Local playwright’s play to kick off 40+ Stage Company’s season

Local playwright’s play to kick off 40+ Stage Company’s season
October 03
07:03 2022

By Judie Holcomb-Pack

The 40+ Stage Company has a goal to produce at least one play each season by a local playwright. The 2022-23 season actually has two – “Rhoda’s Rites of Passage” by Grace Ellis and “Whittler’s Bench” by David Ratcliff. Both playwrights are members of Winston-Salem Writers. All performances this season will be held in the Mountcastle Theatre in the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, 251 N. Spruce Street. Tickets are available at the box office by calling 336-747-1414 or online at and clicking on Events, Campus Events.

According to their website, “Rhonda’s Rites of Passage” is a hilarious comedy about Rhonda, a sassy, bright, and an unfulfilled actress who at age 45, after a long marriage and raising a family, she decides to go to New York to revive the career she abandoned 20 years earlier. Needless to say, her family is not happy with her decision as they like things just as they are. Will Rhonda make it in the Big Apple or will her career bomb before she even gets started? You’ll have to come to the play to find out. The play runs Sept. 30, Oct. 1, 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 2 and 9 at 2 p.m. 

The second play on their schedule is “Whittler’s Bench” by David Ratcliff. As promoted on their website, this is a “folksy tale of friendship, ghosts, and community. The old guys in Ratcliff’s drama may be relegated to a park bench as the world passes them by, but when a crisis presents a challenge, they rise to the occasion and intervene.” This play will be presented Nov. 11-12, 18-19 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 13 and 20 at 2 p.m. 

With a nod to Black History Month, the third play in their season is the well-known “A Raisin in the Sun,” by Lorraine Hansberry. This modern American classic and New York Drama Critics Circle award winner is a searing exploration of racism, discrimination, and assimilation. This play runs Feb. 17-18, 24-25 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 19 and 26 at 2 p.m.

To close out the 2022-23 season, 40+ Stage will present “Levitation” by Timothy Mason. First produced by the famed Circle Repertory Company of New York City, Mason’s play is a poignant story of relationships, loss, and the transitory nature of life.

This season begins 40+ Stage Company’s seventh season. According to Artistic Director Mark Pirolo in announcing their new season, “Despite the loss of an entire year to the pandemic, we have come back in our sixth season stronger than ever. The success of our last several productions has shown that there is a place in our theatrical community for exploring challenging lesser known titles as well as exciting new original works.”

What is even more exciting for this company is the announcement that 40+ Stage will be part of the new multimillion dollar intergenerational Center for Arts and Wellness being built by Senior Services of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. Slated to be completed in fall 2023, the center will have a performance space which will become the new home venue for 40+ Stage Company. The new center will be located near the current Senior Services offices at 2895 Shorefair Drive.  To view a rendering and tour of the plans for the new center, go to

It’s been a long dry spell for live theatre in our community. Now it’s back! Don’t miss these opportunities to enjoy great productions and support local theatre.

For more information, visit

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