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Jackson Sorrells (from left), Ted Rose and Maddie Wright star in Comtemporary Youth Arts Company’s production of “Mary.” The annual holiday show opens Friday night at the Elk City Playhouse in Charleston.

Every holiday season, Contemporary Youth Arts Company does a new “Mary” and every year, it’s a new “Mary.”

“This one is small,” playwright and director Dan Kehde explained.

The youth arts company’s annual rock opera returns to the Elk City Playhouse Friday night for a two-weekend run and the director says it’s not like what the company did last year.

He says that most years, but he always means it. The show is almost routinely reworked or restaged for one reason or another.

This year, Kehde made the show more intimate.

“When we were at the Capitol Plaza, it was a really big production,” he said. “There was a big orchestra, a big chorus and a big sound. It was an overwhelming piece in a lot of different ways. We built out into the audience.”

This year, the orchestra has been pared down to just two guitarists, Andrew Winter and Christopher Carter.

“The music has been distilled into something almost spiritual,” Kehde said.

The whole show, the director said, is just very little, humble, and personal — small cast, small orchestra, but still a hopeful message.

Maddie Wright and Jackson Sorrels star as Mary and Joseph.

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“They have chemistry,” Kehde said. “It’s been nice watching them develop on stage.”

The show also features local singer/actor Ted Rose, as the Archangel Gabriel. Nothing about Rose is little. At 6 feet, 7 inches, he’s a towering figure.

“You want to think, ‘Don’t mess with Ted,’” Kehde laughed, but then added, “But he’s so compassionate and gentle.”

“Mary” opens Friday night, runs through the weekend, and then closes next weekend.


Contemporary Youth Arts Company presents “Mary”

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. 7 p.m. Dec. 2, 3 and 4. 2 p.m. Dec. 5.

WHERE: Elk City Playhouse, 218 Washington St. W

TICKETS: Adults $15. Seniors and students $8.

Bill Lynch covers entertainment.

He can be reached at

304-348-5195 or

Follow @lostHwys on Twitter

and @billiscap on Instagram.

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