At the end of Sneff Street on Ashland Avenue behind Reed Hall, sets the little-known Old Town Cemetery.
That’s the locale for part one of “Dining with the Dead” by the Morehead Theatre Guild. Dates are Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 18-19 and Oct. 25-26.
The three-part event (drama, dinner and ghost walk) is back by popular demand. It was presented five years ago in 2014 to sold out crowds.
Evenings begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Old Town Cemetery, on the campus of Morehead State.
It is here where some of Rowan County’s most colorful personalities from the late 1800s will “rise from their graves” to relate their tales of murder, mayhem, lost loves and life’s other triumphs and tragedies.
Tales range from the dramatic to everyday, ordinary and commonplace things about, for example, John and Mary Woolum, the great-great-grandparents of Cincinnati Reds catcher Johnny Bench.
Dinner will follow at the Rowan County Arts Center and then Theatre Guild actors will lead a “ghost walk” in the downtown area.
J.D. Reeder wrote the series of dramatic monologues, titled “Stories in Stone.” Morehead residents introduce themselves to the audience and relate incidents from their lives. Some are poignant and sad; others are humorous. Among them are several persons with a connection to the famous Rowan County Feud as well as the Woolums.
Reeder labored over digitized newspapers and genealogy sites, and recalled oral history to write the monologues.
The cast features 29 performers, 17 of whom have never appeared in “Dining with the Dead” before. Also new are seven monologues which will be heard for the first time. Seventeen young children buried there are remembered in a new monologue called “The Little Ones.”
“Dramatizations of local history have a strong appeal here, as has been seen at the original and 2014 ‘Dining with the Dead,’ ‘Bloody Rowan!’ in 2012 and the Back in Time series which I began five years ago,” Reeder said.
Over the past 100 years, the cemetery was often neglected and overgrown, he said. In recent years, the damage has been repaired and the graveyard is properly maintained once more.
“Such places are fragile,” Reeder cautioned. “Treasure them; for once they are lost, they are gone forever. This historic Old Town Cemetery has important stories to tell about our community and its early settlers – some from its beginning and others who came a generation later with the railroad in the early 1880s.
“All of them remind the people of today that they have much in common with those who lived here well over a century ago,” Reeder said.
Tickets are on sale at the arts center. Call 783-9857 to reserve, or go online to purchase tickets at www.moreheadtheatre.org. Seating is limited so advance purchase is strongly recommended.
In case of inclement weather, performances will take place in the arts center auditorium. The event is not recommended for children under 5 years of age.
Cast members include Gabria Sexton, Daniel Meritt, Jason Justice, Joe Sexton, Kendall Vance, Drew Henderson, Valerie Kazee, James Colgan, Mike Dobranski, Sara Lindsey, Joe Sartor, Della Conner, Lana Justice, Shannon Murphy, Kennealy Roberts, Pamela Hammonds, Alexander Hamilton, Lana Carver, Ava Carver, Mia Carver, Peggy Breeze, Clara Williams, T.J. Conner, George David McKee, Dustin Salyer, Alex Lockridge, Roger Fischer, Amaris Singleton and Larry Beeman.