CHA Blog

"Before you know it, the Summer will be gone..."

"Before you know it, the Summer will be gone..." -Marion Waggoner*, Unto These Hills Company Orientation - May 13th, 2018.

It was strange to think of how quickly the next several months would flash by for the company members of Unto These Hills Outdoor Drama. The 2018 cast, crew and creative team gathered together as a whole for the first time recently at Mountainside Theatre on a warm, beautiful May evening. This year would mark my 6th season with the production so I knew that Marion's words about our Summer were all too true. Each Summer I've spent in Cherokee, NC seemed to slip through my fingers - each Summer seemed to drift past me even faster than the last. Like myself, Marion Waggoner began his work as Director of Unto These Hills in the Summer of 2013. Whether you meet Marion in passing or you work with him for 6 seasons, you find that the memory of him stays with you always. As Marion says, "the devil is in the details", this applies to every moment within every scene of the show. It is Marion's vision, concept and the power behind his carefully selected words that unite the entire team and helps us to bring forth our best work for our audiences.

Each season the cast and crew of Unto These Hills Outdoor Drama only have 3 weeks to run and rehearse the show. A short rehearsal period calls for full and intensive rehearsals that begin early in the day and stretch on into the night. New company members must learn to adapt to their duties very quickly, but with the fast-paced nature of our work days and the long hours spent at theatre and rehearsal halls, new friendships begin to form in the blink of an eye. At the first company meeting, I took a moment to look at all of the new and familiar faces. Many company members are joining us for the first time, while others like our beloved Miss Lizzie have been here for decades, (46 years in Miss Lizzie's case!) I pictured all of the laughs, bonds, and memories that we would gather over the course of our Summer in Cherokee. At the conclusion of our first week of rehearsals, we were tired but pleased with the progress of the show and we are looking forward to adding more elements such as costumes and props. While working on the show is thrilling and a lot of fun, we are united in our cause to share the story of the Cherokee People with audiences. We must remember to play each scene directly from the heart as Marion has taught me before, many times over.

My name is Kara* and I play Nukwadeye in the 2018 production of Unto These Hills Outdoor Drama. Please join me each week as I bring you stories from behind the scenes including features on some of our awesome cast and crew! Unto These Hills has been in production since 1950 and I feel so honored to have been asked to offer our readers this first exclusive glimpse into what it takes to share the story of the Cherokee with audiences each Summer. Visit our company blog again next weekend for new content!

- Kara

Unto These Hills Outdoor Drama runs June 2 - August 18, 2018 nightly except Sundays. General, Reserved, VIP and Package tickets are available at or 828-497-2111. Package tickets offer entrance to multiple cultural attractions located in beautiful and historic Cherokee, NC.



*Marion Waggoner is a renowned theatrical director and writer and has worked with many other respected outdoor dramas. Other directing credits include The Legend of Daniel Boone (Blue Licks, KY), Tecumseh (Chillicothe, OH), Beyond the Sundown (Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation; Livingston, TX), Blue Jacket (Xenia, OH) and Hatfields and McCoys (Beckley, WV).

*Kara Morrison is a stage/screen actress, artist and writer. Kara also serves as Cherokee Historical Association's Group Sales & Box Office Manager, the Executive Assistant and is a part of CHA's social media team. Kara invites you to join us again next weekend for her latest blog post!


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