Fascinating Fayetteville: A season to remember
The curtain rises on new arts and culture seasons
By Kim Hasty
Photography by Tony Wooten
For Tori Gowland, the spotlight, the costumes, the compelling scripts always were a family affair. Born into a family of theater buffs, she was acting nearly by the time she could walk.
She and her parents and younger sister did shows together whenever they could, with the girls bringing along their homework for the ride from their home in Alexandria, Virginia, to wherever the best roles beckoned. Gowland continues the family tradition as a Cape Fear Regional Theatre regular this season in a newly renovated setting that includes a state-of-the-art sound system, new comfortable seating, new carpet, lighting and interior wall treatments and a newly installed heating and air-conditioning system.
Shows planned for this year include “Wizard of Oz” and “The Color Purple.” As for Gowland, she says that she and her family still try to catch each other’s performances as often as possible, even if that means traveling around the country. But really, whenever the house lights dim around here, when it’s time to strike up the band, or when the latest exhibit opens or a concert or festival is on the horizon, those of us who love and support the arts are all like family. Cast and crew, horns and strings, potter and painter, as well as patrons and supporters: we’re all part of one close-knit community.
And this month, just like at one of those big family reunions when someone brings the baked ham and someone else shows up with the potato salad and the banana pudding, our community family is about to have the chance to feast on a season’s worth of yummy heaping helpings. On the following pages, we’ll introduce you to some of those who are busy whipping up a season to remember.
Each of the artists featured is scheduled to perform at the second annual CityView Magazine’s Food, Wine & ART Signature Event Oct. 7 at
Cape Fear BotanicalGarden. Tickets are available at www.cityviewnc.com.
Bea is for Beautiful …
… And Kyng Bea is feeling beautiful these days. The soulful singer is a multi-talented R&B artist from Raeford who won a golden ticket to Hollywood in January on “American Idol.” He impressed judges Lionel Richie, Katie Perry and Luke Bryan with a medley that incorporated one of each of their songs. He’s also a former Carnival Cruise Line performer who is part of the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County’s Hay Street Live virtual jam sessions. The recorded sessions feature local artists performing on the first and third Thursdays of every month.
The Arts Council serves as a link between local artists, arts and cultural organizations and the community. Its signature event, the International Folk Festival, is set to return for its 43rd year Sept. 25-26 after the pandemic forced its cancellation last year. The free event, held downtown and in Festival Park, features performing arts, live music, international food and arts and crafts.
Gilbert Theater is opening its season with “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” After all, most of us could use a little comedy about now. “It’s such a funny show,” said artistic director Lawrence Carlisle III. “It’s based on the movie that starred Steve Martin and Michael Caine.” The rest of the season includes the Christmas musical, “The Carols,” and a musical fantasy, “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.” “It features appearances by everyone from
Satan to Mother Teresa,” Carlisle said. After all, the Gilbert has never shied away from the unusual or the provocative. “I want to do something that means something,” Carlisle said. “I want to do things that interest me, and I hope will interest other people.”
Bernadette Bogertey has traveled the country attending concerts for years. But she became a season ticket holder with Community Concerts of Fayetteville a few years ago because she wanted to branch out. “I was very much a concert-goer,” she said. “But I wanted to attend a variety of concerts instead of just one kind.” Community Concerts filled the bill so well that she became a member of the organization’s board of directors. This year’s 86th season promises another variety-filled slate, kicking off with the Isley Brothers on Sept. 12 in the Crown Coliseum. Other concerts, scheduled for The Crown Theatre, are Rick Springfield at 7 p.m. on Oct. 2; Straight No Chaser at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 4; The Jersey Boys at 7:30 p.m. on April 28, 2022; and The Oak Ridge Boys at 7:30 p.m. on May 13, 2022. Pictured are board members Bill Drewry, Richard Bradford, Bernadette Bogertey and Ann Lewis (seated) with Community Concerts president Bill Kirby Jr., far right.
Cape Fear Studios
Steve Opet admires the oil painted scenes of fellow Cape Fear Studios artist Rose Kennedy so much that he has pieces of her work hanging in his home. For his own award-winning inspiration, however, it’s all about the faces. He often sketches from vintage photographs, putting his own interpretation on images of people he once knew, as well as others he’s never met. “I collect old magazines and old books,” said Opet, who retired from the Army in 2014. “I’m drawn to the way things were. I’m just drawn to people. “Each one speaks to me first,” he said. “Each one meant something to me when I did it.” Opet and Kennedy, along with jewelry maker Linda Sue Barnes, who are pictured here, will be among the Cape Fear Studio representatives on hand for CityView Magazine’s Food, Wine & ART Signature Event.
It’s been a busy year for LeJuane “El’Ja” Bowen, an award-winning spoken word poet and author who will be among those performing at this year’s Food, Wine & ART event. Though live poetry readings were put on hold for much of the year, the Poetry-NMotion founder published a book entitled “3:10 A Poetic Journey Through Life Hacks.” He also did a virtual segment for The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. His segment, entitled “The Story of Overcoming Fear,” focuses on creative writing and is part of the center’s Teaching Artists Present series. Geared toward third through fifth graders, it mixes humor with reallife lessons. To top it off, he celebrated his 40th birthday with some 27 family members in Las Vegas in August
Sweet Tea Shakespeare
Pictured are Sweet Tea Shakespeare mainstays Taj Allen and assistant artistic director Traycie Kuhn-Zapata. Since 2012, the nonprofit organization has staged classic plays at various locations, including the Poe House and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. Its current season includes performances of “Emma,” “Henry IV, Part One,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “The Great Gatsby” and “Pericles.” The schedule also includes “Behold,” Sweet Tea’s annual Christmas cantata, the “LIT series” and a series of podcasts.
Members of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra are excited at the prospect of four full concerts this season, as well as two chamber concerts and a special concert commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
They’re excited about their new Symphony on Tap series scheduled at Dirtbag Ales, Heckler Brewing Company, District House of Taps, Gaston Brewing Company, Bright Light Brewing Company and Huske Hardware. That series has a goal of engaging the community “through music and beer.”
And Julia Atkins is excited to be back to watch it all from behind the scenes. Atkins, who is pursuing a doctorate in arts administration at Florida State University, was the symphony’s director of artistic operations and marketing from 2013 to 2018. She recently returned to serve as interim executive director.
Pictured are music director Stefan Sanders, interim executive director Julia Atkins, community engagement manager Anna Meyer and youth orchestra director Larry Wells.