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Meet our Rocky Hock Playhouse Alumni

 

 

Meet Our Actors:


Ricky Braddy, a 2009 American Idol finalist,
is a former Rocky Hock Playhouse actor

 

As a native of North Carolina, and a lover of all things musical, I cannot express how appreciative I am of the opportunity I was given to work at the Rocky Hock Playhouse.  Beyond the elaborate sets, the brilliant original scores, and the fantastically imaginative scripts, exists the passion of two remarkable people.  Husband and wife, Jeff and Gloria Emmerich, have become two of the most influential people in my life.  As musicians, their abilities are encouraging.  As friends, their hearts are even more so.  My time at the Rocky Hock Playhouse was an incredibly formative season, and I will always be grateful for the experience gained from this wonderfully professional theatre.  Nashville, Tennessee is where I currently reside.  After a recent, unbelievable experience with a television show called American Idol, I now find myself focused more on writing, with plans to record in the spring of 2010.  Thank you Jeff and Gloria for the guidance and for the memories.

 

Ricky Braddy (2002/2003)

Belmont University

Nashville, TN

 

 

The Rocky Hock Playhouse allowed me the opportunity to combine my chosen craft with my faith in an exciting way. Through my internship, I was able to develop the skills I learned in the classroom in a professional environment. Working with Jeff, Gloria, the cast, volunteers, and patrons was a rewarding experience that I will always cherish. This theatre is special because it provides an entertaining, professional live show with an unwavering message in the saving power of Christ. I am grateful to have interned at the Rocky Hock Playhouse and I look forward to seeing the exciting things God has planned for it in the future.

 
                          Kyla Franklin (2009)
                          Belmont University
                          Nashville, TN

 

 

At the Rocky Hock Playhouse you will be surrounded by people who share a love of theatre and ministry. The Rocky Hock Playhouse gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in all areas of theatre and become a well rounded artist.  Not only did I get to perform but I was able to work behind the scenes as well. The Rocky Hock Playhouse is a great place to grow as an artist, especially if you just recently graduated college and are looking to start your theatre career.

 

Dyanna Sorvillo (2009/2010)

Lynchburg College

Lynchburg, VA

 
 

Rocky Hock Playhouse was the very first professional theatre I ever signed a contract with.  While working with Jeff and Gloria I experience multi-level responsibilities that stretched me as an actor, organizer, leader, and even in my own faith in Christ.  I enjoyed the hard work because they too [the Emmerichs] are hard workers and expected nothing but the best, as did I.  It was wonderful to be a theatre professional and be treated as one, all in the name of spreading the Lord’s name with the same professionalism you see on Broadway.  I have since worked on Broadway in the musical Oklahoma and in California for the Hyperion Theatre in Disneyland as “Aladdin” in their musical entitled the same as the character.  I have also had the blessing of being an international recording artist with my album “When I Fly Away” that topped national and international radio charts this past year.  All of these blessings are only through Christ who strengthens me.  I’ve worked with various theatre companies but will never forget Rocky Hock.  Thus far they are the only company I see as family and whose purpose surpasses that of just entertainment. They also tell the love of Christ and what He can do for you.  I am graduating Christmas 2010 with a BA in Theatre and with my teacher’s certification for early childhood through 12th grade.  But, believe me, if Rocky Hock had a full-time staff opening I’d be applying.

 

                         Jacob Lewis (2006)    

                         Oklahoma Baptist University

                         Shawnee, OK

 

 

In December of 2008 I graduated from Houghton College in New York. Two months later I found myself in Washington, NC working as an actor for the Rocky Hock Playhouse. Since then I have grown as an actor and a person, assuming many roles on and off stage (including the Box Office Manager position). I’ve shared many life changing experiences with the 2009 casts. I am blessed to have a job that I enjoy with people that I like to work with.

Nathan Schierer (2009-present)
Houghton College
New York

 
 

My name is McKenna Cox and I am a Musical Theatre/Professional Acting major at East Carolina University.  I had the opportunity to work for the Rocky Hock Playhouse this past summer (2009) when we did the musical, Joseph, the Dreamer.  I played the role of Asenath and was the principle choreographer for the production.  This was my first professional acting job, and because of Jeff and Gloria’s professionalism and optimism, the show went very smoothly!  Not only was the show a lot of fun, but the cast bonded in a way that words cannot describe.  I have made friends that I will never lose contact with and who are very important to me.  This experience not only broadened my theatre knowledge, but also my spiritual relationship with God because I felt like I was performing not for myself, but so the audience could get closer to Him!

