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West Virginia Public Theatre's Summer 2009 Season Runs From 6/23-8/9, MY FAIR LADY And HSM Among The Lineup

West Virginia Public Theatre’s Founder and Executive Producer Ron Iannone has announced the line-up for the 2009 summer season, which runs June 23 through August 9, 2009.  WVPT will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary Season and has, once again, lined up another summer filled with “Broadway’s best” productions.

Broadway favorite My Fair Lady begins the summer season and runs June 23rd through June 28th.  This Lerner and Loewe musical tells the story of Eliza Doolittle (played by Broadway’s Renée Brna), a Cockney flower girl who takes speech lessons from Professor Henry Higgins (Broadway’s Randy Kovitz) so that she can pass as a lady. Higgins then takes credit for Eliza's success, but she realizes that she can now be independent and does not need him.  Debuting on Broadway in 1956, My Fair Lady has spurred a major motion picture starring Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn, numerous revivals, and features such memorable musical numbers as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” and “On the Street Where You Live.”  My Fair Lady also stars Broadway veteran Drew Taylor as Eliza’s father Alfred P. Doolittle.  Directed by Broadway veteran and WVPT Associate Artistic Director Michael Licata.

Audrey II, the man-eating plant, returns to WVPT after a fifteen year absence in the Broadway comedy/thriller Little Shop of Horrors, which runs June 30th through July 5th.  Starring National Tour, Off-Broadway, and Regional veteran Kate Fahrner as Audrey and Broadway veterans Bob Arnold (Mushnik), and Michael Edward Hodge (Audrey II Manipulation), this musical favorite written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken—the team behind such Disney favorites as Aladdin and The Little Mermaid—tells the story of a nerdy florist shop worker who raises a plant that feeds on human blood. The musical was based on the low-budget 1960 black comedy The Little Shop of Horrors, directed by Roger Corman. The music, composed by Menken in the style of 1960s rock and roll, doo-wop and early Motown, includes several show-stoppers including "Skid Row (Downtown)", "Somewhere That's Green", and "Suddenly, Seymour", as well as the title song.  Last year’s Max Bialystock in The Producers, Robert Anthony Jones, plays the leading man, Seymour Krelbourn. Directed by WVPT favorite and Morgantown native David S. Sollish and choreographed by Morgantown resident Liz Rossi.

Making its WVPT debut is the teen musical sensation Disney’s High School Musical, which runs for two weeks at the WVU Creative Arts Center: July 8th through July 12th and July 15th through July 19th.  This musical phenomenon with life both on screen and on stage is a story about two high school juniors from rival cliques – Troy Bolton (Brian Hissong), captain of the basketball team, and Gabriella Montez (Heidi Giberson), a beautiful and shy transfer student who excels in math and science.  Together, they try out for the lead parts in their high school musical, and as a result, divide the school. Despite other students' attempts to thwart their dreams, Troy and Gabriella resist peer pressure and rivalry, inspiring others along the way not to "stick with the status quo."  High School Musical features such memorable numbers as “Bop to the Top” and “We’re All in this Together.”  Directed by Broadway’s Joe Deer and choreographed by WVPT alumnus Chris Saunders.

Continuing WVPT’s commitment to educating audiences through the presentation of legendary American plays, Doubt, A Parable will be presented in the Gladys Davis Theatre at the WVU Creative Arts Center from July 14th through July 19th.  This Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play by John Patrick Shanley, details the struggle of Sister Aloysius (Alison Edwards), a Bronx school principal, who takes matters into her own hands when she suspects the young Father Flynn (Duke Lafoon) of improper relations with one of the male students. WVPT’s production stars Therese Plummer, from TV’s Law and Order, as Sister James. Directed by WVPT Producer Ron Iannone with Associate Director David S. Sollish.

The third straight WVPT debut will be the Tony Award nominated musical The Wedding Singer running from July 21st through July 26th.  Based on the 1998 film of the same name starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, this Matthew Sklar musical chronicles the story of rock-star wannabe Robbie Hart (Broadway’s Kevin Kraft and Jerry from WVPT’s The Full Monty): New Jersey's favorite wedding singer. He’s the life of the party - until his own fiancée leaves him at the altar. Shot through the heart, Robbie makes every wedding as disastrous as his own. Enter Julia (Erin Elizabeth Coors from the national tour of The Wedding Singer), a winsome waitress who wins his affection. Only trouble is Julia is about to be married to a Wall Street shark, and unless Robbie can pull off the performance of the decade, the girl of his dreams will be gone forever.  Set in 1985 the score features music that harkens back to the Reagan-era in such numbers as “It’s Your Wedding Day,” “Saturday Night in the City,” and “Come Out of the Dumpster.” Also starring Broadway’s Virginia Seidel as Rosie, The Wedding Singer is directed by Michael Licata and choreographed by WVPT alum Laura West-Strawser.

Returning to the WVPT stage July 28th through August 2nd is the American musical classic Fiddler on the Roof.  Last seen in 2001 starring Broadway and opera legend Spiro Malas, this Harnick and Bock musical narrates the tale of Tevye (played by Carmine from TV’s Laverne and Shirley, Tony nominated actor Eddie Mekka), the milkman and his attempts to maintain his family and religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives. He must cope with both the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters—each daughter's choice of husband moves progressively further away from established customs—and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts the Jews from their village.  Fiddler features such classic Broadway songs as “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Tradition,” and “Matchmaker.”  Directed by WVPT veteran Geoffrey Hitch and choreographed by Chris Saunders.

Wrapping up the 25th Anniversary Season and returning for the second time in four seasons is WVPT’s biggest hit: the Andrew Lloyd Webber dance musical Cats, which runs August 4th through August 9th.  Once the longest running musical in Broadway and London history, the Tony Award winning Cats puts to music and dance the poems of T.S. Eliot.  The cats of the Jellicle tribe gather to see who will be chosen to journey to the “Heavyside Layer.”  Webber’s score features Broadway favorites such as “Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats” and “Memory.”  Directed and choreographed by Broadway’s Stephanie Lang, who directed WVPT’s Cats in 2006.

West Virginia Public Theatre’s line-up is as follows: My Fair Lady: June 23—June 28; Little Shop of Horrors: June 30—July 5; Disney’s High School Musical: July 8—July 12 and July 15th—July 19; Doubt, A Parable: July 14—July 19; The Wedding Singer: July 21—July 26; Fiddler on the Roof: July 28—August 2; and Cats: August 4—August 9.  Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 8:00 P.M., with matinees on Wednesday and Sunday at 2:00 P.M.

Season tickets are available along with single tickets.  Discounts for students and children are also available. Special “Anniversary Day” tickets are available for $15.00 on opening nights and $20.00 RUSH tickets are available for all other performances.  Special July 4th weekend prices are also available for Little Shop of Horrors performances on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  For tickets, call (304) 291-4122 (or toll free at 1-877-999-WVPT) or visit the WVPT box office in the WVU Creative Arts Center between 8:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. Monday through Friday.  WVPT performs at the WVU Creative Arts Center, which is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible.  More information can be obtained from WVPT’s website: www.wvpublictheatre.com.

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