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Kingsport Theatre Guild announces shows for 72nd season

Holly Viers • Jun 2, 2019 at 9:00 AM

KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Theatre Guild has planned a full slate of classics, comedies and musicals for the upcoming year.

The 2019-2020 season, announced publicly at Saturday night’s season reveal gala, includes 14 shows, one more than last season. As in the past, most shows will be performed at the Renaissance Center theatre, while four will be exclusive to KTG’s downtown series.

“We’re so excited,” said Tina Radtke, executive director of KTG. “I think this is going to be our best season yet.”

“West Side Story” (Aug. 9-18)

The only show to have been announced before Saturday, “West Side Story” is one of five musicals in the lineup this season, Radtke said. It tells the story of a modern-day Romeo and Juliet, who are caught up in rival gangs in New York.

“110 Stories” (Sept. 6-15)

“This is a very special one. This is stories collected from people who were involved with or impacted by 9/11,” Radtke said, adding that the show contains strong language due to the emotional subject matter. “We are working on a grant for sponsorship to where first responders will be able to see any performance of this for free. That’s very important to us.”

This drama will be performed as part of KTG’s downtown series. On Sept. 11, actors will stage a free performance for the public at the Kingsport Center for Higher Education.

“Miss Nelson is Missing” (Sept. 13-22)

The students of Room 207 are in for a surprise when they discover their teacher, Miss Nelson, is nowhere to be found. As students deal with the tough-as-nails substitute, Viola Swamp, they embark on a mission to find their missing teacher.

“I grew up reading this, and I read all the ‘Miss Nelson’ books to my kids, so I’m super excited about that one,” Radtke said, adding that actors will stage a special school showing along with the public performances.

“Murder on the Orient Express” (Oct. 4-13)

A part of KTG’s downtown series, this play tells the story of a luxurious train that stops in its tracks just after midnight. By the morning, one passenger is murdered, prompting a detective to try to solve the case before the murderer strikes again.

“Everybody loves a good murder mystery,” Radtke said. “It’s very similar to our ‘Murderous Crossing’ that we did this past year.”

“The Crucible” (Oct. 25-Nov. 3)

This 1953 play is a fictionalized account of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Massachusetts Bay Colony during 1692.

“ ‘The Crucible’ is such a classic,” Radtke said. “We’re very excited about that one. It will have a school show, as well, because they’re required to read that. So why not see it come to life?”

“Scrooge the Musical” (Dec. 13-22)

This production follows the familiar plot of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” in which the grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge undergoes a profound experience of redemption over the course of a Christmas Eve night. There will be a school showing along with the public performances, Radtke said.

“I’ll Never Be Hungry Again” (Jan. 3-12)

“It’s about a young black man sitting in English class being forced to read ‘Gone with the Wind.’ … He doesn’t read it until the last minute and he falls asleep reading it,” Radtke said. “So then he has this dream where he is in that setting as a young black man. It’s ‘Gone with the Wind’ experienced from the other side, basically.”

A musical, this show will be performed as part of KTG’s downtown series and contains some strong language.

“Glass Menagerie” (Jan. 17-26)

This tells the story of Amanda Wingfield, who is originally from a genteel Southern family but now lives in a dingy St. Louis apartment with her son, Tom, and her daughter, Laura, who is handicapped.

“It’s a classic; everybody knows ‘Glass Menagerie,’ ” Radtke said. A drama, this show will also have a school showing.

“Southern Fried Funeral” (Feb. 7-16)

After a death in the family, the surviving relatives are left to pick up the pieces, assuming they don’t kill each other first.

“It’s a comedy, and it’s hilarious,” Radtke said. “The little snippet that we did for the gala, I laugh until I cry every single time. So that’ll be a lot of fun.”

“Rainbow Fish/Billy Goats Gruff” (March 6-15)

“This is a big one,” Radtke said, adding that there will be a school showing. “We may or may not do ‘Billy Goats Gruff’ with it, because they’re coming out with a new script (for ‘Rainbow Fish’), a bigger script, and we will be one of the first to use it. It is a musical based off the kid’s book, ‘Rainbow Fish.’ ”

“A Streetcar Named Desire” (March 27-April 5)

A part of the downtown series, this play follows Blanche DuBois, a schoolteacher from Kentucky, who arrives in New Orleans and takes a streetcar named Desire to the French Quarter. Seeking refuge from her personal losses, she visits her sister, Stella, and her husband, Stanley, in their lowly New Orleans apartment.

“Greater Tuna” (April 18)

A one-night-only fundraiser show, Radtke said there will be two performances, with a silent auction and reception between shows. The play spotlights small-town morals and mores in Tuna, Texas.

“It will be done by the same two guys who did ‘A Tuna Christmas’ this past season,” Radtke said. “That’s a lot of fun.”

“Rent” (May 22-31)

Set in the East Village of New York City, this well-known musical follows a year in the life of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

“This is my big one,” Radtke said. “I’m super excited about ‘Rent.’ ”

Tickets

Tickets are available starting June 2. To purchase tickets for any of the shows, visit kingsporttheatre.org.

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