Horn in the West Cast Interviews


Since it began in 1952 Horn in the West has brought people together from all over the United States and from all walks of life. Their personal stories make up a large part of Horn in the West's history.

This section of the exhibit is dedicated to preserving those stories through interviews with current and past cast members. Each interview is broken up by cast member and they were each asked the following questions:

1. When were you in the show?

2. What role(s) did/do you play?

3. What was/is your fondest memory from your time in Horn in the West?

4. How has the show changed since you were worked there or how has it been changing if you are currently employed there?

5. In your opinion how is Horn in the West useful in preserving the history of the Colonial/Revolutionary War Period?

6. What is one memorable story from your time in Horn in the West?

The Interviews go in chronological order from when the person was in the cast. 

Ward Haarbauer

In 1962 I was a Sound Technician, in 1963,4, & 6 I was Stage Manager (1965 I was Stage Manager at the end of the season fill-in after my wife (Martha) and I returned from a honeymoon trip), and in 1967-7 I was the Director

I think the most important company element was the sense of “family” that developed in every company while I was there.

I haven’t seen the show or read a script for 50 years, so I think I can’t address the subject of change since I left.

Horn in the West has always seemed to me that the center of the issue of preservation of thehistory of the period is the issue of historical accuracy vs. the need to entertain on a very large stage a group of people who, in my time certainly, came to see a “show” rather than to learn about the time in which it is set. Accurate costumes aren’t as much fun as a theatricalized image, and it’s easier for the playwright and the company to draw entertaining stereotypes than interesting characters that are true to history. When I was there, we tried to move toward greater accuracy, especially with the Native Americans, but limited budgets prevent widespread costume redesigns and you can’t split styles in the same show. Daniel Boone himself illustrates the problem. He was not at the Battle of King’s Mountain nor was he instrumental in the story being told, yet he was the central symbol in most of the show’s advertising. But that was necessary because he was the only widely known character in the script and was played extremely well by a charismatic and likeable actor. That skewed the play toward being about Boone rather than about the historical people of the region. To serve the period, however, requires a commitment from all the artists involved, including the playwright. I think that people today are more sensitive to history than they were 50 years ago, which I would think would allow the outdoor historical dramas to function with more authenticity—and hopefully more budget.

In my first year as Director, 1967, the telephone installer was there, ah, installing the phone for the summer. As he was leaving he asked me about getting some free tickets to the show. I asked about getting a free phone for the season. He stepped back and said, “I can’t do that. This is my job!” I explained that this show was our job and we couldn’t give it away either. That led me to understand that he, and no doubt others, didn’t recognize that we were professionals in our field and not a group of folks who had, figuratively speaking, found a barn and were doing a play in it. I’ve never forgotten that, and I’ve never turned down a chance to make clear that Horn people are professionals at what they do.

Carrie Curtis

I was in the show from 1967 to 1976 and I played all the female parts in the show except Mary.

The show was able to pay ALL cast members a living wage that was competitive with other summer theatre jobs.

My fondest memory was the opportunity to make plays at Powderhorn Theater with young professionals who were at the beginning of their careers.

Julia Kneeland

I was in the show in 1971 , ’77 and ’78. I never actually auditioned for Horn.The first summer , the director Ward Haarbauer who had been my theater professor and mentor and with whom I started the student theater at UAB,decided at the last minute to put me in the show. The show had already been cast at this point , but I had just graduated and Ward decided this would be a great learning lab for me ,as indeed it proved to be.Charlie Simmons very kindly took me under his wing on the prop crew and taught me a lot about props and the wild side. I was incorporated into the crowd scenes and sang and danced my way through the summer. In ’77 , my dear departed Charlie Helms dragged me back up there from Atlanta , after it was cast. I am so grateful to him for that reunion. In ’77 and ’78 , I was a member of the chorus and the pre-show singers and assisted the costumer in ’77 as well. The real showcase for me was The Powderhorn Theater. That’s where I honed my acting skills in everything from the famous “N. Michael Swafford Presents “ Broadway revues to Martha in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ?” . My fondest memories all center around the dear friends i made there. So many of us from 1971 are still close friends to this day…the miles and the years have not broken up our “families”. And ’77 and ’78 brought more loved ones into that family . as well as a summer spent living in the Tatum Cabin , ( yes , I know isn’t allowed these days , but Carrie Curtis and I both got to call it home at different times).
In regards changes, of course we remember the 70’s as the finest decade talent wise…and there was soooo much talent there…and there will continue to be as long as the show lasts. Several discreet script and set changes…amazed to see some vintage props and costumes still in service.
It is tragic how little history is absorbed by today’s youth. Horn in the West makes learning more exciting and visceral.

Wendy Fletcher

I was in the show from 1970 to 1976 as a Dancer then choreographer

My fondest memory was definitely the friends I made and all of the tricks we played and goofing off on stage, like each female dancer having a line of a different dirty limerick each night to say to Jack and Mary to try to crack them up as they walked “down the aisle” during the wedding.  Replacing the white war paint the male dancers had to put dramatically on their faces with marshmallow cream.  Writing dirty words on our teeth and then smiling at someone.  Putting an obscene picture on the Declaration of Independence.  But the best thing was the friends I made.