 
                        McKenna Cox (2009)
                        East Carolina University

  Greenville, NC

 

 

My name is Erin Rotuno, and I have been working at the Rocky Hock Playhouse for five months now. I graduated with a degree in Worship Arts from Spring Arbor University. Although most of my classmates went on to work in churches, I was looking for a different kind of ministry setting in which to use my skills. Finding the Rocky Hock Playhouse was exactly what I needed.  Here, I have the unique opportunity to sharpen my performance skills while also learning the practical operations it takes to run a professional theatre. I have the joy of ministering through song and story, and that is what I love most about this position. I am truly blessed by this experience, and I couldn’t think of anything else I would rather be doing at this stage in my life!

 

 Erin Rotuno (2009/2010)

 Spring Arbor University

 Michigan

 

 

I was an intern at the Rocky Hock Playhouse in the summer of 2009. I had several roles in the cast including being a part of the chorus for the production of Joseph the Dreamer. I had never been in a production outside of Elizabeth City State University, where I currently attend; but it was truly an amazing opportunity and experience that I will never forget. It taught me independence, discipline and gave me a taste of what “show biz” is like. What made it more enjoyable than anything was the family atmosphere that the Emmerichs and the rest of the cast brought to the production.  My summer at the Rocky Hock Playhouse is one memory that will stick with me forever.


 Princess Harrell (2009)
 Elizabeth City State University

 Elizabeth City, NC

 

 

I grew up in a Christian family on a small dairy farm in western New York.  After high school I attended Houghton College, a small Christian liberal arts school, where I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Music Education.  Although my studies were in education, I found God calling me to pursue my interests in musical theatre.  After sending an inquiry email to the Rocky Hock Playhouse, I was impressed by how quickly owner and director Jeff Emmerich responded to my interest in the theatre.  Within a month I moved to North Carolina and proceeded to stay and work with the theatre for the next five productions (a full year).  I was thoroughly impressed by the Emmerich’s commitment to their mission of spreading the word of God in all their productions, as well as in the care they show their employees and interns. Through Gloria Emmerich’s original musicals, bible stories really do come to life for the audiences, and the actors learn new insights into the lives of the bible characters they portray.

 

                            Celeste Allen (2008/2009)

                            Houghton College

                            New York

 

 

I have a BFA in Musical Theatre from Mars Hill College, in Mars Hill, NC. So far in my career I have been blessed to work for a lot of outstanding theatre companies and troupes. Theatres I have worked for thus far include The Miracle Theatre in Pigeon Forge, TN and Sight and Sound Ministries in Lancaster, PA, two of the largest Christian full time musical theatres in the country. The two contracts for which I performed at the Rocky Hock Playhouse are among the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences along my career path. At Rocky Hock I was able to work hard, sharpen my skills, and build lifelong friendships. Most of all, I got to do what I love to do the most…AND spread a message of hope and love while doing it.  I thank Jeff and Gloria Emmerich for allowing me to share in their ministry and look forward to working with them artistically again!

 

 Aaron Daniel Annas (2003/2006)

 Mars Hill College

 North Carolina

 

 

My name is Noreen Hughes, and I interned at Rocky Hock for the summer of 2006 in Jacob, Prince of God.  Since then, I have received my Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Theatre (summa cum laude) from the Catholic University of America, and have been working steadily in both Christian and secular professional theatre since graduating.  As I am currently an Equity Membership Candidate, my favorite work includes my current role as an actor-educator with Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Programs (touring DC/MD/VA), as well as “Swingtime Canteen” (Lily McBain), “Will Rogers Follies” starring John Davidson, the “Leading Ladies” (Audrey) at Surflight Theatre in NJ, and a year of service touring with the Lampost Theatre Company in IA. My time at Rocky Hock is precious to me – not only did I grow in my skills as a performer, I grew in my faith. My story of acquiring the internship at Rocky Hock is rather amazing, when at the eleventh hour, both Jeff Emmerich and I were at the foot of the cross on opposite ends of the country, praying our requests be met.  I think the greatest testimony of Rocky Hock is my continuing friendship with the Emmerichs as well as the other cast members, even four years later.

