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Drama association kicks off start of 59th season of The Stephen Foster Story

By SYLVIA HORLANDER
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Bardstown native Abby Evans is back home for the summer. She’s selling programs at the drama, which requires her to dress in costume. Evans is studying Electronic Media and Broadcasting at Northern Kentucky University. Photo by Sylvia Horlander.

Monday, June 12, 2017, 11:40 p.m. — Another summer in The Bourbon Capital of the World means another season of Kentucky’s Official Outdoor Musical. The 59th season of “The Stephen Foster Story” began Saturday night at The J. Dan Talbott Amphitheatre.

Before it was lights up and roll calls, locals and tourists could celebrate Stephen Foster and Kentucky culture—from the music, food, and beverages to dancing and a photo op.

Bluegrass 101, a Bardstown group, entertained while folks could learn how to waltz and polka from some of the Stephen Foster Story cast members. The laid back picnic setting was complete with checkerboard table cloths and fresh cut flowers, as show goers chowed down on classic cookout food, including BBQ, green beans, pasta salad, hotdogs, and chips. After Bluegrass 101, Johnny Warren, the drama’s managing artistic director, shared his musical talent with the pre-show crowd as he played “Old Suzannah” on the harmonica. Free harmonicas were given to the first 25 people for Harmonica Mania.

And then it was time to break a leg.

Seth Alderman is starring this season in the role of Stephen Foster. Originally from Altha, Fla., Alderman is proud and grateful to return to the drama for his second season. Alderman learned about Bardstown and “The Stephen Foster Story” at The Southeastern Theatre Conference.

SETH ALDERMAN – “STEPHEN”

One of Alderman’s favorite roles was Snoopy in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.” Before he played a beagle, Alderman was encouraged to start performing after his middle school swimming teacher heard him singing, and asked him to join the choir. While halfway through high school, Alderman knew he wanted to perform for the rest of his life. Now a professional actor at 21, Alderman says he wants to continue moving and growing in the theater world. Regardless of where Alderman performs, he says the most endearing part is meeting new people and seeing familiar faces who were entertained and loved the show.

“It’s so rewarding,” he said. “What’s really amazing is when I walk down the street, and someone stops me and says, ‘Hey! You’re Stephen Foster!’”

Alderman is also playing Gaston in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” this summer. In addition to being cast as the male lead in two shows, Alderman is happy to be back in his old Kentucky home, as Kentucky is one of his favorite states.

NICOLE BLOOM – JANE MCDOWELL

Nicole Bloom is the show’s female lead as Jane McDowell. The 23-year-old just graduated from Elon University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in acting. She actually learned about Bardstown and The Stephen Foster Story through a couple of college classmates.

Long before she put on southern belle garb in Bardstown, Bloom has been performing since the age of 7, after her parents enrolled her in community theater. As her first time in Bardstown and at Stephen Foster, she says the cast is fantastic.

“They’ve been showing me the ropes,” she said.

Bloom said the hoop skirts were the most challenging part of the drama, and called them “heavy but beautiful”. She’s also the female star in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” as Belle. Bloom said she’s most excited about meeting everyone who comes to the shows.

“I was obsessed with princesses when I was little, and I’m so excited to play one and then meet all of the children who look up to me,” she said. The biggest highlight for her so far has been the meet and greet with Down Syndrome of Louisville.

Bloom is originally from Darien, Conn. After the summer, she’ll be moving closer to home to New York City.

Special thanks to Chelsie Taylor, Marketing Assistant at The Stephen Foster Story, for arranging the exclusive interviews with the show’s stars.

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