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Original musical, guitar trio coming to Playhouse

Shows highlight start of August

POSTED: August 5, 2014 12:03 a.m.
For the Forsyth County News/

“Spin!,” an original musical by Georgia brothers David and Donald Hutto, will be at the Playhouse on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

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CUMMING The Cumming Playhouse will welcome two new performance groups this week.

“Spin!,” an original musical by Georgia brothers David and Donald Hutto, will grace the stage at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

That show will be followed at 8 p.m. Saturday by a concert featuring New West Guitar, a trio of contemporary guitar players from Los Angeles and New York who specialize in unique sounds.

“Spin!,” set in the fine arts department of a fictional university somewhere in the Midwest, features a play within a play.

The school’s theater department is about to begin production on the musical “Spin!,” a modern adaptation of an old fairy tale.

Zoe, a voice major, auditions for the leading role because she loved the fairy tales as a child. However, she has never performed in a play.

When she receives the leading role, Ethan becomes angry because the role was not given to another theater major with acting experience.

The story traces Zoe’s experiences with the antics of several outrageous characters and other obstacles that threaten her performance in the musical. In the end, she perseveres with the help of friends.

According to information from Linda Heard, the executive director of the Cumming Playhouse, the Hutto brothers were inspired to create “Spin!” as a result of their own encounters with eccentric characters who love musical theater as much as they do.

Tickets to “Spin!” are $15 each. Heard said she’s excited to help a new production get some exposure.

“As I understand from [the playwrights], this is the hardest thing of all, to find a venue willing to allow the performance of an original play,” Heard said.

On Saturday, the members of New West Guitar — Jeff Stein, John Storie and Perry Smith — will make their Georgia debut on the playhouse stage.

Stein said he and his fellow musicians, who all met and started playing together about a decade ago while students at the University of Southern California, are eager to perform at the playhouse.

“We’ve seen a lot of pictures of it on the Internet and it looks like a really beautiful space,” Stein said. “It’s always really exciting to come to a new part of the country and reach a new audience.”

Stein said New West Guitar features a mix of contemporary jazz combined with Americana, folk, rock and pop sounds.

“We play a mix of popular covers, like songs by The Police, Joni Mitchell, Tears for Fears — a lot of classic pop and rock and folk songs that people recognize. But we also play our own original music,” he said.

The group mixes acoustic and electric guitar and uses some unique versions of the stringed instruments. Among those are jazz and steel-stringed guitars, as well as a baritone guitar, the sound of which Stein says lays somewhere between a regular acoustic guitar and a bass.  

“At this point, we’re touring with six guitars, two per person, so TSA is not always as enthusiastic as we are about how many guitars we’re bringing on flights,” he joked.

Stein said the group has performed in venues in several states, as well as in Japan and Germany. In addition, they’ve recorded five albums.

No matter where New West Guitar travels, the group is always happy to share its work.

“Music is such a universal thing. We find that people all over regardless of the culture, really respond to the music,” he said.

“I think our music will really fit the Georgia vibe,” he said. “It’s really influenced by Americana and wide open spaces, and we love going to parts of the country that aren’t necessarily urban environments because I think our music fits well as a soundtrack to wide open spaces.”

 

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