The show has changes a lot since I was in it. The cast was bigger, it was easy to live in Boone on very little money, and the cast was a lot more mature.

When people study the Revolutionary War in school they probably don’t think about ordinary people, like the Stuarts, and the impact the war had, the decisions and sacrifices they had to make.  The Horn in the West brings all that to life better than any school course.

Eric Jennings

First time in the early to mid-70s, From '72-75, and then from 77-80. I started out as chorus/villager, became Music Director and Dragin' Canoe and Understudy for Glen Causey (never had a costume for this one, as Glen never missed a show).

Fondest memory: that's a tough one. The cast, especially Glenn and Charley. Powder Horn - 1776 and just sitting in the theater after each year's final show, trying to seal all good things in my memory for years to come.

There has been a lot of change on main stage. I was really impressed with Wes Martin's Daniel Boone. He brought the depth of character needed for the years and times in which he played. It is comforting, however, to hear The Horn of Freedom Singers, hear bits and pieces of Peter Macbeth's music, and see Jenny Cole barreling across the stage.

Though the story is made up of fabricated characters, the events portrayed are made to breathe life to the audience. The cabins and historical talks are of great value to both tourists, and local school groups.

My most memorable story was when Jim and Roxanne Maddox's son Leslie, who was around 14 at the time, shook hands with me on stage and I pulled back a handful of Vaseline, which I quickly wiped off on the back of his dad's coat. After the show I told Leslie that I was going to retaliate, and not only would it be 100 times worse, I would even tell him when I was going to do it. We had three weeks left in the season. Every night, I was seated on the catwalk, just to tell the young man how bad my revenge was going to be, however, it would not be that night. When the final show came, again I was still waiting, this time now words, just a cryptic smile. The show goes on and I do nothing. Leslie, however, was all over the stage and backstage. He ran every time I looked his way. I really think he didn't do any of his assigned duties. After the show, my young man came up to me red-faced, out of breath, and smiling. "You didn't get me!" I kindly pointed out that he was on the run over nothing. "I believe I got you" "Oh", he said. In another more serious note. Powder Horn Theatre. With 1771, 1776, other musicals, serious drama, original plays by Thomas Fuller, and others, Horn suffered a great loss when Powder Horn had to close.


John D Cook Jr

I was involved since 1976, when Billy Ralph Winkler talked me and his brother into being ushers, box office, and concessions.  BR's brother Danny and I are best friends from a long time back.  BR was general manager.  After working for SAHA I have served on the Board, been Executive Vice President (Chair) and on the executive committee.  I have been on site for 44 seasons volunteering, working the gate, etc.  Sadly, I was a permanent fixture, but I was in the cast for two occasions which I fondly remember.

the show really hasn't changed that much.  It all depends on the Artistic Directors vision for the script which hasn't changed that much.  Still the same great story.  The hymn How Firm a Foundation has always been the signature song for show (overture and ending). I have seen many great directors bring life and their vision to the script and staff.  All gifted people.

My favorite memory, a Boone constant every summer, friends made, and seriously it has always been a healing place... the show, the grounds, the people. But one thing sticks in my mind.  Certain nights Danny and I would be on theatre patrol during intermission.  We used to fill the theatre every night and we had to keep children and adults from going on stage during intermission.  For fun both Danny and I would look up in the sky and watch how audience members would start looking too.  One audience member said, "I see it" and he had no idea what we were doing.

Horn in the West and the Museum are doing an outstanding job teaching and passing history on to guest.  Just as their goal was when it started in 1952.  Volunteering at the gate has given me the opportunity to nightly hear comments and praises.  Folks are so moved by it.

 Darrell King

I was in the show 1988 to 2013 and 2018 to its current season and I’ve played Rev. Sims, Toby Miller, John Sevier and Understudied for Capt. Mackenzie and others.

My favorite memories involve the people who have come through: developing lasting friendships with people like Glenn Causey, Jenny Cole, Wes Martin, Scott Loveless, Mark and Beth Woodard, and so very many more.  I simply can't pick one memory over another … my work at Horn has, quite simply been the best, most fulfilling time in my life.

During my time here, the physical appearance of the stage has changed several times; the script has been altered in some way nearly every year; and our onstage and offstage protocols have changed several times.  Powderhorn Theatre was torn down. We've seen years that ran the gamut between hearty and lean; but throughout it all, Horn has persevered, to continue bringing this story to life for our audiences.

Although it isn't entirely accurate, in a historian’s sense, Horn in the West serves as an “entry point” for members of the general public (who often have little to no grounding in history, life during the Colonial period, or the causes of and events leading to the Revolution) to understand everything that was happening to lead the mountain settlers to leave their previous lives to set up new lives in a much harsher land, how they created a new life in that land, and how they defended that new life when it was threatened. It is, I believe, a story that needs to be told, again and again, so that we never forget what we built here and what it took to bring it to fruition.

In 2013, I “retired” from Horn after 20 years as Preacher Sims (Yeah … that lasted.). On that last night, I experienced such an incredible outpouring of support and love from cast members and the community.  Old friends came back to see me, some from just up the road and some from very far away.  Emotionally, the night was overwhelming, and I felt eternally grateful for having been given the opportunity to experience this incredible show.

