news-category: Performing Arts

Gardner-Webb Theatre Department Presents ‘Sylvia’ Feb. 15-18

Female and male student rehearse a scene from the play, Sylvia
Emily Hopson plays the part of the dog, Sylvia, and Theo Drescher is her owner, Greg.

Modern Romantic Comedy is About Marriage, an Empty Nest and a Dog

By Ella Brown, ’24, Intern for University Communications

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The Gardner-Webb University Department of Theatre Arts presents “Sylvia,” a play by A.R. Gurney, Feb. 15-17 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 18 at 2:30 p.m. Directed by Department of Theatre Arts Professor and Chair, Dr. Chris Nelson, the play will be presented in the Millennium Playhouse, 141 S. Main St.

Set in New York City, “Sylvia” is a modern romantic comedy all about a marriage and a dog. Greg and his wife Kate are empty nesters. He finds a dog in Central Park, falls in love with her and brings her home to Kate, where a comedy ensues.

Greg (Theo Drescher) and Tom (Justin Roan) rehearse the park scene in the play.

Isa van Sintemaartensdijk, a foreign exchange student from the Netherlands and exercise science major, shares her excitement to be part of the play. As assistant stage manager, Sintemaartensdijk said that acting has been something she has always enjoyed. “I like to be involved in acting and now I am an acting minor,” she stated.

Students like Sintemaartensdijk who are involved in the theatre arts department are given a wide range of opportunities to develop their skills. From performance to playwriting, they learn about all the details that are involved in creating and performing a play like Sylvia.

Lee Reynolds plays Greg’s wife, Kate, who is not happy
when he brings home a dog (Sylvia) from the park.

“My favorite part of ‘Sylvia,”’ shared Sintemaartensdijk, “is the conversation between Greg, the dog’s owner, and Tom in the park for the first time.” The interaction between these two characters is a reflection of the comical warmth displayed throughout the play.

Although it is a comedy, there are many great lessons that will be sure to stick with the audience. Emily Hopson, a graphic design major and photographer, plays the role of Sylvia. She is looking forward to the audience picking up on these valuable messages. “I hope that they will find it funny, but also catch all the deeper themes,” she noted.

Tickets for the plays are $10 for adults; $5 for students and seniors; and free for GWU students, faculty and staff. Tickets are available for purchase electronically here.

Cast and Crew for ‘Sylvia’


Greg – Theo Drescher

Sylvia – Emily Hopson

Kate – Lee Reynolds

Tom/Phyllis/Leslie – Justin Roan


Director – Chris Nelson

Stage Manager – Easton Freeman

Assistant Stage Manager – Isa Van Sintemaartensdijk

Technical Director, Scenic Design and Props Master – Richard Horsley

Lighting and Sound Design – Elie Brinson

Costume Design – Maeve McGinley

Makeup and Hair – Nina Bollinger

Light Board Operator – Caleb McNeary

Sound Board Operator – Jade Griffin

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 10 working days prior to the event.  Please call 704-406-4270 or email [email protected] with your request.

Writer Isabella Brown is a senior English Major.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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