Parkway Playhouse Production – Esley

World Premiere of “Esley: The Life and Musical Legacy of Lesley Riddle”

The Parkway Playhouse presented a world premiere musical about the life and musical legacy of Burnsville music pioneer, Lesley Riddle.The new musical, titled, “Esley: The Life and Musical Legacy of Lesley Riddle” premiered this summer at the Parkway Playhouse, as a part of the theatre’s 63rd season.

The Production, which has been generating keen interest, is being funded in part by a grant from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Foundation.

“Lesley Riddle’s story is compelling and his music has left an indelible imprint on folk and country music. We are all excited about being a part of the recent enthusiasm and interest in Mr. Riddle’s life and work. His story is interesting regardless, but it is special because it is a story that involves our community and our region”, commented producing Artistic Director, Andrew Gall.

The production was written and directed by Jeff Douglas Messer, who has frequently appeared in Parkway Playhouse productions since 2004 and is an accomplished playwright. His previous play, This War is Live was produced by the Footlight Players in Charleston, SC and featured in the 2008 Piccolo Spoleto Festival as well.

The production focuses heavily on Riddle’s association with the legendary A.P. Carter and the Carter Family Singers. Audiences get a glimpse into the life of the Burnsville native and musician who very quietly, but irrevocably influenced country, bluegrass , and folk music. Carter and Riddle famously traveled through the Appalachians collecting tunes. This music that these men collected was the beginning of country music.

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