Then, a few years later, when I was asked to return, my first reaction was a resounding “yes,” (especially since Jenny Cole was coming back as Widow Howard, too) but as the date of my return grew nearer, I worried whether the same magic would be there.  Needless to say, it was, and is.  For me, Horn in the West is more than just a job, more than just a show; it is a life, a passion, and a calling.  Horn in the West is home.

Dave Hobbs

I was in the show the summer of 2005 and I played Dr. Geoffrey Stuart

I really enjoyed the cast variety show at The Powderhorn. I performed a song and dance to "Wonderful" from "Wicked" choreographed by Mary Anne Veach. I'm not known for my dancing abilities, but she really helped me make a memorable performance. I've got a recording of it somewhere.

The only change I have seen is much of the Native American parts of the show have been diluted due to political correctness.

Horn in the West keeps the history alive, not just in some book. People remember things they see more vividly.

My fondest memory is the summer I brought several of my Superhero T shirts. I decided to wear one each Saturday and called it Superhero Saturday. To this day, I still observe Superhero Saturday.

The really memorable thing is what happened after that Summer. The friends I made that I still keep in touch with. A couple even live close enough that I see them occasionally.


Benedetto Robinson

I was in the show for four seasons- the summers of 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. I returned in 2018 as an external consultant on fight choreography and dialect work. My first year, I danced in the ensemble. My second year, I played Jack Stuart. My Third year, I played Captain Mackenzie, and my fourth, I reprised Mackenzie and served as Co-fight Choreographer.

There are too many fond memories to count. Horn in the West served as a very important milestone in my growth as a person. If I had to pick Three: The first would be this once sequence in 2016 when the rain began to fall just as the Battle of King’s Mountain began. The evening had started off clear, but around the start of Act II, the clouds began to gather over the stars as the sun set, and the rain fell hard and fast for about three minutes- about the length of time that the battle took to perform, the guns’ smoke congealing in the air into a sort of heady fog- and cleared up as soon as the fighting was done. It was spectacular. The second would have been off-stage. The company takes one “dark day”, or day off per week, and one day, also in 2016, we all went up the road a spell into the woods where there’s this great waterfall and swimming hole. Some twenty of us just relaxed on the rocks, cracking jokes, and building a community of friendship and support for one another. The third, and perhaps the most important in my own personal, professional development as an Actor and Fight Choreographer, would have been the classes in staged combat offered through employment with the show. My teacher, David Reed, taught me six of the eight weapons styles our organization- the Society of American Fight Directors- certifies actors and fighters in, and it’s through the efforts of and times spent training with that man that I can claim with confidence to be professional Fight Choreographer in my own career today.

Since my departure, the show has changed directors twice. I know in 2018 an ’19, the script changed iterations- When I was a part of it, it was interspersed with scenes of narration taking place between Daniel Boone and Jackson Stuart. These last couple years saw the removal of these segments, and I would be very excited to see the changes the new director this year- Shauna Goodwin- makes, and the directions she takes the story. I had the pleasure to work with her during my years at Horn; she was the dance choreographer for me throughout my time there. I remember my first year some big changes were made both to the stage deck and to the company’s housing situation- considerable improvements on both accounts.

As a theatre and entertainment professional, I believe storytelling is an invaluable way to preserve any history. The Horn in the West and the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum have a rich history and tradition in their own rights, and the joy and weight of the years that the organization has been running lends power to the story of Horn each new year as company members return and pass on the traditions of the work to the newcomers. It serves as a means by which to teach young actors some of the history of the revolutionary period, even as it gives them legs to stand on as they begin their work in the professional world.

And the story of the play itself- centered around the events of the Battle of Alamance and it’s fallout, the flight into the high country by the locals, and the subsequent life they made in the mountains before the Battle of King’s Mountain is a very compelling snapshot of American life at that juncture in our history. Pairing this story with the work done up at the Hickory Ridge museum in the teaching of actual lifestyle practices from the period leaves me with the impression of a wonderful evening spent learning AND being entertained.

While the characters in the play are fictitious (Save Daniel Boone, Dragging Canoe, Nancy Ward and Richard Henderson), they tell a strong and compelling story of perseverance and human growth and learning, and tell it on the backdrop of actual historical events. They tell the story of Americans- not only Americans fighting oppression, coming into their own and standing for their rights, but of Americans growing, learning from each other, and, in the case of the protagonist Geoffrey Stuart, accepting fault in oneself and moving forward with grace. These, to me, are very, very important values for the Americans of today to see and to learn from.

Sometimes it would rain and rain very hard in the daytime before the show was to be performed. The stage deck has a drainage system installed beneath it to keep it dry, but it sometimes became clogged with sand, resulting in standing water blanketing large portions of the stage. In 2015, I remember getting the call from the Men’s Dressing Room about 20 minutes before we were set to start the show- a call to “Bail the Stage”; this was an all-hands-on-deck call to report to the Theatre’s Technical Director, grab rakes, shovels, buckets and other tools, and brigade to the stage deck pre-curtain to clear the water from the playing space. We would dig trenches in the sand to form little streams through which the water could flow to the drains. Working together in the mud, rain pouring down on us, cold, tired, and smiling at each-other all the while is a piece of my time at Horn that I’ll take with me always.

