LUMBERTON —Lumberton natives Mark Andersen and Mary Carol Warwick are childhood friends who became acclaimed artists after leaving the city.
The two will team up for a concert in their hometown Saturday at the Carolina Civic Center.
Andersen is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist who has performed with the Boston Symphony and worked as an arranger for NBC. Viewers in some television markets may recognize him as the host of “Crescendo!,” a public access show about performing arts.
Mary Carol Warwick is a playwright whose “Cinderella in Spain,” a children’s musical she penned for the Houston Grand Opera Company in Texas, will be performed with musical accompaniment from Andersen.
“It’s an extremely well-written piece of music and a wonderful way for young people to be introduced to the world of stage music,” Andersen said in an interview earlier this year. “Mary is a wonderful composer and to do this in Lumberton is kind of a special thing for us.”
The show will be boosted by a Best of Broadway gala on Thursday. Billed as a musical salute to the Great White Way, the concert will include songs from “Anything Goes” “South Pacific” “Oklahoma” “Cabaret” “Camelot” “Finian’s Rainbow” “Les Miserables” and “Phantom of the Opera.”
Ticket sales for Best of Broadway will help offset the cost of “Cinderella in Spain,” which will raise money for the Robeson County Arts Council. Nila Chamberland, a spokesperson for the nonprofit, says the latter show will feature “spectacular costumes, major vocalists and a beautiful set.”
“We have worked really hard to bring this to the community,” she said. “It has taken a tremendous, focused effort to bring this together. Mark and Mary are doing it because they want to give back to the community.”
According to Chamberland, “Cinderella in Spain” is a bilingual production with broad appeal.
“It’s a major step in integrating our multicultural population,” she said. “We’re making a special effort to see that Hispanic children have the opportunity to attend. I think they’re going to be absolutely amazed by the strength of the vocal performers.”
The cast includes Janiel Miller, Laura Morgan and Melvin Ezzell.
“Best of Broadway” begins at 7 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for students. Performances of “Cinderella in Spain” are scheduled for 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students.
The Carolina Civic Center is located at 315 N. Chestnut St. in downtown Lumberton. For information, visit carolinaciviccenter.com or call 910-738-4339.
Features editor Jaymie Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5771 or by email at [email protected]