Reserve theater records another first

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 12, 2014


RESERVE – The building now called St. John Theatre has worn many hats in its more-than-80-year existence, from movie house to community center to live theater venue, but recently it added another to its wardrobe — wedding chapel.

Chrissy Carter, who has graced the Reserve stage countless times over the past several years, married Luis Cifuentes onstage at St. John Theatre. The event was the first of its kind for the theater, according to St. John Theatre Board of Directors President Sterling Snowdy.

“It is my favorite place in the world. I’ve performed there my whole life, won sugar queen there, and it is where I discovered my love for performing,” said Carter. “There is no place else I’d rather be, and it just makes sense to have the biggest production of my life, my wedding, there.”

Although a community theater might seem an unconventional place for a wedding ceremony, Carter said Cifuentes, who was born in Guatemala but moved to North Carolina when he was 5, was on board with the idea from the beginning.

“He knows how much the theater means to me, and it reflects his personality perfectly,” said Carter. “At first we thought it was a little crazy and different, but then we realized, wait, we are also a little crazy and different.”

For the event, Darryl Clement, who directs many of the stage productions at St. John Theatre, bathed the stage in sparkling blue with delicate white accents, transforming the raw material into a scene worthy of any church or wedding venue, but those in attendance got the idea that this wedding might be a little different from others they had been to when the men in the wedding strutted out onstage with moves usually reserved for the reception. Having the bridesmaids proceed to the stage to the strains of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” completed the fairy tale atmosphere.

A few other flourishes — such as when Carter, reading vows she penned herself, described she and Cifuentes as “just like peas and carrots” — made it clear this wedding was not your typical cookie-cutter affair.

Still, the ceremony maintained an air of reverence throughout. Carter and Cifuentes even exchanged the traditional vows after reading their personalized ones, but the location allowed the audience a different perspective on the wedding experience. There was even popcorn available to munch on while enjoying the show.

Carter said she booked the theater just as any other organization would, although having an ally like Snowdy may have cleared the way a little more easily.

“We wouldn’t have had it any other way,” said Snowdy.

While this may have been the biggest production of her life, Carter said it will not be her swansong.

“I will always be involved with St. John Theatre,” she said.