Alright, and I got another one, too- I was playing the Protagonist’s son, Jack Stuart. There’s a fight sequence in the end of the play between my character and the villain, the nefarious and sadistic Captain Mackenzie. The gent playing Mackenzie was a delight, a very funny guy named Jack Lafferty. When we had gone around the cast introducing ourselves in the days before, Lafferty claimed to be playing “Captain Mackenzie- the People’s Hero”. This was hilarious to us, because the actions the Captain takes over the course of the show primarily consist of entering the playspace, killing someone, being very rude, and storming off in a huff.

Well, Lafferty and I were rehearsing this fight sequence at the play’s end wherein Captain Mackenzie gets the upper hand for a moment, and over the course of our practice, the cast around us started softly chanting “People’s Hero, People’s Hero, People’s HERO!” in this big build of sound as the fight grew to the Captain’s moment of triumph, and we finished the fight and he walked around like a pro wrestler drumming up a crowd, and we all laughed and laughed. Summers spent at the Horn in the West aren’t easily forgotten, and my time there will forever be very dear to my heart.

Breanne Hollis

I was in Horn in the West in 2016 & 2017 and gosh what didn’t I do! My first year I was a techie, and I did odd jobs for every department. The shelf with all the leather bound books on it that goes in the Act II cabin? All of the calligraphy on it is me. Fun fact, it’s based off of actual medical texts around during the time. And I sewed a lot of names into different costumes. The second year, I was mainly an actor in the ensemble. I covered for dancers and fighters, too.


My fondest memory honestly would probably have to be the Folk Nights. Horn has this cast exclusive talent-show like tradition where we will all stay after the theatre closes to perform for our compatriots. It’s an opportunity to show our friends our own talents outside of the show, and for both seasons that I was involved, I was usually the emcee for Folk Night. I LOVED that. It was always so amazing to see all of my pals join as a unit to support each other, and it was an honor to help foster growth in that positive environment. It’s also great having an excuse to do stand-up comedy.

The year after I left, there were some major overhauls to the script, like the re-addition of the fire dance as well as trips to the Cherokee village. But the BEST change in my opinion, is the re-addition of Haunted Horn, and all that Halloween at the Homestead has to offer! Seriously, if people haven’t looked into what they do in the fall, well they’re missing out!

If you had asked me a decade ago what my least favorite part of history to learn about was, I probably would’ve told you Early American. As a kid, I could never get into a lot of history classes because they were all dates and numbers. Sometimes the stories could be cool, but usually it was incredibly dry and detached from what I knew. Hickory Ridge and Horn allow for kids to truly immerse themselves in early colonial history, and therefore, help them recognize the origins of the way they live and see those patterns. Now I really can’t get enough of history as a whole, and I owe a lot of that early interest to Horn.

 My most memorable story was when one time, and only one time, they let me do the “big black bear” line at the end of Act 1. The director had told me early enough in the day that I could scheme how to really make it memorable. I enlisted my best friend in the cast and also TD, Nancy Thompson, and us two partners in crime had the whole plan ready to go for the show that evening. Everything went as it traditionally did, up until it came time for me to run back on stage. When I came back on, I started as usual: “Hey everyone! There’s a….” and then, I trailed off, stopping mid-line just heaving and panting. As if I had come running at a breakneck speed for miles offstage just to end up where I was. I really hammed it up, fanning myself comically and trying to begin my sentence again: “Theres….there’s..!” until Nancy (and a few other townspeople who had caught on) prodded “WHAT?” and I suddenly regained composure and delivered that classic “A big, black bear!”  to where we would all get back on script and run off stage. “

Claire Parnell

I was in the show in 2015 as a member of the chorus, as a soloist, and the Martha Stuart understudy. In 2016, 2018, and 2019 I was Martha Stuart

t is hard to pick a fondest memory; I love so much about this show and all the people I’ve worked with. Here are two: my first year I sang the solo in Loch Lomond during the Exodus scene. One night as I was singing standing with my stage family, my stage daughter took a flower and put it in the lapel of my stage husband’s coat. He and I both completely lost it on stage, and I couldn’t sing anymore. My fondest memory from my second year: Sitting with director Teresa Lee on the bench outside the gift shop one afternoon during that summer and hearing her tell me how proud she was of my growth into the role of Martha. She looked at me and said, “You are Martha.” My fondest memory from my third and fourth years: Sitting next to Jenny Cole every night in the dressing room and laughing over our crazy life stories.

There have been so many changes to the show. The songs and script have gone back and forth. The music was significantly upgraded in 2019. I’ve worked with a couple of different directors who interpreted the show and characters in really different ways and have enjoyed the challenge of being part of a “different” show each year. In 2015 & 2016 we used the “flashback” format with Little Jack and Boone looking back on the story, and it felt more like being part of a book. In 2018 & 2019 the format was more of a straight journey through the events with recorded narration. I really miss the original recordings (no offense to Scott Loveless; he did a great job). The original ones were just grander, and I felt set the tone much better.

