Grand Opening this weekend for new home for Magnetic Theatre in Asheville


Steve Samuels of “The Merchant of Asheville/Photo by Rodney Smith of Tempus Fugit Design

Congratulations! Press release:

The Magnetic Theatre proudly announces the grand opening of its new home, Magnetic 375 (at 375 Depot Street in the River Arts District), with the world premiere of The Merchant of Asheville (A Locally Sourced Comedy), written and directed by The Magnetic Theatre’s artistic director, Steven Samuels.

“The Merchant of Asheville is designed as a celebration,” Samuels says. “A celebration of our long-aborning new home, a celebration of the fulfillment-to-date of our dreams and schemes for this company and for my own professional theatrical aspirations, and a celebration of Asheville, which has been so good to us and to me, particularly.” This contemporary comedy—a rare if not unique play not only set in Asheville but also about it—concerns the family owners of a modest bed and breakfast in Montford, who are having a hard time adjusting to the ongoing changes in our fair city.

Samuels, the author of When Jekyll Met Hyde, among other plays, and the director of dozens of plays for The Magnetic, including the recent smash hits #OUCH! and Food and How To Eat It, goes on to say, “Last summer was the turning point. I directed and appeared in a co-production with The Montford Park Players of Molière’s Tartuffe, and it was a glorious experience. We had an enormously good time, as did the audiences, which were far larger than any we’ve played to before—on closing night, there were more than 500 in attendance! And it just made everyone so happy, all I could think was, ‘I should write a play like that someday!’ And now I have, literally. The rhyme scheme makes the proceedings as crazy as the plot—which includes a ceremony complete with a drum circle! I love blending the past and the present, treating Asheville as worthy of classic comedy, which it is.”

The Merchant of Asheville features Samuels in the title role, along with Tracey Johnston-Crum, Darren Marshall, and Samantha Stewart (all of whom appeared in Tartuffe), as well as two more Magnetic veterans, Kirby Gibson and Joe Carroll, and Magnetic newcomer Badi Mirheli. Erin Owens, Jason Williams, Scott Fisher, Jim Julien, Mary Zogzas, and Kristi DeVille comprise the design team.

Discount previews May 28 & 29. Opening night May 30. Regular performances Thursdays-Saturdays, June 4-July 4. All performances at 7:30 PM. Tickets on sale now at


The Magnetic Theatre presents The Merchant of Asheville (A Locally Sourced Comedy), written, directed, and performed by Steven Samuels, with Tracey Johnston-Crum, Darren Marshall, Samantha Stewart, Kirby Gibson, Joe Carroll, & Badi Mirheli. Set: Erin Owens. Lights: Jason Williams. Costumes: Scott Fisher. Graphics & props: Jim Julien. Sound: Mary Zogzas. Choreography: Kristi DeVille. At Magnetic 375 (375 Depot Street). Discount previews May 28 & 29. Opening night May 30. Regular performances Thursdays-Saturdays, June 4-July 4. All performances at 7:30 PM. To purchase tickets, please visit

Image courtesy of Rodney Smith/Tempus Fugit Design

6 Comments June 4, 2015 - 1:10 am

eh, I think Mr. Sandford makes a good point. This blog is not a news source. It’s a person’s blog. It’s the equivalent of me posting on my tumblr that someone should see a show. Should that opinion be critiqued? Maybe. But is it pretending to be fact? Of course not. It’s an update on what people I know are doing.
I think that we have skated a line in this town for a long time between artists wanting to be critiqued and artists wanting to be promoted. Until we find which way we want to fall from the tightrope I feel we’re just going to constantly be unhappy with the greener side of the fence.

Steven Samuels May 14, 2015 - 3:26 pm

Sorry you didn’t care for whichever of our shows you saw, Pete; there’s no accounting for taste and, happily, thousands of people care for our shows very much, which is demonstrated by such recent sellouts as #OUCH!, The Bernstein Family Christmas Spectacular, and Food and How To Eat It, not to mention the more than 100 people who contributed to make Magnetic 375 a reality. And for the record, the restaurant and bar that used to house us closed; the theater has been wonderfully successful since day one and throughout its itinerancy. We have very high hopes for our new home, indeed.

Pete repeat May 13, 2015 - 11:52 pm

Why is ashvegas just a mouthpiece for press releases for this company? They failed once, clearly Asheville isnt interested in this kind of theatre–by that I mean baaaaaaaaaad theatre.

Jason Sandford May 14, 2015 - 1:42 pm

Why? Because I love local, independent theater, and this crew of passionate people does a great job. And Chall and Lucia and Tracey and Darren and Steve are all my friends, creating and putting themeselves out there in every way possible. I support creative, passionate people. That’s why.

Adam Arthur May 29, 2015 - 1:10 pm

I am glad to see you support live original theatre, but you do tend to focus on just a few of the many theatres in the area. It would be awesome if you were to support all of the local theatre scene.

Big Al May 15, 2015 - 7:52 am

Wow, and folks have called ME a troll (well, sometimes I have been, I will try to behave better).

I don’t go to local theatre more than 3-4 times a year, but I have enjoyed the last two Bernstein Christmas shows immensely and this season’s opener, “Brief Appearances” was fun, especially the skit that skewered hipster hypocrisy, a subject which I suspect will also feature in “The Merchant of Asheville”. I look forward to seeing more of Magnetic Theatre.

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