Local performer Nina Allbert will star in musical at RM church

Published 8:35 am Monday, October 21, 2019

A one-woman musical created by acclaimed local actor, singer and storyteller Nina Cathey Allbert will be performed this weekend in Roan Mountain. Allbert has been a music director and actor at the Lees-McRae Summer Theatre for the past seven years, after retiring from a career as a music teacher in New York, Connecticut and Florida.

“Always Nina” has been touring theatres in Connecticut and Florida since 2018, where Jim Ruocco, a member of the Connecticut Critic’s Circle, named it “Best Musical of 2018” in Connecticut. Ruocco also named Allbert “Best Actress in a Musical” as well as “Entertainer of the Year for 2018” in the state.

In the 1990s, when she was teaching music in Connecticut schools, she starred in many musicals at the Thomaston Opera House in Thomaston, Conn. Allbert won several “best actress” awards as well as the “Entertainer of the Year” title from the Waterbury Republican newspaper.

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Now, after having played Dolly in “Hello, Dolly;” Daisy in “Driving Miss Daisy;” and Kate in “Kiss Me Kate,” and starred in many other musicals, Allbert has written her own story.

In “Always Nina: A Tennessee Story and Songbook,” Allbert tells and sings stories from her childhood through adulthood in middle Tennessee. There are bikers, beauty queens, teenage moms, evangelists, country people and millionaires, as well as her own family. Allbert is an authentic Southern storyteller, having grown up listening to her family members swap stories.

Allbert highlights the various characters and eras of her life with nine original songs with lyrics and music by her friend, Connecticut composer Joan Burr. They range from love songs to country, blues to jazz to Broadway tunes.

Allbert and Burr launched “Always Nina” last year with bookings at theatres in Florida, Tennessee and Connecticut. They began 2019 with showings at theatres in Pomona Park and Lake Helen, Fla. In April and September “Always Nina” stormed Connecticut with performances at the Arts Center East (Vernon, Conn.); the Thomaston Opera House and the Landmark Community Theatre. This weekend, the show returns to Tennessee.

“Always Nina: A Tennessee Story and Songbook,” will be performed today and Sunday at the Roan Mountain United Methodist Church, where Allbert is a member.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. today and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $10 at the door.