Horn in the West brings the history of our great nation alive, and helps our audiences understand where our freedoms actually came from and what kind of spirit and strength it took to lay the foundations of America. It is vital that we keep this show going so that the American citizens can learn of the great sacrifices these settlers (the men, the women, and the children) made, giving up personal comfort to pursue freedom for the generations to come. Shows like this one inspire current and future generations to keep that American spirit and freedom and resolve to serve others in the name of Jesus Christ going strong.

Logan Riley

 I was a member of Horn in the West for the summers of 2016, 2017, and 2019.

 Each year I progressed through higher and higher roles, both for both of my first two summers I worked primarily as an actor tech assigned to costuming. Duties of the job including costuming the show, building new and upkeep of old costumes, assisting in quick changes and quick repairs, and nightly laundry routines. In 2016 (the 65th season), I understudied for Daniel Boone and Sam Phillips. The following year (the 66th season) I played Sam Phillips throughout the run. Then in the most recent season (the 68th) I was hired as Captain McKenzie’s understudy. Due to internal conflicts and repeated safety concerns with a principal member of the cast I stepped up and played McKenzie for four nights. Then for the remainder of the season I played the principal role of Daniel Boone full time.

In the four years that I have been with the show, a lot has changed, and even more still stays the same. I have been in three completely different casts, under the creative direction of three different directors, two vastly different script variations, and been through some crazy mid-season losses of actors both temporarily and permanently.

But, the stage has always remained the same, the diligent work of our fight choreographer David Reed has never wavered, our community ever supportive, and our audience always eager to dig into a story that has been theirs for generations.

Things are always breaking, being repaired, or being improved. No one working through Horn has ever been satisfied by “good enough,” I have seen so many strive to improve conditions for future year’s casts and crews. Though every year I also seem the same story of adversity play out. It’s a huge unruly undertaking to break down and reset the huge outdoor auditorium every year. I often found myself a wealth of knowledge for each department simply because my memory latched onto so many details from previous years problematic encounters and workarounds.

 Horn is a historic cultural mirror. I said before, “our audience always eager to dig into a story that has been theirs for generations.” That’s because this story has become so entrenched in the culture of the high country, that people who came to see the show as children now bring their own children and grandchildren to see it. I believe the reason for this success lies in how perfect for the time Horn was for the fifties. The show was written by Kermit Hunter in 1951, and later the first season began in the summer of 1952. The 1950’s were a massive turning point for the consumption of mass media in the United States. 1951 brought the invention of color TV, and only a few years later half of the homes in America had a television set. Almost every program televised themes of the nuclear family, community, and general right versus wrong moral values. I believe that Horn’s resounding reception in the fifties, is thanks to Kermit’s masterful weaving of (at the time) modern relevant topics, themes, and values to create a show that was nearly assured acclaim. “Horn in the West” fused the values of the nuclear family and community, with aspects of the then extremely popular westerns, and wove them all into a revolutionary and very patriotic overarching story structure. Following common TV tropes of the time like the wise father (Geoffrey), the agreeable wife that cooks (Martha), and the rebellious son (Jack), presented audience with a form of instant familiarity the way that comedia del arte caricatures provide instant knowledge on the type of character you are looking at just through their body language alone.

That’s speaking a lot on how Horn represents the history of the fifties, which I think it does very well in doing so. However, because of all of its influences from the fifties in storytelling, plot structure, and limited available research at the time compared to modern databases, the lens of the fifties cannot be ignored. This lens, and the multitude of changes and sacrifices made for spectacle over substance have led to many inaccuracies over the years. Such as the limit of Daniel Boone’s true contributions to Boone’s founding, the involvement of the Cherokee tribe at Kings mountain (which some older versions saw them fight at), and the invention of the fire dance among other fallacies that local Cherokee later took issue with at a later date. However, due to Horn’s resounding reception within the community over the decades, it has kept many people involved and interested in the history of their nation.

Scott Loveless

I Did tech work in 2016 and 2017 and I was cast in 2018 and in the upcoming season playing Daniel Boone

My fondest memory Bonding with the other cast/crew. You spend so much time with each other that you either want to kill each other or you become a little family.

Each director puts their own little spin on things. I know this year is concentrating on removing historical inaccuracies.

Horn in the West is more than just about war. It's a reminder that during that entire period, there were families and love and hate and life happening that was completely uprooted, and these people had to change life to live.

My fondest memory was in 2018 when I wound up saying goodbye 2 days early for various reasons. When I got to the theater to pick up my things, the cast and crew that knew I had to go were lined up on the catwalk to hug me goodbye. They were the closest I’ve had to an extended family in a very long time.

Chris Morrow

In 2018 I was the protagonist, Dr. Geoffrey Stuart. In 2019 I was the antagonist, Captain Mackenzie

My fondest memory was how after the show opens, the fight director offers a class where we can get certified in SAFD stage combat disciplines. Once we’ve been paired up, chosen a scene, and finished choreography, we have an adjudication where we perform our scene and get to watch everyone else’s. It’s lots of fun and so satisfying to see all of that work come to fruition.

The biggest change between 2018-2019 for me was going from the main character to the villain.  It was exciting to do a new accent and be in all the fights

 Theatre can convey history in an easy-to-digest medium that is more engaging and easier to remember than simply reading about history

Before rehearsals started my second year, I learned my Scottish accent and wrote out all my lines phonetically in preparation. Once the show opened, I got a lot of feedback about the accent. Lots of people thought it was real, but there were a few throughout the season who knew Scottish natives or had visited Scotland, and their compliments were the best validation of my hard work.

