Actor brings Christmas shows to Smoot Theatre

Hollywood actor Frank Runyeon will be performing two Christmas shows at the Smoot Theatre next week.

Proceeds from the shows, on Thursday and Friday nights, will benefit local food pantries.

At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Runyeon will perform “Sermon on the Mount,” followed by “Hollywood vs. Faith.” At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Runyeon will present “The 3 1/2 Stories of Christmas.”

The performances are designed to get people in the “spirit of the season,” Runyeon told me on Wednesday. “It will be fun for all ages,” he said.

Runyeon has starred in television shows, including in “As The World Turns” as Steve Andropoulos opposite Meg Ryan, as Father Michael Donnelly on “Santa Barbara,” as Simon Romero on “General Hospital” and in recurring roles on “L.A. Law,” “Melrose Place” and “Falcon Crest.” In 2016, he was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for his guest-starring role as Angel on “The Young and the Restless.”

Runyeon said he is glad he can now devote more time to bringing seven Biblical texts to life on the stage and at churches across the country. These stories, such as “Sermon on the Mount,” are meant to be told, he said.

Runyeon, who lives in Los Angeles and was born in Cleveland, is a graduate of Princeton University with a degree in Religion and has a master’s from General Theological Seminary.

Tim Northrup of Vienna was the catalyst for bringing Runyeon’s one-man drama to the Smoot Theatre and promoting his visit in churches.

Northrup and Runyeon met while students at The Hill School in Pottstown, Pa. Northrup saw Runyeon perform the Gospel of Luke drama at a church in Ohio and enjoyed the show.

Runyeon will perform his “Sermon on the Mount” drama for about 45 minutes and then spend time talking to the audience, Northrup said. Marie Mallory will be the piano accompanist for the show.

Audiences at both shows will be encouraged to sing, especially at Friday’s “The 3 1/2 Stories of Christmas,” Northrup said.

Jane Kincheloe Wilfong will be playing the piano at Friday’s performance. Children from local churches will be singing angels in Friday’s show, Northrup said.

A group of local Lutheran, Roman Catholic and Episcopal churches are sponsoring Runyeon’s performances at the Smoot.

Proceeds, after expenses, will be given to the churches’ food pantries to combat hunger.

Trinity Episcopal Church in Parkersburg is one of the churches involved in the project.

Trinity Episcopal, at 430 Juliana St., provides lunch to 125-185 people on Mondays and operates a food closet, which is open from 11 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays and Thursdays, for the needy.

Trinity Episcopal Church is seeing more hungry people at this time of year, said the Rev. Paul Hicks, church rector. He hopes the Smoot performances will help replenish the churches’ supply of food.

Tickets are on sale at the Smoot Theatre by calling 304-422-7529 or at smootheatre.com, which has more information on the shows.

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If you missed the Parkersburg Art Center’s 6×6 sale of paintings on Nov. 12, remaining artwork can be purchased on the art center’s mezzanine, just up the stairs from the main gallery, through the end of the year. The price of 6×6 artwork has been dropped to $10 per painting. The small artwork makes great stocking-stuffers for Christmas, said event organizer Dorsey Northrup. The art center sold more than 900 of the 2,500 small, original artwork created by local people and others living out of state and from four foreign countries. The successful art sale is expected to surpass the goal of raising $17,500 (with the help of a sponsorship from Tri-State Roofing and Sheet Metal), Northrup said. Many high school and college students’ artwork passed through the checkout line, Northrup noted. The 6×6 exhibit and sale will continue next year — “so anyone can start painting now,” she said.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com

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