After watching this afternoon’s blowout performance of David (A Man after God’s Own Heart), I can now report that there is nothing ad hoc about the Rocky Hock Playhouse in Washington.
Just because it’s located in the old P.S. Jones Middle School building and is, by definition, a ‘Christian theater’, don’t assume that this theater company gives an unrehearsed performance. In fact, it was quite the contrary.
When compared with Raleigh’s Theater in the Park—ran by the prominent, wealthy Ira David Wood III, father to Hollywood star Evan Rachel Wood—where I’ve seen more than a few shows, I would give the Rocky Hock Playhouse more points for professionalism and all-around talent.
And boy, do Rocky Hock Playhouse owners, Gloria and Jeff Emmerlich, know how to exhaust their abundance of talent. Come to find out, Gloria, herself, wrote today’s highly entertaining musical, as well as starred as David’s mother, Keturah. Jeff directed the musical and perfected the role of King David. Nathan Schierer, who played the tormented and temperamental King Saul, also managed the box office. Beth Marsh and Caitie Moss, who played Iscah and Dorcas, respectively, could also be seen tending to the refreshments during intermission.
Gloria’s script combined elements of humor, seriousness and song to flesh-out her interpretation of the life and personality of the biblical David—the musician, shepherd, warrior and king—who sinned and repented with equal sincerity. She used colloquial language and conversations to ‘bring home’ the story of David, the regular boy who became King of Israel.
Charlie Tingen, a recent graduate of Washington High School, in his lead role as ‘young’ David, stunned the audience with his powerful vocals. Not once did he falter, which was crucial, as young David’s love for music and a simple life was the crux of the entire first half of the performance.
This role may prove to be the beginning of a long career for Tingen, who is leaving this fall for Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina to begin working on his BFA in Musical Theater.
Only after young David killed Goliath, the giant Philistine warrior, did he become a man and the real drama began. Jeff played the older David with humor and sensitivity—his skilled acting and singing were precise.
Every member of the David cast hail from a variety of respectable theater backgrounds from around North Carolina, America and even Europe. You can meet the cast by visiting the Rocky Hock Playhouse Web site.
Just as awe-inspiring as the performance, were the thousands of yards of purple velvet draping the walls of the old middle-school auditorium. The 133 people who watched today’s show were transported to the kingdom of Israel, rather than 1973 Washington, N.C., which is as it should have been.
The Rocky Hock Playhouse auditorium can seat 966 people. According to the box office, the three Saturday performances of David are expected to attract 300 to 400 people each. The Tuesday and Thursday performances are expected to attract from 100 to 150 people each.
There will be five performances of David each week until Aug. 14: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 p.m.; and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Tickets are on sale and can be bought at the door or by calling the Rocky Hock Playhouse box office at 252-482-4621. Prices are $18 for adults, $17 for seniors and $11 for children. They are also offering less expensive group rates, which can be arranged by calling the box office.
The Rocky Hock Playhouse is located at 230 E. 8th St. in Washington.