Amelia Temple

I was working with the Tech crew for the shows of 2018 and 2019.

I was an Assistant Stage Manager, Actor/Tech, and assistant sound one year, and the most recent year I was the Production Stage Manager and Tech Crew.

I can’t just choose one memory, there are so many that are prevalent, and I think about. Most of them are backstage jokes, ranging from technical difficulties, to improvising lines in times of blanking, to an occasional Reggie appearance (the skunks that come along with outdoor theatre), you really can’t choose one. But I’ve made so many friends, all the love and support that the cast and crew have for each other. We have conquered so many hurdles together, and those memories are special.

I have heard that through the different generations of Horn cast members, there have been changes of script. One thing that I have encountered was the different fighting and dance choreography since every year we have different actors and varying numbers of them. Equipment changes, and the show also changes from director to director. Different views, different visions. No experience is the same.

I believe that shows like Horn in the West, it is a historical drama. It could be related to shows like Outlander, Turn: Washington’s Spies, The Crucible, and hell, let’s throw in National Treasure. All these shows or movies have some truth to them-- but some fiction. Though shows like this root themselves in historical times, it can bring people to find interest in these time periods and dig deeper. People will become their own dramaturg and will look up the history behind the show. Will find some of the exaggerations, will even see certain facts that were changed, or costumes that have been altered.

Horn in the West, in short, is useful in preserving history because people will become enthralled in the story and do research on their own time, making their own investigations and discoveries.

My first year working at Horn in the West, one of my best friends Corlina Kiernan and I were in house raising and were told to bring the scene to life. Within the context of what we had, we made backstories for our characters, and every time we went on stage, we were the village drinkers, always with our jugs and ‘pouring’ glasses and taking swigs. Our family tree of two quickly grew to creating a whole family tree in the cast. We were the Jamisons, and then our rival family was the Johnsons. Those were good times, good laughs.

Corlina Kiernan

I worked on Horn in the West for the Summers of 2018 and 2019

On stage I was just a redcoat soldier for fight scenes and the occasional villager. In 2019 I was honored with being the Understudy for lead antagonist Captain Mackenzie. Behind the scenes I had a bunch of other roles: Prop Assistant, Prop Master, Fight Captain, Weapons Master, Pyro Assistant, Skunk Chaser, you name it.

I think being the first female to play a major male lead role in Horn in the West history was pretty cool.

When me and my fellow crewmates were working on the show, there were adjustments that needed to be made technical and otherwise. Equipment needed to be replaced or updated, and some costumes and props needed dire attention- a few props were even antiques themselves that have been around since the very first season more than sixty years ago. The fights are slightly different every year with the factors of different body of actors, different script, different director or choreographer, or a different story that is being told. I worked with Director Britton Corry, who was really pushing to bring this consecutive show to its full glory in modern times.

Horn in the West is very good at promoting the history surrounding the very state it’s performed in. Not a lot of people think of Boone, North Carolina being involved with the Revolutionary war, and how the war triggered various events that resulted in the town's founding. It’s also cool to think how the battles and locations in (or mentioned in) the show are real places you can tour yourself, such as Grandfather Mountain, Kings Mountain, or Alamance.

I will never forget this one show we did mid to end of the season. A thunderstorm was rolling in during the second act and we were trying to finish before it hit. Right when the narration came on for the final battle saying: “A light rain was falling on King’s Mountain...” A light rain began to fall on the stage, remaining consistent until the very second we finished bows, then it began to pour. It made the ending of the show much more epic.


Daniel Skinner

I was in the show the summer of 2018 and I played Jack Stuart.

My fondest memory is any of the stage combat choreography – I first learned how to become an actor combatant there, was certified, and was able to create an original final fight with Mackenzie. Specifically, there was one run where after I stabbed Mackenzie, the audience started to applaud. I felt like a superhero.

I don’t know much of the logistics, but I know there’s been major staff overhaul in the past few years. The theatrical director has changed, and many of the scenes and beats have new staging and intentions. I know that the year I came in, the script went back to the original one, reintroducing the fire dance and Cherokee Country in particular.

The Revolutionary War is seen as this monolithic event and lacks detailed education in most public-school systems. We know of the Declaration of Independence, the Battle of Yorktown, Lexington and Concord, and other landmark events, but Horn in the West’s specific dedication to the Battle of Alamance, the Battle of King’s Mountain, and other Tennessee/North Carolinian events give this period a sense of scale. It also helps realize the War as something real people were going through – people see the day-to-day life of settlers, as well as the personal and national stakes of losing the war.

My fondest memory was when we had Folk Night which was a showcase of people's legitimate talents, and then my group which decided to bring people on one by one and have us drink soda in increasingly bizarre ways until we all shouted an inside joke. The sort of thing no one else finds funny but we all remember really fondly.

Ricky Moore

I was in the show for the 67th (2018) and 68th (2019) season of the show

My first summer I was a dancer, fighters, singer and my second summer I eventually took over for the role of Dr. Stuart.

