Hytop collects old time racin’ stories and car junk. Enjoys pickin’ his songs with Lonnie and Buddy. Wishes Arlene would leave him in peace sometimes so he could just hang out and do nothing. Hytop is played by Peter Holland, the co-writer, composer, and director of Heaven on Wheels. Peter has been playing Guitar and writing songs since he was 12 years old. He received his theatre training from Columbia College in Columbia, SC with Gene and Catherine Eaker. Peter is a veteran actor, writer, director, and teacher with 40 years of professional experience. He and his wife Christina are the founders of Once Upon a Blue Ridge, a touring theatre company that specializes in Peter’s original productions. The Hollands live in Meadows of Dan, Va with their son Benjamin Tally. Peter also plays Bill France and Leonard Wood in Heaven on Wheels. Some of Peter’s favorite roles include Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, Sherlock Holmes in a series of Sherlock Holmes mystery plays by Catherine Eaker, Buffalo Bill in the original cast of the Dixie Stampede, and Abraham Lincoln in Peter’s one man play, Mr. Lincoln’s Office. Recently, Peter completed a short film called Becoming Abe, written and directed by Winston-Salem, NC filmmaker and artist, Mike Foley. Peter is grateful to ATC for co-producing the first production of Heaven on Wheels.
Arlene is proud to have been born and raised in Lovers Leap, VA. Loves everything about racin’ especially the Fans. Arlene convinced her husband Hytop to write down the racin’ stories he had been collecting to make the Heaven on Wheels Racin’ Tribute Show. It was all Her idea. Arlene is played by Christina Holland. Christina graduated from Ferrum College, Va with a BA in Fine Arts—with concentrations in Theatre and Music. Later she performed with the Patchwork Players in Columbia, SC where she met her husband Peter. Peter and Christina live with their son Benjamin Tally in Meadows of Dan, Va. In 2004, The Hollands started their production company Once Upon a Blue Ridge. Since then, they have performed their original, educational productions to audiences throughout the Southeast. Christina also worked at Patrick County High School (her alma mater) as a theatre teacher for 4 years. She also plays Louise Smith in Heaven on Wheels. Her past credits include Brer Rabbit in The Wonderful Adventures of Brer Rabbit, Aunt Polly in Tom Sawyer, the Evil Queen in Snow White, and countless other characters in Once Upon a Blue Ridge productions.
Lonnie loves the Banjo and being one with the Natural World. Has studied all the great Banjo Masters and has an advanced degree in Transcendental Meditation. Enjoys hanging out with his large family and pickin’ with Buddy and Uncle Hytop. Keeps a fatherly eye on his daughter Ethyl. Lonnie is played by Bruce Burgess. Bruce is a freelance visual artist who was introduced to the world of Bluegrass at age 11 when he began playing the banjo. Bruce graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA in Communication Arts and Design. He finished his senior year studying in Italy. Bruce works as a freelance artist, and lives in Danbury, NC with his lovely wife Emily and their children Maya, Django, Anika, and Zinnia. His main passions are music, art, and teaching banjo. Bruce and Buddy are also members of the band Regal Sloan. Bruce’s Banjo has enhanced many Once Upon a Blue Ridge productions over the last several years. You can find him in Danbury, NC chasing children, playing banjo, and creating Plein Air Paintings (Outdoor Art).
Buddy loves music and David Pearson. Buddy is played by Buddy Tuttle. Buddy grew up in Stokes County, NC and started playing music in church when he was 12 years old. Buddy enjoys playing all kinds of music-Bluegrass, Country and Rock. The artists he has performed with include Ronnie Bowman, Dan Tyminski, and Alan Bibey. He currently plays bass with Bruce Burgess in the band Regal Sloan. His other bands include Monkey Voodoo and Trey’s Amigos who opens for the Dixie Dregs. Buddy says he’s played with “19 Million Bands”. A lifelong race and David Pearson fan, Buddy has spent a lot of time at race tracks. He says he’s been to half the dirt tracks in NC and some in VA, as well as the Cup races at North Wilkesboro, Rockingham, Darlington, Charlotte, Bristol, and Martinsville. Buddy’s the real deal. Buddy lives in Madison, NC with Kelly Davis and her children Randi and Jakob Womack. And if you need new Gutters, Call Buddy Tuttle—All Star Seamless Gutters. “Free Estimates and We also do clean outs”.
Ethyl is Danica’s #1 fan and wants to be a race car driver someday. She also enjoys singin’, dancin’, and pokin’ fun at Rooster and Milo. Ethyl is played by Maya Burgess, daughter of Bruce and Emily Burgess. She is 12 years old and lives in Danbury, NC with her family. Maya is proud to be a homeschooler which allows her to perform with Once Upon a Blue Ridge. She also plays Minnie and Jocko Flocko in Heaven on Wheels. Her past credits include Becky Thatcher in Tom Sawyer, Brer Terrapin in the Wonderful Adventures of Brer Rabbit, and the Elephant’s Child in Animal Tales. Maya has studied theatre with the Hollands for the past five years and last year was invited to become a member of the company. Maya has proven herself to be a talented and generous young performer with a promising future in front of her.