The Best West Virginia Theater Picks of 2013
From murder mysteries to musicals to debut plays, there was a variety of offerings for theater in West Virginia in 2013. Out of many wonderful musicals and plays, five have been selected as truly stand-out productions from the West Virginia theater scene this year.
H2O - Contemporary American Theater Festival
The Contemporary American Theater Festival, located on the campus of Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV, did not disappoint this summer season with a varied offering of five bold, new plays. The standout production of their summer season, however, was the debut play at the festival by author Jane Martin entitled H20. This two person play shows the behind-the-scenes relationship of a famous actor and devoutly religious ingenue he selected to play Hamlet to his Ophelia in a high-profile Broadway revival of Hamlet. The two actors, Alex Podulke and Diane Mair, both gave exceptional performances enhanced by the intimate setting of the venue and intense staging, special effects and fight sequences.
Legally Blonde- Old Opera House
OhmiGod You Guys! This bubbly, pink girl power musical made a "Positive" debut as the fall musical at the Old Opera House in Charles Town, WV. With a talented ensemble of dynamic lead characters, colorful supporting characters, high energy dance numbers and a wonderful message of self-empowerment, Legally Blonde: The Musical was a standout musical for the 2013 season.
Rent- Shepherd University Scene Stealers
Scene Stealers, a student-run musical theater performance group at Shepherd University, was a natural choice to produce Rent, Jonathan Larson's rock-opera about a group of young bohemians struggling to create and survive in the midst of the AIDS epidemic in 1990's Greenwich Village. Their fall production of Rent featured a cast of talented undergraduate Shepherd students and community members with equally strong singing and acting chops to perform this gritty musical.
Rehearsal for Murder- Apollo Civic Theater
This sophisticated murder mystery was a unique choice to present late in the Apollo Civic Theater season in Martinsburg, WV. Rehearsal for Murder is an intelligent and unique "Whodunnit?" show. One year after a play wright's fiance was murdered (on the opening night of his show), he gathers the cast back together to hold a read-thru for his upcoming show....and also holds an investigation to discover who the killer really is. The cast was spot-on to deliver the sharp and witty dialogue and the simple set and costumes allowed the focus to remain on the unraveling mystery.
Les Miserables - West Virginia Public Theater
Victor Hugo's classic novel of the Paris July student revolution came to brilliant life in this debut production of Les Miserables at the West Virginia Public Theater in Morgantown, WV. The sweeping saga was a fantastic production with a talented and versatile cast. Gorgeous 19th century-era costumes and impressive attention to detail made the epic musical a true standout in a summer season stuffed with blockbusters.