 

 Noreen Hughes (2006)

 Catholic University of America

 Washington D.C.

 

 

My name is Krysta Robinson.  I am 22 years old and was an intern with the Rocky Hock Playhouse from June to December 2007.  During my internship I performed in three shows:  Upon this Rock, Carolina Jamboree, and O Holy Night.  I also completed two online classes while there.  The most wonderful thing about working at the Rocky Hock Playhouse was that I was treated as a professional and not as a student.  It was a great environment in which to grow as an actress with a great ensemble cast.  You will find that you are pushed to your limit.  Jeff and Gloria Emmerich expect all of their actors to give 100% and will not accept mediocrity.  Because of their determination for excellence all of their shows are top notch.  I as proud to be a part of them.  My time in North Carolina was the longest I had ever been away from home and I was very worried about leaving friends and family behind.  But, I soon discovered that my worries were for naught because Jeff and Gloria and the ensemble cast at the Rocky Hock Playhouse immediately welcomed me into their families and I was overjoyed to be part of such a fun group.  My first Thanksgiving away from home was spent at Rocky Hock and I was invited to the Emmerich’s where we had a wonderful spread and spent the evening watching movies. The Rocky Hock Playhouse is a professional Christian Theatre that helped me graduate from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. God led me to Rocky Hock and I am grateful He did.

 

                          Krysta Robinson (2007)

                          University of Florida

                          Deltona, FL

 

 

My name is Breanna Weitzel and I had the privilege of working as an Intern/Actor at the Rocky Hock Playhouse. I graduated from Bethel University (St. Paul, MN) with a degree in Musical Theatre in May 2009, and had already begun the search for professional theatre experience. In the summer, I worked for a touring children’s theatre company in Minnesota, acting with, and directing, up to 75 children a week. As I continued the searching and auditioning process God led me to Rocky Hock where I joined the cast for the 2009 Christmas show. What I loved about working at Rocky Hock was the immediate welcome I received into the cast “family.” While getting to see how a professional theatre is run, I also got to experience the aspect of ministry, and having a greater purpose for why we do what we do.  It was great to see how the dedicated team of cast, crew, and directors work together so closely to do everything that it takes to run a theatre.  I enjoyed being a part of that team.  I also really benefitted from having the professional acting experience.  Right away we were thrown into a quick and intense rehearsal period which moved right into a long run of the show.  It was an excellent challenge to put a show together so quickly and to learn to work on a professional time-table!  Overall, I had a great experience at Rocky Hock and I thought it was a great opportunity to be introduced into the world of professional theatre.

 

                         Breanna Weitzel (2009)

                         Bethel University

                         St. Paul, MN


 

I am a junior at Cedarville University in southern Ohio studying Music and Theatre Performance.  Most of my theatre experience has been in the educational and community realm, and I have been involved in more than 25 shows in the last 8 years—more than half of those since I left high school.  This past summer, I had the privilege of working at the Rocky Hock Playhouse as Benjamin in their production of Joseph, the Dreamer.  Besides getting paid to do what I love, I met an amazing group of people who were intensely passionate about art on the stage and how God could use that passion.  I met some people who I will never forget.  But the actual work at the theatre was also wonderful! The theatre seats almost 1000 people! That is an amazing number for any theatre—and the fact that God has given ETPC this facility is such a blessing.  I think my favorite time each day at the theatre was greeting the audience afterward.  It was great to see how my work as a vocalist and dancer affected our audience emotionally.  This was a huge blessing in my life.  I was also so blessed to work with Jeff, Gloria, and the whole staff at the Rocky Hock Playhouse. Their work is well worth the trek out to see them!

