  For three decades, EchoPark has been entertaining regional audiences with their 70's rock sound.  Recently they received rave reviews for their stage performance of the rock opera ‘Tommy.’ 


All Ensemble Stage Winterfest events will be held in the Blowing Rock School Auditorium located on Sunset Drive.


EchoPark tickets are $12, tickets to Match Game are $5 and tickets to the Not Necessarily Newlywed Game are $8.  All tickets are General Admission and can be purchased at the door, online at or by calling 828-406-2884.

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