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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

Barter Theatre's 2019 season announced

Barter Theatre Resident Acting Company performs scenes from plays from the upcoming season. (Photo by Billie Wheeler)
Barter Theatre Resident Acting Company performs scenes from plays from the upcoming season. (Photo by Billie Wheeler)

By Leslie Grace| A! Magazine for the Arts | December 26, 2018

Barter Theatre announced its 2019 season lineup during an event highlighting from various upcoming productions. The season’s theme is “Love, Laughter, and Passion.”

“Passion, with all of its meanings and implications, best describes Barter’s 2019 season, for it is the basis of almost every character in every play for next year.” said Richard Rose, producing artistic director of Barter Theatre. “Add love, which is much needed in today’s world and laughter which is more important now than ever, and you have a 2019 season perfectly suited to renew our faith in the world and our fellow human beings.”

Barter Theatre’s 2019 season begins in February and features the following shows.

SPRING
The spring lineup on the Gilliam Stage begins Feb. 21 with “Camelot.” Set amongst the mystical forests and striving for the perfect civilization, Camelot tells the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table as they strive to bring goodness and fairness to a world in turmoil and fear. Camelot has won the hearts of generations of musical theatre lovers. The show runs until March 31.

“Madame Buttermilk” begins April 5 and runs until May 11. Country music meets opera in one of the most popular plays to come through Barter’s Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights. Carley, a struggling opera singer, has a dream: to sing the lead in “Carmen.” Her agent thinks she’s found the answer. But Carley finds herself singing at the West Virginia state fair with a country music band call The Car Men.

Barter Stage II begins with “Morning After Grace” Feb. 8 through March 31. Angus and Abigail fall into each other’s lives after meeting at a funeral in Florida. Abigail thinks she may finally be ready to take another chance on love, but Angus has a few issues to work through first. Enter neighbor Ollie, formerly a baseball player for the Detroit Tigers who now enjoys golf and yoga. Nothing is as it seems with this trio and every disclosure reveals a new perspective. This comedy takes you on an unexpected journey toward a new lease on life.

“Twelfth Night” runs April 11 through May 4. Outrageous high comedy ensues as the pangs of unrequited love affect the unforgettable characters of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” While the lovelorn Duke Orsino plots to win the heart of the mourning Olivia, an alliance of servants and hangers-on scheme against the high-handedness of Olivia’s steward, the pompous Malvolio. When Orsino engages the cross-dressed Viola, who has disguised herself as a young man under the name Cesario, to plead with Olivia on his behalf, a bittersweet and hilarious chain of events ensues.

SUMMER
The summer schedule on the Gilliam Stage begins May 17 with “Shrek: The Musical.” Follow the adventures of Shrek, his sidekick Donkey, Princess Fiona, Lord Farquaad and every fairytale adventure you know in this Tony Award-winning musical based on the film. Shrek finds himself on a life-changing journey to rescue the feisty princess with his witty and sarcastic friend, Donkey. Along the way, they encounter a lively cookie, a flirty dragon and a small villain. Can this grumpy, ugly ogre find it in his heart to love someone as ugly as himself? The musical runs until Aug. 10.

“Exit Laughing” runs May 30 through Aug. 10. For this group of genteel southern ladies, the biggest highlight in their lives for the past 30 years has been their weekly bridge night out with the girls. What do you do when one of your foursome, whose caustic wit and love of life makes her the bond that holds the four musketeers together, inconveniently dies? If you’re Connie, Leona and Millie, you do the most daring thing you’ve ever done. You “borrow” the ashes from the funeral home for one last card game; the wildest, most exciting night of their lives.

The summer season at Barter Stage II begins May 10 with “Church Basement Ladies.” The ladies of the local church fortify their flock with love, wisdom and, of course, the food they prepare in the church’s basement kitchen. Bringing their own special brand of humor, the story of the four women, as they organize the food and solve the problems of their church, mixes together music, endearing characters, and side-splitting scenes to serve up a delicious journey. The show runs until Aug. 11.

“La Cage Aux Folles” runs from June 6 through Aug. 10. The musical tells the story of a middle-aged show business couple, grappling with aging, fidelity, kids and holding on to their dignity when the world around them would rather strip it away. At the center is Georges, a St. Tropez nightclub owner, and his husband Albin, who is also the club’s erratic drag headliner Zaza. When Georges’ son gets engaged to the daughter of an ultra-conservative politician, Georges and Albin agree to hide their lifestyle and play it straight to meet the in-laws. All hell breaks loose, as Albin has a different definition of normal that threatens to upend the entire affair with hilarious results.

FALL
Fall on the Gilliam Stage begins Aug. 16 with “Once.” They say opposites attract, but it is their shared love and passion for all things music that draws them together. It is that same spark that drives them into a friendship, collaboration and a love story. “Once” tells an elaborate story with great simplicity with all of the songs from the critically acclaimed film, including the Oscar-winning “Falling Slowly.” The show runs until Sept. 7.

“The Producers” begins Sept. 13. A hotshot Broadway producer, who has lost his luck and his partner in crime, attempts to create and produce the greatest failed Broadway show in history. They plan to raise $2 million, hire the worst director and actors, and choose the most offensive and doomed show. Although it seems foolproof, their plan may not be as smashing as these two clowns hope. The show runs through Nov. 9.

