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Winter Park / Theatre: Fall play adds dimension to Grand Theatre stage

by Cyndi McCoy
cmccoy@grandcountynews.com
Winter Park, Colorado

A man wanders around an abandoned town while he struggles to find out who and where he is.

A middle-aged executive finds himself in the past when he visits his boyhood hometown.

Stories from the famed American anthology “The Twilight Zone,” created by Rod Serling, have become one of television’s most revered series and is the inspiration behind the Grand Theatre Company’s new fall play, “A Twilight Evening: Stories from The Twilight Zone.”



Once again, company owners Kimberlee and Tanny Nanda and their cast of guest talents raise the curtain to a special, dark feature for the fall season. People have been requesting the Nandas do a similar play since last year’s successful feature “The Woman in Black,” and this year they “bring something a little less scary and a bit more absurd” to the stage.

“I love ‘The Twilight Zone’,” said Kimberlee, who is directing the show. “It was writing and ideas far before its time ” not so much jump-out-and-scare-you, but psychological. The questions that Rod Serling asked and explored through extraordinary situations will have audiences inspired and awed for generations to come. His thoughts, characters, and, of course, the final twist, makes his stories perfect for the stage.”



Along with directing rehearsals for the upcoming fall play at Middle Park High School (“How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” opening Nov. 13), the Nandas are pulling together artists for some of their favorite scenes from the original Twilight Zone runs from the 1950s and 1960s. Performances will showcase two episodes from the series and a third that never aired. Titles are “Nothing in the Dark,” “Characters in Search of an Exit” and “Dr. Stringfellow’s Rejuvenator,” with the original underscoring and dialogue by Rod Serling (and recorded narration by Serling).

The success of the original episodes led to the creation of two revival series, a feature film, radio series, comic book, magazine and various other projects that would entertain generations for nearly half of the last decade.

“The Twilight Zone became an instant part of entertainment history,” Tanny said.

“Many budding stars got their start or simply flexed their acting chops on ‘The Zone’.”

The Grand Theatre show features local high school students as part of the company’s open stage program and the Nandas thought the play would be an excellent introduction into a different type of theatre for them. Cast members include Hannah Heckerson, Shelby Mitchelle, Eldon Oswald, Tyler Orr, and a special guest performance by Randel Davis.

“A Twilight Evening: Stories from The Twilight Zone” is rated PG and like the TV show, the play will metaphorically uncover distinct science-fiction/fantasy/oft-times horror stories which explore humanity’s hopes, despairs, prides and prejudices. As with the true nature of the original Twilight Zone series, stories will conclude with a macabre or unexpected twist.

Proceeds from the fall show (which runs for a limited time at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24, 25 and 30 and Nov. 1; and for a 2 p.m. matinee Oct. 26) will go toward the Grand Theatre Company’s winter production of “Ha Ha Holidays!” opening the weekend after

Thanksgiving.


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