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The Shoestring Players at the University of South Carolina Upstate has cast the roles for its upcoming production of As It Is In Heaven by Arlene Hutton. As It Is In Heaven will be performed February 21-23 at 8:00 p.m. and February 24 at 3:00 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center Theatre.

The cast includes Ashley McFadden of Columbia, SC as Peggy; Leah James of Staten Island, NY/ Rock Hill, SC as Phebe; Joelle Gwinn of Homestead, FL as Hannah; Sydnie Stroble of Hopkins, SC as Betsy; Andrea Azumendi of Chihuahua, Mexico/Spartanburg, SC as Izzy; Megan Pridemore of Union, SC as Rachel; Hayden Bishop of Inman, SC as Polly; Jordyn Chelf   of Sumter, SC as Fanny; and Julia LeJune of Spartanburg, SC as Jane.

As It Is In Heaven features a religious community that is changed when a non-believer has an ecstatic experience. The 1830’s Shaker society of Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, is set in ordered ways. Their once dramatic form of worship has by now developed into routine. The arrival of Fanny upsets the harmony; the Sisters suspect her to be a “winter Shaker,” one who suddenly converts when life gets too hard on the farm. Fanny sees angels in the meadow, and soon all the young women are receiving spiritual “gifts” of songs, drawings, ideas and giggles, completely upsetting the community. The leaders question Fanny’s intentions and honesty: Is this a resurgence of the original Shaker celebration or something manufactured by Fanny so that she can remain with the Shakers? Eldress Hannah is jealous that she, the most devout of Shakers, has not been privileged to see the visions. But only the ones who question need visual proof. Whether they were heavenly or earthly, the angels were there. “Hands to Work, Hearts to God” is their motto, and in each scene the Sisters are always at tasks. Hymns sung a cappella punctuate the scenes of the play, which ends with a joyful explosion of Shaker singing and ecstatic dance.

Lee Neibert, assistant professor of theatre at USC Upstate, will direct this production. For more details, contact Lee Neibert at lneibert@uscupstate.edu or (864) 503-5987.

Tickets to the play are $6 for general admission and $4 for faculty, staff, and students.  To reserve tickets, contact the USC Upstate Box Office at boxoffice@uscupstate.edu or (864)503-5695.

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