“Wait Until Dark” runs Sept. 26 through Nov. 9. Murder, secret identities and a switchblade named Geraldine set the stage for this white-knuckle thriller. This new adaptation of Frederick Knott’s original mystery is the story of Susan Hendrix, a blind yet capable woman, who is imperiled by a trio of men in her own apartment. As the climax builds to its unknown conclusion, Susan discovers her blindness just might be the key to her escape.

Fall on Stage II begins Sept. 5 with “Maytag Virgin.” When Jack moves in to a house next to Lizzy they find that they have as many things in common as they do differences, and a relationship that begins as a coincidental, neighborly friendship becomes an unexpected journey of self-discovery and healing. The play runs through Nov. 10.

“The Loophole” begins Sept. 19. Darlene and Charlene, twin sisters from South Carolina, steal $20.5 million from the Department of Defense through a loophole. What begins as an accident turns into a seven-year fraud that these middle-aged Baptist women justify. The play runs through Nov. 9.

CHRISTMAS
The Christmas season on the Gilliam Stage begins Nov. 15 with “White Christmas.” A timeless tale of joy and goodwill filled with Irving Berlin’s songs, topped off with dancing and lots of snow makes this a show a holiday classic for all audiences. Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is the story of Bob and Phil, two showbiz buddies putting on a production in a picturesque Vermont Inn after World War II. In the bargain, these two meet their perfect mates, who happen to be sisters. The show concludes Dec. 29.

“Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol” opens the Christmas season on Stage II Nov. 20. Finally we get to hear the tale of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” told from Marley’s perspective. Desperate and locked in a torment of his own creation, Marley gets one chance for redemption. He must redeem his former partner, Ebenezer Scrooge. This begins a journey of laughter and terror, redemption and renewal, during which Scrooge’s heart is certainly opened, but not before Marley discovers his own. The show runs through Dec. 22.

“The Santaland Diaries” runs Nov. 27 through Dec. 29. This outrageous holiday comedy stars Crumpet, a rebel without a Claus, who recounts his true-life tale of being an out-of-work writer doing a stint as a Macy’s department store elf. His encounters, as an Elf during the season of forced joy, have become a cult classic for those in need of a holly-jolly antidote. David Sedaris’ sharp and hilarious observations have become one of the nation’s most popular holiday shows.

The Barter Players
The Barter Players are a group of professional artists who perform for young audiences. The troupe presents high-energy and original productions that capture the imagination of today’s youth. They provide the best in classic literature and beloved story adaptations infused with a combination of education and entertainment. They are committed to bring world-class theater to young people of all ages and backgrounds.

“The Princess and the Pea” begins in April. The Queen wants her son, Prince Harold, to marry, but Harold has yet to find a princess whom he can love. Then the beautiful maiden Marigold appears at the castle door, and Harold realizes he has met his match. But can Marigold pass the Queen’s test and detect the pea placed under her mattress?

“Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat” runs April through May. From the moment his tall, red-and-white-striped hat appears around the door, Sally and her brother know that the Cat in the Hat is the most mischievous cat they have ever met. With the trickiest of tricks and craziest of ideas, he is certainly fun to play with and he can turn a rainy afternoon into an amazing adventure.

“James and the Giant Peach” runs May through June. From the author of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” comes a story of imagination. James, an orphan, is sent to live with his horrible aunts, Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker. His adventure begins when he finds an enormous peach in their yard filled with scores of talking insects. Little does he know that this peach and its passengers will take him on a journey across the globe and bring him fame and fortune beyond his wildest dreams.

“The Little Mermaid” runs June through July. It is Syrena’s long-awaited 16th birthday the day she is finally allowed to swim to the ocean’s surface and glimpse the world surrounding it. While on her visit there, she saves the life of a human the handsome Prince Caspian and falls in love with him. But the sea-witch has other plans for the prince plans that could destroy them all. Is the Little Mermaid prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her true love?

“Tarzan” runs July through August. When Kerchak, the leader of the Great Apes, discovers a human baby in the jungle, his first instinct is to be rid of him. But Kala, his wife, insists on adopting the boy instead, naming him Tarzan. As Tarzan grows up, he struggles to prove his worth to his ape friends and family. Then one day, he meets a beautiful explorer named Jane, and learns the truth about his past.

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is on stage October through November. Sleepy Hollow, a village haunted by the legendary Headless Horseman, has a new schoolmaster, the somewhat hapless and extremely superstitious Ichabod Crane. When Ichabod tries to win the hand of the beautiful Katrina Van Tassel, he makes an enemy of her former suitor, the brawny Brom Bones. Brom vows revenge and, one dark and spooky night, Ichabod finds himself in for the ride of his life.

“‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” concludes the season running November through December. It’s Christmas Eve, and Clem has no money to give his family presents or even to pay his rent. He puts his children to bed, believing there is hope for a Merry Christmas. “Then out on the lawn there arose such a clatter” and a truly magical night begins that Clem and his family will never forget.

Topics: Theatre