The Arts

Holiday production by CTG honors the late Broach Theatre co-founders

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Community Theatre of Greensboro didn’t perform A Christmas Carol for its holiday show, but it did resurrect a ghost from Christmas past last weekend when it performed a throwback performance to Broach Theatre’s annual classic, A Tuna Christmas. The performance was a wonderful tribute to the late Broach co-founders Stephen Gee, who passed in May, and Hall Parrish, who passed in 2008.

The connection goes back to when CTG purchased the building and theater from Allen Broach in 2012. “So, the history of the Broach Theatre is now a part of the history of CTG,” said George Carson who, along with Doug Heberle, is an actor, director and brainchild of the production. “Our stories have become intertwined.”

Carson said that A Tuna Christmas has been a personal favorite of his since seeing it almost 20 years ago here in the Triad. “Unfortunately, I didn’t really know Stephen and Hall, but I certainly knew of their work with the Broach Theatre Company and the wonderful productions of A Tuna Christmas that they performed for so many years.”

From the 1990s to 2007, the two played more than 20 characters in their traditional Christmas production, set in the tiny town of Tuna, Texas. Carson and Heberle performed on the very stage of Gee and Parrish’s legacy.

“With Stephen’s passing this year—and, of course, the loss of Hall in 2008—I felt inspired to not only pursue the potential for performing A Tuna Christmas, but to also try and do it in such a way that it helped acknowledge the tremendous impact they had on the community for so many years,” Carson said.

Doug Heberle and Carson met last year during CTG’s own annual classic, The Wizard of Oz and both expressed interest in paying tribute to the co-founders with the energetic comedy. Director Mitchel Sommers and the CTG staff were excited and gave them their full support to proceed. After meeting with Allen Broach to discuss how the production would be received by the former Broach audience, the two were given a full blessing and encouragement to continue.

“It is very clear how special Stephen and Hall were to him (and all of the Broach Theatre Company), and we are honored to have such wonderful support from Allen,” Carson said.

On Saturday, CTG made a special presentation to Allen in honor of the Broach Theatre Company and the founding members.

“CTG wouldn’t have this wonderful theater if not for the Broach Theatre Company, and now, in some ways, the history of the Broach Theatre Company lives on in the same theater through CTG,” Carson said. “Both organizations have made our community stronger, and it is an honor to be a part of that history.”

Up next for CTG is its own annual classic of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, a chaotic comedy about a couple attempting to put on a church Christmas production with a group of infamously misbehaved children.

“I love that it is not your typical Christmas play,” Sommers said. “(There are) lots of shenanigans, some unruly kids, some chaos and the drama of putting on a Christmas play. And yet, by the end of the play we end up at the same place we always like to end up for a warm Christmas message: understanding, friendship, spiritual awakening and gratitude.”

Wanna go? Community Theatre of Greensboro performs The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Friday through Dec. 18 at its Starr Theatre, 520 S. Elm St., Greensboro. For tickets and more information call 336-333-7470 or visit ctgso.org.

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