There are a lot of stories packed into Jonesborough’s 239-year-old history, and dozens of actors will be bringing several of them into the spotlight with the return of the Town’s original play, “I Am Home.”
The show’s first run was in 2011, when the McKinney Center when the building was still dubbed the Booker T. Washington School building before it was renovated to house the Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts. Director Jules Corriere said that the play ignited a vision of what the McKinney Center could be, so the second running of the show is a testament to the birth of the arts program in Jonesborough and how far it’s come in the past seven years.
The play features five original songs and focuses on several stories from Jonesborough’s community members from the past and present. Audiences will be taken through the celebration of the Migrant March in Jonesborough by the Latino community, the story of how Jonesborough schools become integrated sooner than the rest of Washington County schools, a story of a young mother who bakes bread for Union soldiers when they set up camp in town, remembrances from the old Jackson Theatre and a train trip to California that didn’t quite hit expectations, just to name a few.
More than 70 people make up the play’s diverse cast of all ages and backgrounds filling roles of community members like Alfred Greenlee, Sidney Smallwood, Nancy Robinson and Sue Henley. Some characters may even be sitting in the audience. The stories represented in the play are all taken from oral histories and are based on true events centralized in Jonesborough.
For the play’s original run, show runners including Richard Owen Greer and Jules Corriere, who are working to put on this performance of the play, spent a year collecting stories from the community to translate them on stage. The intention of the show was to build community among the actors and other participants, and it worked – the Yarn Exchange Radio Show, which still runs today, was born from the original run of the play in 2011.
To produce the play, Corriere and Greer have teamed up with stage manager Phyllis Fabozzi, who is returning to the position from the play’s first run; David Kehs as the set designer; Kevin Glasper as choreographer; Karen Elb will design lights; and Brett McCluskey will serve as music director and accompanist.
The show will run Feb. 23, 24, 25 and March 2, 3 and 4 at the McKinney Center. Performance times are at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $14 for general admission, $12 for students and seniors, and special rates are available for groups of 15 or more. Tickets can be purchased by calling 753-1010 or online at jonesborough.com/tickets.