LUMBERTON — Val Humphrey is rolling back into town this weekend to present the second installment of her V-Train variety show.
“I remember there being a subway in New York City that was called the ‘V Train’ and the subway basically went through all the parts of New York that I didn’t want to leave,” said Humphrey, who just finished her second year studying studio art and psychology at Marymount Manhattan College. “It went through Broadway, Times Square, The Village — all these beautiful places. It’s like a journey through the places where you want to go and where you want to be. Why not make that the name of the show about expressing yourself and having fun?”
The show — “The V-Train: Back on Track” — will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Carolina Civic Center. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and military, and children 12 and under get in free.
Tickets can be purchased in person or by telephone from 1 to 5 p.m. through Friday. The number to call is (910) 738-4339. The lobby box office opens for ticket sales an hour before the show.
Humphrey, who directed this year’s show and will be starring in it, hopes to build on the success of last year’s show.
“I’ve known Val only for a couple of years but I knew right away that she’s got a lot of talent and a lot of passion,” said Richard Sceiford, the director of the Civic Center. “She brings it all right on to the stage.”
The Civic Center and Humphrey have teamed up again for this project.
“This is the second year that we’ve partnered with Val on this … to round out our programming in the last year or so we’ve on a few occasions partnered with a community entity to provide performances at the theater,” Sceiford said. “In this case with Val we are sharing expenses and sharing proceeds.”
Eight cast mates will join Humphrey on the stage — some who participated last year as well as some new faces.
“This year, by using less people and less numbers, it makes the show a lot more enjoyable and a lot less chaotic,” Humphrey said. ” … That’s one of my favorite parts of the V Train too — the friendships we build. We don’t stop talking as soon as the rehearsal is over, we keep in touch.”
Impersonations of stars like Cher and Michael Jackson will abound during the 90-minute show, and musical numbers will range from an N*Sync number to Blondie and “Forget You” by Cee Lo Green.
“This year I’m taking a lot of songs that have really become popular today and I’m incorporating them into the show as well as songs from the past that people may have never heard before that I’m doing humorous twists on,” Humphrey said. “Just taking a lot of stuff and really making it funny and entertaining at the same time.”
Along with newer songs, Humphrey will continue to do the impersonation she is locally known for: Michael Jackson.
“In the ‘Beat It’ number, there are four guys that get in a huge fight and I have to break them up,” Humphrey said. “It’s really attention-grabbing. … There are parts that will make you laugh, there are parts that will scare you, there are parts that will make you really glad you came to see this show.”
Humphrey, who is blind in one eye, has used her performances as a way to overcome her impairment.
“When I first got on the stage, I was really scared because I didn’t know what kind of parts I was going to be able to get how everything was going to work out,” Humphrey said. “And throughout the years being on stage has helped me building up my confidence. … It’s been an amazing confidence booster and hearing the audience clap and cheer it makes me feel like I don’t have an impairment and I can just be myself with no limits.”
Humphrey will have some of her art on display in the lobby during the show. While Humphrey hopes to continue performing, her goal once she is done with school is to get into art therapy.
“The way I feel about it is if you do it as a professional, you are always going to have directors and people telling you what to do, but if I do it as a side thing, I’m in control,” Humphrey said. “I’m the director. … There’s that freedom there.”