Powell Playhouse roars back with ‘Grow Up Grandad’

Sandra ClarkArts 865, Feature, Powell

Four performances of “Grow Up Grandad” are set for this week at the Powell Playhouse. Performances are 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 28-30, and 2 p.m. Saturday, June 30. Tickets are $10 and available online.

The play by Gordon Steel is billed as a comedy/drama. Grandad, a crotchety hermit unaccustomed to kids, is played by Dave Arter. The grow-up Poppy is played by Marlee Simmons.

Others are Sophie Susano, young Poppy; Elizabeth McCready, adult Poppy’s daughter; Lynnette Brown, aunt Margaret; and Joyce Brumbaugh, social worker Genevieve.

The promo says: Grow Up Grandad is an inter-generational story that deals with love and loss, hope and sadness, as the relationship between Poppy and her granddad is thrown together and eventually torn apart. The play is dramatic, painful, provocative and often hugely funny.

It is set in Northeast England in present time, but the action covers a period of 20 years. Audiences see Poppy as a pre-teen in Act 1 and then as an adult with her own daughter in Act 2.

Marlee Simmons

Simmons, 26, is a Knoxville native with previous acting experience at West High School and in the 2009 Tennessee Theatre Association’s one-act play festival, where she won one of 10 all-star cast awards, according to her online biography.

“Grow Up Grandad” publisher Josef Weinberger writes: “Poppy is 11 and has attitude. When she finds herself living with her cantankerous grandfather, a man she neither likes nor loves, all hell breaks loose. Something of a hermit, a man living in the past who sees very little good in anything or anybody, Ken is suddenly and unexpectedly confronted by a tornado of energy who can’t sit still and asks too many questions. He is a man with no television, no computer and no patience, and while their relationship is volatile it’s also very funny and strewn with moments of real tenderness.”


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