West T. Hill theater announces silver anniversary season

July 26, 2004

West T. Hill Community Theatre opens its 25th anniversary season in September with the period drama "Dancing at Lughnasa." A special silver anniversary celebration also is planned for September, and the rest of the season plays out across the drama, comedy and musical theater genres.

"Most of the plays were chosen because they were so well-received during the Play Reading Week in March," said Karen L. Logue, managing director for WTHCT. "That week is a good tool for us.

"We wanted to have a blockbuster season for the 25th anniversary, and we've worked very hard for that. There's comedy (in the season), a very intriguing, haunting drama, ethnic diversity with an Irish play, and opportunities for children of all ages."

The strong season schedule moves WTHCT in the direction it wants to go.

"We want to move forward instead of backward," Logue noted. "We're having bigger seasons all the time rather than sitting on our laurels."


Here's a look at West T. Hill Community Theatre's 25th anniversary season:

Sept. 10-12 and 17-19: "Dancing at Lughnasa," by Brian Friel

"This play is said to be the most inspiring and haunting drama since Tennessee Williams' 'The Glass Menagerie,'" Logue said. "It is the story of five Irish spinster sisters living together in a small, remote village in the 1930s. The story is told through the narration of the illegitimate son of one of the younger sisters. He recalls his rearing with fondness and expresses his love for the women who "saved" his life in giving up theirs. The story unfolds as the Festival of Lughnasa is about to begin and plans are being made to attend.

Sept. 25: 25th (Silver) Anniversary Gala Celebration

"Join us as we celebrate with dining and special entertainment at the Centenary Family Life Center," Logue said. "Meet with us as we reminisce and look forward to our next quarter century of 'educating, entertaining and enlivening participants on both sides of the curtain.'"

Oct. 29-31 and Nov. 5-7: "Dark of the Moon," by Howard Richardson and William Berney

"This was an incredible Broadway and London hit on the stage. It is a powerful, fantasy-like piece set deep in the Smoky Mountains. It is intimate, intense and strangely moving," Logue said.

A beautiful girl, Barbara Allen, becomes the object of affection for a young witch boy. His fellow "Conjur people" and local witches add to the list of characters. Their culture, antics and this story have become a fearsome legend in American theater.

Dec. 3-5 and 10-12: "Here's Love," with book, lyrics and music by Meredith Willson

"This is the musical version of 'Miracle on 34th Street,' and the book, lyrics and music are written by Meredith Willson of 'The Music Man' fame," Logue said.

"This is a joyous musical for the season about the Macy's Department Store Santa and the little girl who insists she doesn't believe in him," Logue explained. "This warm production should inspire a wave of holiday love and kindness that will teach us all yet again the true meaning of Christmas."

Feb. 4-6 and 11-13: "On Golden Pond," by Ernest Thompson

"On Golden Pond" is the love story of Ethel and Norman Thayer, made enormously popular by Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda on the movie screen.

"He is a retired professor, nearing 80, with a failing memory, but still very tart-tongued," Logue noted. "Ethel, 10 years younger, delights in the small things of life and adores their relationship. She relishes their many years together, hoping for just one more summer on the lake to hear her cherished loons."

The play takes place in the summer at their lakeside cottage. There is a surprising visit from a youngster dropped off to them by their estranged daughter. "It is a comedic, simple and beautiful story of lasting love and respect," Logue added.

March 14-18: Annual Play Reading Week

"Come together and help us choose our next season," Logue said. Some of the scripts to be read this year are "Our Town," "Mrs. McThing," "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "The Odd Couple," "The Impossible Marriage," "Deathtrap" and "The Little Foxes."

April 23 (tentative date): Mystery Dinner Theatre

"Held at Two Roads Restaurant, this has become an anticipated annual event," Logue said. Participants can join actors from WTHCT "for an incredible meal as you become a sleuth for an evening. Help your dining partners discover the culprit while watching West T. Hill players dramatize the characters in these fun and original whodunits."

May 7-8 and 13-15: "Cheaper by the Dozen," dramatized by Christopher Sergel from the book by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

"This show is a timeless, classic, family comedy based upon the very large Gilbreth family," Logue explained. "Set in the 1920s in New Jersey, this founded-on-fact play has, over the years, been one of the most performed stage productions across America. The story is currently experiencing modern success as it has been adapted yet again for the big screen.

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