The Rocky Hock Playhouse doors opened in Edenton, North Carolina in 2000. However, the theatre's roots go back to 1997. In the summer of that year Jeffrey and Gloria Emmerich were invited to Nags Head, NC to put together a summer stock pilot theatre. They ended up taking nearly 40 students to North Carolina’s Outer Banks from North Central University in Minneapolis, MN where they were professors of theatre, music and communications. In Nags Head the cast performed the musical, Under His Wings.
The Emmerichs worked out of a temporary theatre on the Outer Banks again during the summer of 1998 but it was soon apparent that they needed to find a more permanent location. It was their desire to stay in the general area since NE North Carolina was so receptive to their style. Patrons were coming regularly from the Hampton Roads area, (Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Newport News, Williamsburg, Hampton, VA, etc.), as well as from Richmond, Raleigh, Greenville, NC, and Myrtle Beach and Charleston, SC. They began phoning county government offices in various small towns across NE North Carolina to see if anyone was interested in helping them move the theatre operation to their community. It seemed that everywhere they called people said, “Go to Edenton!”
While visiting Edenton, which is on the Albemarle Sound in Chowan County and about 60 miles west of Kitty Hawk, NC, the Emmerichs arranged to meet with various government officials, school principals, Edenton and Chowan County Chamber of Commerce representatives and local leaders. The reception was overwhelmingly positive. It turned out that many people from Chowan County had been to the Outer Banks to see Under His Wings and were thrilled that a theatrical production company might actually be willing to fill the void in a community primed for a full-time professional stock company theatre.
At this point Jeffrey and Gloria felt confident that things were falling into place so they could fulfill a 25-year vision and dream to own and operate their own full-time theatre. The Emmerich Theatre Production Company, Inc., (ETPC) was founded in 1998 and the operation was moved to Edenton for the summer of 1999.
During that time the Emmerichs again produced Under His Wings (the Love Story of Ruth and Boaz) and Gloria Emmerich’s first full-length “Broadway Style” musical, King David (Sweet Psalmist of Israel). Over 10,000 patrons enjoyed performances that summer at the White Oak Theatre — a temporary location provided by Chowan County for performances.
Jeffrey and Gloria were still teaching at North Central University in Minneapolis, MN. However, their pioneer spirits won out and they resigned from the University in the spring of 2000 and moved to Edenton permanently to begin operating the Rocky Hock Playhouse on a full-time basis.
Between 2000 and 2019 the Emmerichs mounted nearly 100 major productions at the Playhouse. Gloria Emmerich was the writer of nearly all the musicals. Her two-act “Broadway Style” shows have now been performed around the world and are available through Emmerich Publications, Inc. www.christianmusicalsonline.com.
Over the years more than 300,000 patrons enjoyed Rocky Hock Playhouse musicals and scores of fine actors from 32 different states worked in ETPC productions. Many college students also completed their theatre internships at the Rocky Hock Playhouse under the Emmerich’s supervision. Jeffrey and Gloria performed in all the musicals.
From time to time the Emmerichs took casts to perform their musicals on US military bases in Germany, to St. Croix (US Virgin Islands) and many times to Puerto Rico.
The Rocky Hock Playhouse relocated to Washington, North Carolina from 2009 to 2011 but moved back to Edenton as a dinner theatre in 2012.
Between 2010 – 2019 the Emmerichs also taught at College of The Albemarle in Elizabeth City, NC where Jeffrey was the drama director and instructor. Gloria taught voice and worked as musical director and pianist for all the musicals they produced. During their years at COA they directed 46 plays and musicals. The Emmerichs retired from the college and teaching in the spring of 2019. At the same time, they also turned the Rocky Hock Playhouse over to their friend and colleague, Darryl Stallings who continues in the venue producing quality gospel concerts.
Scroll down on this page to see Gloria's piano CDs available for purchase!
During the Rocky Hock Playhouse Valentines dinner theatre show in 2002, Gloria Emmerich thought that the patrons might like to sample her secret “peanut cluster” recipe. So, she whipped up a batch and served them to the guests. They were a HUGE HIT! Folks came back for our Easter musical and wondered where the clusters were. It was then that the idea to produce the clusters in quantity came to Gloria. Why not box them properly and make the clusters available to all the theatre guests?!
Ah, but where does Mrs. Cromley come into the picture? Well, in 2000 Gloria Emmerich created and originated the role of Mrs. Cromley for the first Rocky Hock Playhouse Christmas musical. Angel Cromley (slightly wacky and very fun) became a beloved perennial character in many Christmas shows for a number of years. So, when Christmas, 2002 rolled around, and since her clusters had become so “famous,” Gloria came up with the idea of packaging the clusters and giving them the name: Mrs. Cromley’s Famous Peanut Clusters.
In the years following, untold thousands of clusters were hand made by Gloria and sold to Rocky Hock Playhouse patrons. When orders began to come in from Virginia and Pennsylvania she wanted to make the clusters available to people who wished to give them as gifts. Since their retirement in 2020, Gloria still makes them for their family gatherings.
In 2006 Gloria wrote a cookbook that was appropriately titled Mrs. Cromley’s World Famous Cookbook. It contains over 250 recipes collected by Gloria over the years. She was raised in the small fishing village of Newport, Oregon and loved those good ol' church potlucks. Many of the recipes in the book are those of the dear saints from Newport who wrote down their wonderful Oregon Coast recipes that would otherwise perhaps be lost—except for Mrs. Cromley’s World Famous Cookbook! The book is peppered (as it were) with stories of life in Oregon and many of Gloria’s “famous” limericks to keep you laughing in the kitchen as you enjoy the timeless recipes in this marvelous book. ENJOY!
The cookbooks are currently out of stock and not available for purchase.
A collection of Gospel Piano Favorites Vol. 1. Listen to samples below.
A collection of Gospel Piano Favorites Vol. 2. Listen to samples below.