MAN OF LA MANCHA, THE WIZARD OF OZ & More Set for Barter Theatre's 2014 Season
This year Barter Theatre welcomes audiences for a season filled with stories of hope and connection, those that illuminate truths about the world and those that show the world as it could be. "Even the harshest moments of reality can give us hope and show us that we have the capacity to laugh at ourselves, to change, and to do better by our fellow travelers," said Richard Rose, Producing Artistic Director at Barter. "We believe that the stories we tell can change the world." It all begins January 31st.
First on the bill is a play that takes a look behind the scenes at one of American cinema's most treasured classics. This year marks the 75th anniversary of Gone With the Wind, and while most people probably know the story of Scarlett and Rhett, what about the account of how the film itself got made? "Don't Cry For Me, Margaret Mitchell" turns the story inside out and gives audiences a peek inside the wild week when the producer locked himself, his director and a newly-recruited writer in his office with one outrageous mission: come up with a whole new script in a week. The characters on stage are in for sleepless nights, struggle and sweat as they work toward their deadline, but audiences will be in stitches at their antics.
The show premiered as part of the Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights in 2005 and was a smash hit at Barter the following year. Barter will dedicate this production to the memory of co-playwright V. Cate, who passed away earlier this month. V. Cate and her playwrighting partner Duke Ernsberger are responsible for some of Barter's biggest hits, including last season's "A Visit from Scarface." "Don't Cry For Me, Margaret Mitchell" begins January 31 at Stage II.
Kicking off Barter's Main Stage schedule is the classic, award-winning musical "Man of La Mancha." It's a show with a lot of imagination thanks to the big dreams and ambitions of the "Man of La Mancha" himself, Don Quixote. The musical follows him on his expeditions and adventures as he sets off to become a knight, vanquish his foes and win the love of his beloved Dulcinea. Rick McVey, whom audiences saw last year as Javert in "Les Miserables," will don the sword and helmet in this iconic role.
With a stirring score played by an onstage band, scenes of daring (mis)adventure and breath-taking special effects, "Man of La Mancha" will be packed full of the stage magic for which Barter is known. Performances begin at Barter's Main Stage on February 13.
There is a lot to look forward to beyond the season's premiere, as threads of hope and connection weave through the entire 2014 season. Later this year Barter will present classics like "The Wizard of Oz," "My Fair Lady," and "The Crucible" and see the return of a lovably zany cast of characters in "Welcome Back to Ivy Gap" among the other shows on the roster.
This year will also mark the debut of a new series, Theatre Matters, which invites audiences to connect even deeper with the productions they see at Barter. Barter's plays often tackle topics that are close to the community, and this series gives audiences a chance to have thoughtful conversation about the plays after seeing them. The first Theatre Matters event will be in conjunction with the world premiere of "The Dryad: An Appalachian Tale." This play is set against the backdrop of the chestnut blight, which brought the tree to the brink of extinction. Barter will partner with the American Chestnut Foundation to provide context pre-show and engage in a dialogue with audiences after the play. Later this season, Theatre Matters will host events for futuristic thriller "The Starving" and stirring Civil War drama "The Whipping Man."
Along with the excitement happening on stage, Barter is looking forward to welcoming audiences into an updated dining space at Stage II. The Barter Cafe is being completely renovated and a new menu will debut in 2014. The new space will be a cozy place to stop in and enjoy great food before and after Barter performances, or even to grab a bite when not seeing a show.
There is a lot to look forward to at Barter this year, from new spaces and programs to the outstanding line-up of shows slated for the two stages. Visit bartertheatre.com or call 276.628.3991 to see the full schedule of plays and musicals for 2014 and to purchase tickets.
Season sponsors for 2014 are Alpha Natural Resources, Eastman Credit Union, Food City, Mountain States Health Alliance, and The United Company.