A few weeks ago, I was working on our website with Britt Kaufmann (who did a fantastic job- you can see it by clicking here) and she asked me if there was anything that tied together our current season. I didn’t have an answer.
You see, in the theatre world, there has been this notion that seasons of plays and musicals are tied together by a common theme. This is a notion that I have always struggled with. It seems to me, especially in this day and age, theatre-goers could care less about the theme of a season. Most of the time people want to know if the play is funny or not, or if they recognize the title, if the story sounds interesting, or if a certain performer will be in it, and things like that. In other words they want to know how the play will connect to them viscerally. In the past whenever I have asked been asked this question about the Parkway Playhouse seasons, I have always come up with something that is meaningful but always abstract.
So what does this season at the Parkway Playhouse mean?
Well, it means if you like theatre, you should perhaps consider a season pass. You can get those by clicking here.
But in terms of a theme, I think you will find that what connects these plays together is our audience, our performers, and our collective sense of community. Many of these plays are new- Mama Won’t Fly, Outlander, Between the Tackles– some are quite familiar- Huck Finn and Jim in Big River; Scrooge and Marley return for A Christmas Carol. Perhaps the biggest surprises are the stories that are not new but are being told in a new way – 9 to 5 and Romeo & Juliet. It is a diverse season, and while a thematic through line doesn’t bind them up in a way that is neatly marketable, the plays tell the stories of people like us. They are ordinary people on special days: a road trip from hell with your high-maintenance mom, and your ditzy soon-to-be-sister-in-law in the silly misadventure Mama Won’t Fly; the connections forged between man, mountains, traditions, and the land in Gary Carden’s eloquent Outlander; three women who take the initiative (and some well-earned revenge) to make their corner of the world a better in Dolly Parton and Patricia Resnick’s ebullient musical adaptation of the film 9 To 5; the paths of the backsliding Huckleberry Finn and a runaway slave intersect in Big River to tell a story of triumphant underdogs, courage, and friendship; the passionate whirlwind that grips Romeo and Juliet on an ill-fated journey in a noir-ish re-telling set in the era of Facebook and text messages; the deep bond of three men whose friendships have transcended wives, girlfriends, jobs, and is celebrated and renewed each football season with hilarious rituals and deeply felt affection; and finally we end with an invitation to reflect and reinvent as we follow Ebeneezer Scrooge through one of the most powerful stories of personal reinvention in A Christmas Carol.
It is my hope that you, who are reading this, will find a way to engage in the telling and reliving of these stories. Whether it is through buying a ticket, volunteering, or auditioning and performing in them.
So while I was not able to come up with something that tied everything together in a tag line about the shows. I did suggest that our tagline of LOCALLY GROWN NORTH CAROLINA THEATRE. You can read what that means by clicking here.
Of course, if you are reading this, you might already know these things about our theatre or the shows we are doing. It is my hope then that you will invite someone else to visit our website and read this blog ,and most importantly join us….
Our season kicks off with the Parkway Playhouse Jr. troupe’s production of Alice in Wonderland on April 20/21 and then a week later the North Carolina premiere of Mama Won’t Fly arrives.
See you at the theatre- SOON!