Meet Playwright Joan Cushing of “Miss Nelson is Missing!” at Malaprop’s – July 16th

June 30, 2015

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Co-Founders Abby Felder and Robbie Jaeger announce an opportunity to meet the playwright/composer and select cast members of Asheville Creative Arts’ (ACA) upcoming production of MISS NELSON IS MISSING! with book, music, and lyrics by Joan Cushing, based upon the book MISS NELSON IS MISSING! And MISS NELSON IS BACK! By Harry Allard, to be directed and choreographed by Robbie Jaeger with music direction by Jonesalee’s Gina Jones and Brenda Lee Gambill.  

Malaprops Bookstore/Cafe (55 Haywood Street) will host a special author event on Thursday, July 16 from 5:30-6:00pm that is free and open to the public, and will include selections from songs from the production, Q&A led by Joan Cushing, who according to TYA Magazine, “is the most produced playwright in children’s theatre,”  and light refreshments.  

The full production of MISS NELSON IS MISSING! will run from July 16-26, 2015, at NC Stage (15 Stage Lane), WNC’s professional theater venue as part of their Catalyst Series that provides marketing and technical support.

According to Artistic Director Robbie Jaeger, “We are really excited to build this partnership with Malaprops, and to be part of a forum that celebrates writers creating work for multigenerational audiences.  Joan is a leader in the field, and it’s an honor to bring her to Asheville.”  Continues Producing Director Abby Felder: “In coming seasons, ACA will focus on nurturing new works through an Incubator Series that helps develop plays, and we will seek out world premiere productions. This event, which will allow Joan to discuss aspects of her artistic process, is the perfect springboard for these new initiatives.”

Based on the classic books, MISS NELSON IS MISSING! follows a long suffering teacher, Miss Nelson, who is played by ACA resident artist Gina Jones.  When she turns up missing the students of Room 207, played by Kelli Cayman Cozlin, Jordan Ellis, Emma Gwynneth Gutt, and Maximilian Koger, are in for a surprise when she is replaced by Viola Swamp, a scary substitute. In desperation, the students set out to find their beloved Miss Nelson with the help (and hindrance) of an assortment of colorful characters, played with zest by local favorite Strother Stingley… but will they ever get her back?

ACA’s work has been called “Dazzling!” by the Mountain Xpress and “Excellent!” by the Asheville Citizen Times, and MISS NELSON IS MISSING, which according to The New York Times is “a musical that will charm anyone who has ever sat in front of a schoolteacher’s desk – or, for that matter, behind it,” will continue the company’s signature style of creating theatre that is as enjoyable to parents as it is to their children, which was established with previous hits, A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD, CHARLOTTE’S WEB, and THE TRUE STORY OF THE 3 LITTLE PIGS!.

MISS NELSON’s creative team includes costumes by Caroline Bower, props by Chifferobe Home and Garden, sets by Gian Marco Lo Forte, sound by Jonesalee,  and lights by Eric Winkenwerder and Barbara Berry.  Production Manager is Anthony Napoletano.

Tickets, which are $23 (adults) and $12 (students), are available at the NC Stage Box Office:  Groups and camps contact for a schedule and to purchase discounted $7 tickets during special weekday performances, which include Activity/Fun Guide developed by Lucy Hazlehurst. Questions call 914/830-3000 or 828-239-0263.