The best part of horn in the west will always be the time that I got to spend with the cast inside and outside of rehearsals. It is such a talented and fun group of people to be around.

Honestly the show improved quite a bit between the years. Not to say that one group was more talented than the other, just all the learning that was had between the years showed in a lot of the little things.

Horn in the west is a super cool look into the history of the area and if nothing else, allows the story of Boone to live on and be put out to the world every year.

A memorable story from my time in Horn was when my birthday was during the run of the show and a bunch of us went to Howard's knob to celebrate when the clock struck midnight and it was amazing


Rachel Sabo-Hedges

I was in the show summer of 2018 and I was a dancer and also a traveling quartet singer!

I met so many amazing people and one of my favorite memories was when we would go ghost hunting on the historical grounds!

I think the show changes every year! Every year there are different groups of people and there are different renditions of the shows!

I really love the land that it’s on and when I was there I also loved telling the story of the history of this land! I would love to see some more diversity brought in to the show in the future! The show has such great opportunities for that!

One memorable “show story” that stands out to me is when our skunk friends would come act with us on the stage!

Natalie Davis

I was a dancer in the show in 2018 and 2019, I understudied for the role of Mary, and if we are able to have the show this summer, I’ve been cast to play Mary!

I have so so many good memories from the past few summers, but I think my favorite is the time that all of the dancers got together on the last night to make s’mores and say goodbye to the Horn stage! It was such a special night because we were able to share our last night with the people we started the summer with!

Over the past few years, I’ve seen different locations be represented. One year, there were a lot of people from Florida, but then the next year there were people from all over.

I think it is so important and useful in preserving history because it’s not like reading something from a book, but being able to experience what happened. It’s so visual that I think it helps bring the story to our current and coming generations in ways that not everyone is used to.

A memorable story is the time that I got in a car accident with another cast member, and the entire cast showed up to the scene, and followed us to the hospital. They all waited to make sure we were okay, they ordered pizza to the waiting room, and were constantly checking on us over the next few days. It showed me how much of a family the cast becomes. Whether people in the cast are close or not, everyone would do absolutely anything for another cast member. We’re in it together.

Kaley Pharr

I was in the show 2018 & 2019 for the 67th $ 68th seasons.

In 2018 I was a Dancer and Dance Captain and in 2019 I was a Dancer, Second Cast Martha Stuart, Fight Captain and Fight Swing.

The first night I stepped in for the role of Martha Stuart my parents flew into North Carolina and traveled to Boone to surprise me at the show.

The change I have seen recently is that the script has been updated (while remaining historically accurate) to reflect the interest/sympathies of a contemporary audience.

Horn in the West preserves the history of the American Revolution because it brings to life what we’ve only been able to read in a history book. It animates history and makes it more tangible, allowing us to understand what went into shaping our nation.

My most memorable story was all in one night, I: went in as Fight Swing for the Battle of Alamance, quick-changed for my first scene as Martha, quick-changed for my second scene as Martha wherein I did all of the dancing I did as a  Dancer, finished out Act One as Martha, and then quick-changed to do the Fire Dance as a Dancer. Began Act Two as Martha and did the wedding dance, finished Act Two as Martha, after the Exodus scene I quick-changed to be a Red Coat for the Battle of King’s Mountain as Fight Swing, “died” off-stage so I could quick-change back into my Martha costume for the final song and curtain call.



Victoria Capdeville

I was in the show in the summer of 2018 as a Principle Dancer and Fight Captain/Swing.

My favorite memory from my time in Horn in the West was bonding with my cast and crew in some of the most historical parts of North Carolina, mentioned in the show.

Not much has changed since working there but it’s always nice to see different actors play the roles or see the show from a different director’s perspective.

Horn in the West is useful in preserving the History of the Colonial/Revolutionary War Period by rein-acting historical battles with live fire and amazing fight direction while immersing the audience on the journey in an outside arena.

One memorable story from my time in the show would be when one of our veteran actors fell very ill, our director was able to step in for his role and we gave the best performances in honor of our ill company member or Possibly developing a trusting and strong relationship with my dance partner in such a short time in order to allow him to catch me and lift me all over the stage 7 nights a week. We were able to bond so much over our time at Horn in the West that almost 2 years later we are living together and very much in love.

Xeleighta Bernardo

I was in the show the summer of 2019, for the 68th season and performed as Nancy Ward, and was also part of the costume tech. In addition to that, I was occasionally in the ensemble, and the drummer boy for that summer.

My fondest memory absolutely has to be going on a hike with everyone. I had never really hiked before, and we went 10+miles that day. I had a total of 32,801 steps, and though each step back down the trail was painful, I wouldn’t take a single step back. I really started to get to know everyone who went that day.

Horn in the west is useful in preserving the history of the Colonial period by giving the audience a glimpse into what life was kind of like. It may not be really historically accurate, but it definitely can make the right people curious enough to really look into it. If people really want to learn the history, I would look more into the museum. The show, while has some important real life characters, the other scenes are more inspired by real life events.

