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BOOKMARKS festival turns a new page, Twin City Stage romps through the Park

by Mark Burger

The 2010 BOOKMARKS Festival of Books will open this Saturday in the Downtown Arts District (centered on Trade and 6 th Streets) in Winston- Salem. Scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the day will be filled with activities, including seminars, book signings, undoubtedly a surprise or two and, of course, plenty of books.

This marks the Festival of Books’ sixth birthday, and this year’s event features an all-star lineup of 40 noteworthy scribes, including acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford (Love and Infamy, The Old Ball Game), the 2003 recipient of the Dick Schaap Award for Outstanding Journalism and six-time winner of the US Sportswriter of the Year award; Billy Collins, the Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001- ’03 and the New York State Poet from 2004-’06; Diana Gabaldon, author of the popular Outlander and Long John series of novels; Patrick McDonnell, the awardwinning creator of the MUTTS comic strip and winner of five Harvey Awards for Best Comic Strip (and recipient of the 2001 PETA Humanitarian Award; noted African-American scholar and historian Trudier Harris; Charlie Pierce, the sportswriter and popular game-show panelist whose (sometimes provocative) works include Hard to Forget: An Alzheimer’s Story and Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free. (You’ve got to love that title!) A number of published authors from the area, including Alex Ewing, one-time chancellor of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts; Rachel Keener, Emily Herring Weilson and Wanda Urbanska, are scheduled to participate as well.

“We are very excited about the great authors we have lined up for this year’s festival,” said Ginger Hendricks, executive director of BOOKMARKS, in an official statement. “We have a wonderful selection that will interest a wide range of people.

We’re in our final preparations and can’t wait until the actual day.”

This year’s Festival of Books also includes a number of events designed exclusively for children, in an effort to promote reading among young people. The Young Readers Central section of the event includes scheduled appearances by Choctaw storyteller Tim Tingle, Major Brian Dennis and Linda Beatrice Brown. This year’s event also boasts a number of cooking demonstrations at the Food for Thought section of the Festival of Books, hosted by authors of cookbooks.

For more information, visit the official website: www.bookmarksbookfestival.org

Twin City Stage will kick off its 76 th season with its production of Neil Simon’s classic romantic comedy Barefoot in the Park, which opens Friday, Sept. 17 th at the Arts Council Theatre (660 Coliseum Drive, Winston-Salem).

The story follows a newlywed couple, Corie and Paul Bratter (Rene Walek and Andrew Purcell, respectively) who return from their honeymoon to their first little love nest — a tiny, fifth-floor walk-up apartment in mid-town Manhattan. The honeymoon’s over and now it’s time to be husband and wife….

Easier said than done. The original Broadway production of Barefoot in the Park starred Elizabeth Ashley and Robert Redford, was directed by Mike Nichols (who won the Tony Award as Best Director), and ran for over 1,500 performances, making it one of the most popular comedies on the Great White Way. The subsequent film version starred Jane Fonda, Redford and, reprising her stage role as Corie’s mother, Mildred Natwick (who earned an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress). A 2006 Broadway revival starred Amanda Peet, Patrick Wilson, Jill Clayburgh and Tony Roberts. It remains one of the most enduring stage comedies penned by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Neil Simon, whose extensive list of successful comedies includes The Odd Couple, The Goodbye Girl, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Lost in Yonkers and many others.

The Twin City Stage production is directed by Whit Andrews, formerly its executive director (when it was called the Little Theatre of Winston-Salem), and costars Karen Robertson, Jake Taylor, Bill Gallagher and Mark Pirolo (himself a former Little Theatre executive director).

There will be a champagne reception on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. prior to opening curtain. Barefoot in the Park will run through Sept. 26. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Thursday (Sept. 23 only); 2 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $22, $20 for senior citizens, $18 for students with valid ID. Reservations are suggested. Season subscriptions are also available.

For tickets or more information, call 336.725.4001 or visit the official Twin City Stage website: www.twincitystage.org.

The story follows a newlywed couple, Corie and Paul Bratter (Rene Walek and Andrew Purcell, respectively) who return from their honeymoon to their first little love nest — a tiny, fifth-floor walk-up apartment in mid-town Manhattan. The honeymoon’s over and now it’s time to be husband and wife….

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