Hickory – Maiden native LaTayvia Ross will be making her debut when the Hickory Community Theatre opens its upcoming production of Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau. Performances begin on May 13 and continue through May 23 in the Jeffers Theatre.

Ross was drawn to the theatre because, in her words, “It brings everyone together, from all different backgrounds.” Her first stage role was as Rafiki in The Lion King Jr. with the Hickory Career and Arts Magnet School (HCAM). She is now a student at Catawba Valley Community College and will graduate this summer.

When asked about the role of Shanita she said, “My character is very different from me. I was pretty young when factories here started to shut down so I am learning a lot about what that was like.”

Ross is joined on stage by Donovan Harper, well known to HCT audiences for roles like Willy Wonka and as the soul powerhouse from Dreamgirls, James “Thunder” Early. Harper is originally from Washington, DC but came to Hickory at a young age, when his parents wanted to be closer to relatives in Lenoir.

He says he chose to audition for this play because, “It seems very timely, considering all of the shutdowns that have been happening,”

Skeleton Crew follows four co-workers—Faye, Dez, Reggie, and Shanita—at a Detroit auto factory in 2008, at the very beginning of the great recession. This play highlights the layered relationships and drama of blue-collar workers navigating the instability and uncertainty in their personal lives and at work. Each character’s patience and loyalty are tested as the plant’s future comes into question, and they are forced to make hard choices to ensure their individual survival. Morisseau’s masterful command of dialect and dialogue brings depth and authenticity to a story about the very local implications of global change.

Performances of Skeleton Crew are Thursdays through Saturdays, May 13, 14, 15, 20, 21 & 22 at 7:30 pm and Sundays, May 16 & 23 at 2:30 pm in the Jeffers Theatre.

Tickets for all seats are $18 per person and may be purchased online at hickorytheatre.org or by calling the box office at 828-328-2283 between 12 pm and 5 pm, Wed–Fri. Seating is limited in compliance with the governor’s executive order, so advance purchase is strongly recommended. Per the executive order, patrons must wear face coverings at all times while in the building.

Skeleton Crew is produced by The United Arts Council of Catawba County. A Cleaner World, Paramount Automotive, the City of Hickory, Sunbelt Xpress and Dr. George Clay, DDS are the sponsors of the 2020-2021 Season. The Hickory Community Theatre is a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County.

PHOTO: Donovan Harper and LaTayvia Ross. Photo by John Koval.