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Volume 26, Number 5 — May 2019

Barter Theatre announces biggest season ever plus a new venue

Richard Rose (center) announces the new season.
Richard Rose (center) announces the new season.

November 26, 2014

Barter Theatre unveils the schedule for the 2015 season, creating the biggest season in the history of the theatre. "We are inspired about the 2015 season. This season is guaranteed to have something to offer everyone," says Producing Artistic Director Richard Rose. "You'll laugh out loud, be touched, be frightened, sing along and ultimately be wildly entertained. It is one of our best line-ups ever."

To accommodate this season, Barter unveiled an additional venue by featuring five shows in The Tent on the Barter Square. With the Barter Main Stage, the intimate 167-seat theatre at Barter Stage II, The Tent helps broaden the reach of the theatre experience by offering audiences a wider array of shows and themes.

Barter Theatre opens the 2015 season in February featuring "Anything Goes" on the main stage. Other winter plays include "The Miracle Worker" on the main stage. It's the true story of the Annie Sullivan the "Giver of Light"- and her blind and mute student, Helen Keller.

"The Road to Appomattox" is on Barter Stage II. It's 150 years ago, and General Robert Lee is fleeing Richmond, hoping to rearm the Army of Northern Virginia and mount a campaign to retake Richmond. It's also 2015 and Steve "Beau" Weeks decides to retrace the steps of Lee's army in hopes of finding his roots through his family's history.

"The Gnome," the winner of Barter's 2014 Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights, premieres on Barter Stage II. Barry works at All-Mart and lives with this brother, the cop, and secretly desires his brother's wife, Yvonne. Things are not going well for Barry when suddenly, a Gnome appears and transforms everyone's life, but not without consequences.

"The Starving," from Barter's Shaping of America Series, is on Barter Stage II. It's the not-so-distant future and massive food shortages have led to the unthinkable: the young have risen up against the old, and society has split along generational lines.

The comedy, "Love, Sex and the I.R.S." comes to Barter Stage II. Twists of fate, mistaken identities and a host of wit fill the story of Jon Trachtman and Leslie Arthur, two out-of-work musicians sharing an apartment. To save money, Jon has been filing tax returns listing the pair as married. The day of reckoning arrives when the I.R.S. informs them that they are being investigated.

Summer performances include the big summer musical, "Mary Poppins," on the Main Stage.

Barter revisits the characters in "Southern Fried Funeral," with "Southern Fried Nuptials," on the main stage. The only thing funnier than a Southern funeral is a Southern wedding. The charmingly funny Freye family is back, and this time they are going to get married. Or maybe not? The engagement of Attie VanLeer and Harline Frye has been on again, off again more times than a drunken frat boy on a mechanical bull. Now half the town has been invited, the dress has been fitted, the flowers have been ordered and the gifts are piling up in the living room. Will they or won't they?

"Mary's Wedding" is on Stage II. It's the evening of Mary's wedding, a night filled with dreams: dreams of love, dreams of war and dreams of what might be. When Mary and Charlie, filled with the passion, vulnerability and impulsiveness of youth, unexpectedly find one another sheltering in a barn during a thunderstorm, a tentative love is born.

Another different kind of love story is at Stage II with "The Understudy." A story with a humanistic look at people trying to do what they love in the face of obstacles that mount until all anyone can do is dance.

"The Marvelous Wonderettes," a musical, is at Stage II. With classic pop music from the "50s and "60s, this musical takes you to the 1958 Springfield High School prom where we meet The Wonderettes, four girls with hopes and dreams as big as their crinoline skirts.

The fall offers a world premiere of Catherine Bush's adaptation of "The Three Musketeers" on Barter's Main Stage. A story of double crossing, kidnappings, and carefully guarded secrets with lavish sword fights and sweeping romance, it is set in a time when honor and love ruled the world.

"Curtains! A Murder Mystery Musical Comedy" is on the Main Stage. It's the opening night of a new musical that could be on its way to being the next Broadway smash, when its talentless leading lady dies on opening night during her curtain call. The entire cast and crew are suspects. Enter Lt. Frank Cioffi, who has a secret affinity for musical theatre, to investigate.

"I'll Be Back Before Midnight" comes to Barter's Stage II. Jan has recently had a nervous breakdown. Her husband Greg has rented an old farmhouse in the country where she can recover. Is the farmhouse haunted? Is she having another breakdown? Is someone trying to drive her mad?

"Confessions of a Liar," a world premiere Appalachian play, is on Stage II. There are lies we tell ourselves, and lies we tell others — just to make it through the day. In walks one such convincing and compelling liar: Coal. Four people all Coal spin this Southern yarn of a hard-knock childhood in a sleepy mining town.

More music comes to Stage II with "The Doyle and Debbie Show." Doyle Mayfield, a once beloved country star has found his newest star (whom he met last month at the VFW), Debbie #3. This country music spoof has audiences raving.

Barter's holiday performances include "Miracle on 34th Street" on the main stage and "Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol" on Stage II.

Five shows will be at The Tent on Barter Square. They include "Stonewall Country," featuring Robin and Linda Williams. An irreverent story chronicling the life of Stonewall Jackson, the story is told through bluegrass, folk and old-time country music.

"Keep on the Sunny Side: The Songs and Story of the Original Carter Family" is Barter's most requested show. A. P., Maybelle and Sara Carter are brought to life in this look at the lives and music of the Carter Family and the historic Bristol Sessions recordings.

"The Boy in the Box" is a world-premiere play by Sean O'Leary. Allard Charles, age 102, has long played the role of a minor celebrity due to the fact that he spent the first 15 years of his life confined by his mother in a box. Now that he hasn't long to live, Allard has decided that he must use this speaking engagement to reveal the darkest secret of his life in the box.

"Murder Ballad" is a steamy exploration of the complications of love, the compromises we make and the betrayals that undo us. This story is filled with pop-rock tunes and a sexy, explosive, rock musical score.

"The Santaland Diaries" by David Sedaris is recommended for mature audiences due to language and subject matter. The holiday comedy stars Crumpet, a rebel without a Clause who recounts the true-life tale of an out-of-work writer's stint as a Macy's department store elf.

2015 Season PassBooks are on sale at a reduced rate through the end of the year. Season PassBooks offer savings up to 52 percent off single ticket prices, and are available in four packages. Season PassBooks range in price from $99 to $249. For more information, visit or contact the box office, 276-628-3991.

Topics: Theatre