Kingsport Times News Sunday, August 30, 2015

Possibilities, triumph connect Barter's 2012 shows

January 11th, 2012 4:00 am by Staff Report

From a side-splitting spy thriller to a trio of sassy Southern women to the biblical story of David, there’s a little something for everyone in Barter Theatre’s 2012 lineup of shows.

“Tickets have been on sale since last month, and I am not surprised, given audience feedback on the season, that we are already breaking presale records,” said Lori Hester, director of patron services. “As soon as our season mailer arrived in mailboxes, calls have been pouring in.”

Barter will begin its 2012 season next month with an encore production of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps” at Barter Stage II. The high-energy comedic spy thriller was so popular last season that Barter decided to dust it off for another run.

“Almost all of the performances were sold out over the summer, and we expect the same to be true this time, so I encourage reservations to be made early,” Hester said. “That’s what happens when you mix the talented actors at Barter Theatre with a Hitchcock masterpiece mixed with a juicy spy novel mixed with a full serving of Monty Python. It’s a fast-paced whodunit for anyone who loves to laugh and enjoy the magic of great theatre. The secret agent adventure will have audiences on the edge of their seat and giddy with the humor of four actors playing 150 characters.”

Then, get ready to take care of business with “9 to 5: The Musical.” Dolly Parton’s Grammy-nominated score — featuring such hits as “Backwoods Barbie,” “Cowgirl’s Revenge” and “9 to 5” — is direct from Broadway, and Barter Theatre is one of the first regional theatres to acquire the rights to produce it.

A musical comedy full of laughter and side-splitting Southern sass, “9 To 5: The Musical” follows three women as they scheme to take control of the company where they work. Hilarious and a little romantic, “9 to 5: The Musical” is about joining forces and taking care of business.

Ashley Campos, Tricia Matthews and Erin Parker star in this musical based on the 1980s film starring Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin (the latter of whom just happens to be a Barter Theatre alum).

“Not only do the leading ladies have great chemistry together and a great history with Barter, they have outstanding chops when it comes to singing, dancing and acting,” said Richard Rose, Barter’s producing artistic director. “Get ready for spectacular dance numbers.

“Plus, nearly all of the members of Barter’s Resident Acting Company are in it, so ‘9 To 5: The Musical’ will be grand on every level.”

Next up is Richard Rose’s adaptation of “A Tale of Two Cities,” the Charles Dickens masterpiece. Spies, treason and love abound in this romantic and adventure-filled tale set in London and Paris during the French Revolution.

Rose received rave reviews for his adaptation of “A Christmas Carol,” which played at Barter last year. Among his other adaptations are “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Frankenstein.”

Rounding out the first repertory is a brand new play, “Swamp Gas and Shallow Feelings,” opening March 15.

Director Eugene Wolf calls the music in the show, written by well-known composer Jack Eric Williams and Johnson City native Randy Buck, “melodic and beautiful.”

A Nashville fairy tale of sorts, “Swamp Gas and Shallow Feelings” takes a look at Nashville, the folks behind the music Mecca and the ultimate fulfillment of a life of singing and songwriting.

Rounding out the season are: “Looking Over the President’s Shoulder,” opening May 11; “Legally Blonde: The Musical,” May 19; “The Red Velvet Cake War,” May 31; “Avenue Q,” June 8; “Two Jews Walk Into a War...,” June 20; “Walking Across Egypt, July 31; “The New Musical: David,” Aug. 23; “Zombie Prom,” Sept. 6; “The Sunset Limited,” Sept. 11; “Tarzan: The Stage Musical,” Sept. 14; “October, Before I Was Born,” Sept. 27; “The Wind Farmer,” Oct. 11; Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Goose,” Nov. 20; and “A Christmas Story,” Nov. 23.

“We will continue to offer very different situations, human conditions, styles, themes and talents, but we can identify common threads connecting each of the different shows selected for 2012: possibilities and triumph,” Rose said.

“From the ladies of ‘9 to 5: The Musical’ and their triumph over the glass ceiling to King David in ‘David: The Musical’ and even to little Ralphie receiving his coveted Christmas present, the Red Ryder BB gun — and actually not shooting his eye out — in ‘A Christmas Story,’ each of our protagonists triumph in one way or another.

“While it is a season full of possibilities, it is much more than just fluff. Real issues between fathers and sons, families, believers and non-believers are examined as are how these characters we love triumph over major obstacles internally, externally or of the greater world, and Barter invites everyone to celebrate and cheer their triumphs. Choosing a well-rounded and meaningful season that is enlightening, fulfilling and entertaining has been vital to our programming success and attracting audiences all over the world.”

For tickets or more information on Barter’s 2012 season of shows, call the box office at (276) 628-3991 or visit w w w. B a r t e r T h e a t r e . c o m .

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