                           Ben Scheerschmidt (2009)
                           Cedarville University
                           Ohio

 

My name is Andrew Drake and I am a junior at Western Carolina University.   I had the privilege of working at the Rocky Hock Playhouse the past two summers (2009/2010).  I’ve matured as both an actor and a person while working for, and alongside, my good friends Jeff and Gloria Emmerich. The Rocky Hock Playhouse is also an amazing theatre in which a person can fully learn "the tools of the trade" for running their own theatre.   I was taught the down to earth necessities needed in the world of musical theatre. It is amazing to find a Christian theatre with such professionalism.  It was an absolute honor and a privilege to work for the Emmerichs and their Playhouse in Washington, NC.

 

Andrew Drake (2009/2010)

Western Carolina University

North Carolina

 

 

Jeff and Gloria are a pair of incredibly passionate people.  It was awe inspiring to watch and be a part of their work. They do everything from hang lights, to writing, to performing.  It was a gift to be part of their team this summer and see how many people they touch.

 

Jessica Thorne (2010)

Catholic University of America

Washington D.C.


Working at the Rocky Hock Playhouse was surely a blessing for me! Jeff and Gloria are truly amazing people and run the theatre with a high level of professionalism. While working at the RHP I learned so much about the business of performing and gained so many great skills that I will carry with me throughout my professional career. What truly attracted me to the RHP in the first place was the fact that I got to do what I loved while ministering the Word of God to so many people. I feel that through my internship I grew not only as a performer but in my faith also. I will never forget my experience at the RHP or the wonderful people I met while working there. The memories will stay with me throughout my life.

Darrell Purcell (2010)

East Carolina University

Greenville, NC

 

The Rocky Hock Playhouse provides a comfortable work environment. While at the theatre I worked with a great cast and with directors who were fun and enthusiastic about what they do. There is never a dull day when you are working with friends. The environment and people provide a great foundation for teamwork.

Caitie Moss (2010)
Lees-McRae College
Banner Elk, NC

 

 

Working for the Rocky Hock Playhouse has been my very great pleasure. I spent several years in secular theatre and I can’t express how wonderful it has been working for, and with, people who love the Lord.  It has given me a new appreciation for my craft to be able to give my gifts back to God. At the Rocky Hock Playhouse you are so involved in every aspect of the ministry that you cannot help but feel like a vital part of God’s work.  It simultaneously humbles you and gives you a great sense of pride being part of the living, working body of Christ.

Mariah Schierer (2010-present)
Dean College
Massachusetts

 

 

I had the opportunity to intern with the Emmerichs and staff at the Rocky Hock Playhouse for a wonderful six weeks the summer of 2011.  From the first day of rehearsals to the last performance, it was apparent that these men and women commit passionately to their craft.  And as an intern, I found that while acclimating to any new theatre can be daunting and trying at first, the Rocky Hock Players make you feel right at home and treat you like family.  This sense of belonging is not just professional, but it reflects Christ’s love through and through.  I am currently studying Theatre and English Literature at King College, but the truth is that I have very little idea what God will call me to do occupationally in the future.  I have mused over the possibilities of teaching, acting, continuing my schooling, and more.  But as much as I love suspense, some decisions must be made soon in my life.  In that vein, having the encouragement of the Emmerichs was life-giving to me; to be a college actor and receive unconditionally the respect of such professionals as they—has been a dream come true for me.  And who knows?  Perhaps I will pursue the life of a theatre artist as they did. Or perhaps that is not what God has in store for me.  Regardless, I will always harbor a loyalty for their theatre.  For the inspiration The Rocky Hock Playhouse has given me, I say thank you and pray God’s blessing on it and its mission!

Ian Charles
(2011)
King College
Tennessee


 

I had the privilege of working with Jeff and Gloria Emmerich during the summer of 2011. I have been involved in theatre since I was seven years old and none of my experiences compare to the one I had at the Rocky Hock Playhouse. I absolutely adore both theatre and ministry separately, but getting to put them both together and seeing the impact we had on audiences was like nothing I had ever felt or experienced! Jeff and Gloria have taught me so much and they have inspired me. I am currently attending a Christian university in South Carolina and am pursuing a degree in musical theatre. Because of the impact that the Emmerichs have had on me I know now that I will be using my talents for ministry when I graduate. Thank you Jeff and Gloria for blessing my life in such a big way!

Becky Conner
(2011)
Anderson University
South Carolina