A memorable story I can share would have to be during rehersals. Dustin (Dr. Stuart at the time) was reading the letter after the wedding in the second act, but instead of saying his lines he was reading what was actually on the letter prop which ended with I think XoXo Captain. Another story from rehersals was when Chris (Captian Mackinzie said "Dragging canoe, we smoked a pipe together, we're home bros now"

Matthew Sung Girard

I was in the show in2019 and I played Dragging Canoe, James Few, and was part of the chorus. I was part of the publicity quarters. I also recorded Tenor and Bass Vocals, mandolin, and cello for instrumentals that year.

I can’t just choose one fondest memory, I guess I’d say all the time I spent with the cast and crew bonding and learning together.

The show is a great draw for the museum, and also it provides a palatable way to intake history through entertainment.


Shannon Burke

I was in Horn in the West the summer of 2019 and I played Jack Stuart

Being in the show really brightened up my love for stage combat. Before the show, I lackeda lot of experience and stamina required to do the physical tasks at hand. Comparing thetechniques from opening night to closing night is night and day. The different tricks Ilearned with the tomahawk accumulated throughout the summer.

Considering the only experience, I have is the most recent production it’s difficult for meto say. However, I am looking forward to contributing to what 2020 has to offer!

Horn in the West provides the fundamental understanding of what it means to sacrificewhat is hard for a better tomorrow. Preserving this ideal every summer is nothing short of a gift.

Kyla Galen Allegra

I was in the show in 2019 as a member of the Ensemble and chorus as well as the Widow Howard understudy

My fondest memory was spending time with so many wonderful and talented people, collaborating on something we all love

I cant really tell if there have been any changes to the show until the next season. There’s a new director in place, and I have heard that the script is different this year, but I don’t know any more details

When it comes to how Horn preserves the story of the American Revolution this quote comes to mind: “They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel.”  — Carl W. Buehner

Honestly my most memorable story is how the 2019 season was extremely hard on all of us… but we got each other through it

Tim Lamb

I was in the 68th season of summer 2019 and I played judge Henderson, chief Attakullakulla, and a regulator.

My fondest memory of horn in the west was the opening weekend, seeing how it all came together in the two weeks of prep we had and seeing that there was plenty of room for more improvement to the overall show.

The show had only changed due some adaptations made through casting and it was a fun challenge to have to play with multiple different actors playing the same roles different nights. It was a great test for me to see how well I can adapt to other actors interpretations of the other characters and what I needed to do to keep the story consists.

In my opinion the fine line between dramatic storytelling and historical accuracy was a hard balance to achieve. For instance I’m not of the proper ethnicity to have played the principal chief of Cherokee nation, so I had to disguise myself with a costume that couldn’t reveal my face. I’m sure chief Attakullakulla wouldn’t have worn a mask. Second the fire dance that our actors portray the Cherokee performing as an declaration of war is purely for the spectacle of theater and historically I understand the Cherokee did not engage in such a dance. The Third case is made for the soldiers whom in our show wore red coats in two battles, I’ve come to understand the battle of kings mountain in particular was fought between the settlers and the loyalist of the colonies. The red coats provided a clear visual distinction for the audience to see whom was battle whom in the fight scenes. Horn in the west staff did a great job in providing period correct costumes and some of the locals helped me with the language. Bottom line is it is a drama first before it’s a history lesson in my opinion.

A memorable story I remember was when I took time with veteran actor Darrell king and he taught me how to project my voice for an outdoor setting. A valuable lesson I’m greatly indebted to him for.


McClain Houdashelt

I was in the show for the 2019 Summer Season. and I was an ensemble cast member, so I was mainly just one of the villagers, but I had a standout role in the first scene as Captain Greene.

Honestly, my favorite memories are the ones off the stage. As much fun as the show was, having that time to just spend time with the cast and crew and bond with them was such an amazing experience.

I know there has been a change of staff since I left, but I know that the new director is more than capable of putting on an amazing show!

Horn in the West is the oldest outdoor revolutionary war dramas in the country. And it being smack dab in the middle of historical land is perfect; the show allows us to take a peek into what times were really like back then. The way people were, how they lived, what life was really like; it’s not just useful. It’s integral.

I will never forget David Reed, our fight choreographer. Stern, but more than friendly, and always happy to answer any question you had. But man did that guy love his sunscreen. He always seemed to have a bottle ON him, and you would always see him spraying himself with it, especially on his head. And anytime he said the word “General” in a sentence, he would always stop and repeat it with a salute. He was an amazing guy, and I’ll never forget him!



Morgan Cox

I was a part of horn in the west in summer of 2019 and I was a member of the ensemble and chorus. I played a regulator. I also got the opportunity to be part of the publicity quartets.

I think one of my fondest memories from being a part of the show would probably be when I went on a hike up to Calloway peak with the cast and Britt.

I haven’t gotten to see much change since I first did the show last year, but I think with Shauna directing the show I can see it only becoming better.

I think Horn in the West helps keep people interested in history. I think seeing the past as human with feelings and even being a part of the show reminds you that these events happened, and that people really did this to survive and be free to live how they please.

I’m not sure what would be one of the most memorable things from my time in the show. I think maybe it would have to be one night before the show was about to start a skunk had run onstage and got into one of the hidey holes under the stone stairs and sprayed. About ten minutes before another cast member and I had to run and jump in there for the Battle of Alamance