The Brooke Hills Playhouse opens its 41st season this Friday, June 1, at 8 p.m. with J. M. Barrie's beloved children's classic, "Peter Pan." The play will continue June 2, 8 and 9 at 8 p.m. and June 3 and 10 at 2 p.m. Patrons can make reservations by calling the Playhouse at 304-737-3344. The day after opening, the Playhouse will hold auditions for the last two major productions of the summer.
Director Julia Barnhart of Wellsburg said "Peter Pan" was chosen to open the season because of its quality, name recognition and production challenges. "'Peter Pan' has been thrilling and entertaining audiences for over a hundred years, and just about everyone knows the name," Barnhart said. "Whether it's through Barrie's original novel or play, the Broadway musical, the Disney animated feature, or even the peanut butter, 'Peter Pan' is a household name," Barnhart said.
Barnhart said there are other practical reasons for presenting "Peter Pan" first. "Last year, we did another effects-heavy J. M. Barrie play, 'Mary Rose,' in the middle of the season, and we were working on effects up to opening night," Barnhart explained. "By opening the season with our most complex production, we got a head start on all the work that had to be done to make this show work the way it should," she added.
"'Peter Pan' is more like a musical in terms of the number of sets, scene changes and special effects required to do justice to the script," Barnhart said. "In addition, the play has a cast larger than most musicals, with a lot of people of all ages on stage in many scenes," she noted.
The day after "Peter Pan" opens, the Playhouse will hold auditions for "The Mousetrap," a classic Agatha Christie murder mystery, directed by Diana Mendel of Wellsburg, and "Leading Ladies," a comic farce by Ken Ludwig, directed by Russ Welch of Wellsburg.
Auditions for both plays will begin at 11 a.m. at the Playhouse. No preparation is necessary. Actors will be required to read excerpts from the scripts. Anyone unable to audition on June 2 should contact the Playhouse at (304) 737-3344 by June 1 to make other arrangements.
"The Mousetrap" will be presented Aug. 3-4 and 10-11 at 8 p.m. and Aug. 5 and 12 at 2 p.m. "Leading Ladies" takes to the Playhouse stage Aug. 24-25, and Aug. 31-Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. and Aug. 26 and Sept. 2 at 2 p.m.
"Peter Pan" will be followed by the Playhouse's second main stage production, "The Dixie Swim Club" by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, to be presented June 22-23, 29 and 30 at 8 p.m. and June 24 and July 1 at 2 p.m. It will be followed by "Zombie Prom," with music by Dana Rowe and book and lyrics by John Dempsey, July 13-14 and 20-21 at 8 p.m. and July 15 and 22 at 2 p.m.
In addition to the five main stage productions, the Playhouse will offer a series of "Spotlight" productions on the weekends between the major shows. The first of these, "The Marvelous Wonderettes," will be presented June 15-16 at 8 p.m. and June 17 at 2 p.m. A readers' theatre production of James Montgomery's comedy, "Nothing but the Truth," adapted by Charles Calabrese, has been scheduled for Aug. 17-18 at 8 p.m. and Aug. 19 at 2 p.m.
Tickets for Brooke Hills Playhouse For non-musical plays are $10 for adults, $8 for students, senior citizens and groups, and $6 for children under 12. Musicals are be $12 for adults, $10 for students, senior citizens and groups, and $8 for children under 12.