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‘Gold in the Hills’ opens its 85th season this weekend

COVID-19 shuttered theatre productions across the country, leaving actors upstaged and audiences in the lurch.

This void in the industry not only affected Broadway, but community theaters as well.

For the Vicksburg Theatre Guild, the pandemic meant they would have to put a halt to “Gold in the Hills,” a melodrama that is performed during the spring and summer months. However, in an effort to continue with tradition and keep the record-breaking show alive, the guild’s board decided to offer two performances this past July.

“Last year, there was concern about holding the performances because of COVID, but the desire to maintain the Guinness Book of World Records status led us to establish and follow rigid procedures to maintain safety,” Board secretary Mike Calnan said.

And now, with spring approaching and the spread of the virus slowing, “Gold in the Hills” will resume performances, with this weekend marking the beginning of the show’s 85th anniversary.

“As uncertain as the 84th season was, my feeling about Gold’s 85th anniversary is a combination of pride and relief,” Calnan said. “The steadfast motivation that ‘the show must go on’ has been an inspiration to see.”

Set in the New York Bowery in the 1890’s “Gold in the Hills” offers audience members an evening of laughter, suspense, dancing by can-can cuties and sing-alongs.

“Yes, we do sing-alongs with old-timey songs from the 1890s before Act I and between Acts II and III,” Calnan said.

The spring season of  “Gold in the Hills”  has a total of 54 actors in the cast.

“Since we rotate cast members for the performances, not everybody is onstage at the same time,” Calnan said. “Last season, we only had 17 actors in the cast for the two performances in July 2020 to allow for social distancing.”

Although COVID-19 numbers continue to decline, Calnan said, policies and procedures used to keep everyone safe will continue. Those attending the shows will have their temperature checked at the door and will be required to wear masks. Seating will be spread out and there will not be a concession stand.

Performances of “Gold in the Hills” will be held at the Parkside Playhouse Theatre, 101 Iowa Ave. Shows will begin at 7:30 p.m. March 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27, and at 2 p.m. March 21.

Tickets are $12 and $6 for ages 12 and younger, and are available at showclix.com/events/10243 or at the box office. For more information, visit vicksburgtheatreguild.com.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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