The Parkway Playhouse turns 65 in 2011 and 2010 was the most successful season in the theatre’s history! It is hard not to feel like there are HUGE expectations of the Parkway Playhouse after an explosive 2010 season.
I like to tell people that next year will feel a lot like this past year- except different shows. Hopefully, you – that is the magic ingredient after all. The number of people involved on stage, backstage, fixing the building, volunteering to usher, playing in the orchestra pit, sewing costumes, painting sets, etc. Theatre, at its finest, is an expression and reflection of the community it serves and that to me is what was most exciting about 2010 and what I am most looking forward to with 2011! Our community is dynamic, energized, and eager for a new adventure.
So, here it is, the Parkway Playhouse 2011 Season:
A Cabaret Show TBA- (dates and venue tba)
(Cowboy Cafe, 2004)
Think songs from musicals that HAVEN’T been seen at the Parkway Playhouse or selections from musicals that SHOULD be done at the Parkway Playhouse. More on this fundraiser/special production soon….
THE MIRACLE WORKER by William Gibson
May 6- May 14
We are opening earlier this year. This year the Parkway Playhouse will open on Mother’s Day weekend with the amazing story of how Annie Sullivan met the blind and deaf Helen Keller and taught her communicate with the outside world. A great inspiring and inspiring story!
Parkway trivia moment: look at this picture
Look at the guy on the right (that is Anne Bancroft on the left in the motion picture The Miracle Worker)…. The guy on the right is Parkway Playhouse’s own Andrew Prine in his first major motion picture. Andrew has appeared in many more films and television shows as well as some Parkway Playhouse productions over the years. Break a leg Andy!
AN UNCIVIL UNION: THE BATTLE OF BURNSVILLE by Britt Kaufmann
During the Civil War some 40 women stormed the Confederate Army stores in Burnsville, NC and took food supplies to keep their families fed. The next day a group of men raided the same Confederate encampment and stole guns and ammunition…. and a half a ton of bacon. This is world premiere play is a fictitious account that imagines events leading up to the aforementioned raiding. Written by Burnsville area poet and author Britt Kaufmann, this surprising and clever new play reminds us that heroes come can come from the unlikeliest of places. Think Steel Magnolias in the Civil War and you KIND of have the right idea….
1776 by Peter Stone and Sherman Edwards
June 24- July 9
We often take our liberty for granted. We perhaps forget that it took tremendous courage to sign the Declaration of Independence. In this amazing musical our history comes to blazing life as John Adams, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson struggle to forge a new nation. I love history. I love our American history and this production puts you in the room when the Declaration of Independence was signed. Incredible stuff.
SEUSSICAL THE MUSICAL by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens based on the works of Dr. Seuss
July 22- August 6
I like Dr. Seuss. Reading his books was a thrill as a child- the zany characters and the clever word play lend themselves to hilarious and dramatic antics. When I became a parent I re-discovered these stories and characters again as I shared them with my kids. Seussical takes all of that big energy and pumps it in to an exhilarating evening with lots of singing, dancing, and of course the Cat in the Hat presiding over the whole event. It is also perfect for families and children of all ages.
ROBIN HOOD:THE LEGEND OF SHERWOOD by Jeff Douglas Messer and Robert Akers
When I was about 9 or 10 my parents took me to see the 1938 Errol Flynn/Basil Rathbone version of THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD. Around that same time, I saw my first play, the two events are linked in my mind. I think Robin Hood- and similar such swashbuckling stories are fun, lots of fun . The bad guys are clearly bad, the good guys are just and true, and the women are courageous and faithful. I don’t know what happened, but my generation has allowed Mel Brooks to co-opt Robin Hood. In fact most people when I say “Robin Hood” immediately follow it with “men in tights”. So this production, which was written by Jeff Douglas Messer- a truly Merry Man- and Robert Akers is a brash, smart, take on the classic legend with lots of swords. We’ll see about the tights.
ALONG ABOUT SUNDOWN by Brenda Lunsford Lilly, featuring the Music of Bascom Lamar Lunsford
August 26-Sept 3
How do you follow-up THE BALLAD OF TOM DOOLEY? A runaway smash for our theatre last year. A gothic look at a Southern legend set to haunting music. I followed it up by asking Brenda Lunsford Lilly if she had any other plays that she had ideas for. She in fact did. It turns out Brenda is a niece of Bascom Lamar Lunsford who was a renaissance man of the mountains. Politician, bandleader, songwriter, storyteller, and visionary. He founded the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival – which is still celebrated. He left a legacy of music and touched many lives and we will absolutely tell his story next season on our stage. (Thanks Brenda!)
FALL PRODUCTION TBA
We are still working out the details on this one. We have some interesting ideas that we will be sharing soon.
BEAUTIFUL STAR: AN APPALACHIAN NATIVITY By Laurelyn Dossett and Preston Lane
Starting with Adam and Eve and ending with the birth of Jesus Christ the parishioners of the Open Heart Fellowship Community Church present their Nativity Pageant with vibrant folk-music and simple, down-home storytelling. This show-within-a-sh0w captures at once the spirit of the Holidays and the traditions and heritage of Appalachian Storytellers.
So, there it is. Our season. The only question is what role will you play? We hope a big one.
Get your tickets to A CHRISTMAS CAROL and watch this space!