Spring is in the air. The crew is busy making preparations for the 55th Summer Season at Pioneer Playhouse. Five crowd-pleasing plays have been selected and auditions are scheduled in New York to acquire professional actors for the 10-week sequence.
This is proof that summer stock theater is alive and well in Kentucky, especially at the state's oldest outdoor drama, Pioneer Playhouse, a distinctive landmark on the outskirts of Danville.
Against all odds, Col. Eben Henson has kept his dream of "Broadway in the Bluegrass" alive since 1950. He cites one major contributor to this success as the participation of groups - civic clubs, churches and businesses. For Henson, the surest sign of spring came recently when Jess Correll purchased 40 patron passes for First Southern National Bank.
This is the third year of such participation by the employees and friends of First Southern, and Henson says the patron's passes are just the tip of the iceberg. "These passes guarantee that 40 people will see six performances, but when a person visits one time, they are hooked," says Henson. "Jess and Angela support this theater in many ways, and it all comes from their interest in the arts. Fortunately we have several groups that have continued to visit the playhouse over the years. This makes me feel like I have really done something worthwhile here."