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Plenty of Laughs Also On Agenda Thanks To Trio of Comedies, Red, White & Tuna,
 Pump Boys and Dinettes and Moonlight and Magnolias

Season Marks Return to Popular Rep Format Offering More Chances for
Summer Travelers To Catch Every Show AND HT Launches Secure Online Ticket Ordering

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – May 11, 2009 – Theatre lovers looking for a little bit of everything this summer will find it at Heritage Theatre Festival.  One of Charlottesville’s most beloved professional summer theatre traditions, HTF has announced a 2009 season filled with familiar favorites, family fun and uproarious laughs.

It all begins on June 25 when HTF kicks things off with one of the theater world’s ultimate family classics, Oliver!  The beloved rags-to-rags-to-riches story offers the perfect platform from which to jump into a summer that showcases what the magic of the theater is all about, from beloved musical comedies to a family drama that has touched hearts on stage and screen alike.

The season will also include:

  • The hottest and most hilarious horticultural sensation ever to hit theatres, Little Shop of Horrors

  • Deep fried southern strums, twangs and laughs in Pump Boys and Dinettes

  • Fabulous farce in the hilarious old time Hollywood sendup Moonlight and Magnolias

  • A trip to the woods of Maine and the Thayer family in the moving and enduring On Golden Pond

  • A round trip to the wackiest little town in Texas in Red, White & Tuna

“After a successful summer last year that featured a continuous parade of Tony and Pulitzer award-winning plays and musicals, we are going back to our roots in a variety of ways in 2009,” said Heritage Theatre Festival Producing Artistic Director Robert Chapel.

“These are times in which it is more important than ever to feed our souls, and that is what great theatre is all about. In fact, the more I think about this season, the more I see a theme of feeding and nourishment.  You have young Oliver, who dared to ask for more food to satisfy his hunger. In Little Shop of Horrors, you have a man-eating plant who can’t help but feed an insatiable appetite for flesh and blood.  You have Pump Boys and Dinettes, set partially in a backwoods diner where moon pies are the specialty of the day, every day.  Moonlight and Magnolias is an hilarious comedy about what happens when a legendary Hollywood producer locks himself, his writer and his director in a room for five days to rewrite Gone With the Wind, fueled by a diet of peanuts and bananas.  In On Golden Pond, we see what can happen when people turn away from the complications of the real world and let nature feed their souls.  And in Red, White & Tuna, you’ve got a cast of characters so wacky that you’re likely to leave the theater hungry from all the laughing!”

Those who don’t want to wait until July to satisfy their appetites for Heritage Theatre Festival are invited to join in a special Kick-Off Party on July 13th at 8PM in the Helms Theatre.  There, Chapel will introduce some of the summer’s star performers in an hour-long performance followed by a coffee and dessert reception in the Culbreth lobby, catered by Clifton Inn.  Tickets for the event are $30, and will be available online at www.uvahtf.org beginning on June 1 and by phone (434.924.3376) and in person starting June 8.

Now, back to the show(s)…!

Oliver! will once again leave audiences wanting “more” when it hits the Culbreth stage for a ride through the seedy underworld of 19th Century London and reacquaints them with its cast of remarkable characters.  From the sinister Fagan to tragic and lovely Nancy to the cunning Artful Dodger and the sweet-hearted and-voiced title character, these characters are propelled by a score chock-full of Broadway’s greatest songs in one of the theater world’s all-time family classics. Catherine Ogden who gave such a memorable performance in Heritage’s production of Ragtime will be back this summer as the tragic heroine of Oliver, Nancy.

Oliver!, directed by Robert Chapel, will be presented at Culbreth Theatre from June 25-27, June 30 and July 1-3.

Want directions to an evening of great fun and great music?  Set your GPS to Highway 57, between Frog Level and Smyrna.  It’s where you’ll find the Pump Boys & Dinettes, a silly, swinging story of a sassy duo of singing diner waitress sisters and their song swapping, beer-guzzlin’ good ol’ boy neighbors.  It’s a whole night’s worth of toe-tapping tunes celebrating the simple pleasures of small town country life, from fresh pecans to farmer tans and more!

Pump Boys & Dinettes, directed by Renee Dobson, comes to Helms Theatre on June 30, with performances continuing from July 1-4 and July 6-11.

Moonlight & Magnolias is a fabulous farce that shows what might have happened if Hollywood super-mogul David O. Selznick tried to rescue the script for Gone With the Wind by locking himself in a room with his writer and director for five straight days to rescue the troubled script just in time for filming.  And they did it all fueled by a diet of only peanuts and bananas! Nuts and bananas are particularly appropriate terms for the fast-paced, hilarity that ensues in this off-the-wall comedic gem.  One of Charlottesville’s favorite sons, Dave Cupp, will be returning to our fair city to play Gone With the Wind’s director, Victor Fleming.

Moonlight & Magnolias, directed by Douglas Sprigg, will be presented at Culbreth Theatre from July 9-11 and on July 28, 31 and August 5.

Take a summer sojourn deep into real nature while getting a fascinating glimpse of human nature in the timeless classic On Golden Pond.  Marvel at the power of love to melt the heart of even the crustiest curmudgeons among us and the power of family to both drive us apart and bring us back together in the course of a single memorable summer.

On Golden Pond, directed by Robert Porter, comes to Culbreth Theatre from July 16-18 and on July 27, 29, August 1, 3 and 6.

Heritage audiences have long been hankerin’ for a return trip to the tiny town of Tuna, Texas since their first trip in the production of Greater Tuna.  Now is their chance.  The town is all aflutter thanks to an upcoming high school reunion, which predictably brings out the best, and worst, in all its citizens.  Two of HTF’s favorite actors/comedians, John Paul Scheidler and Evan Bridenstine use their lightning quick minds and equally quick costume changes to play more than 20 men, women, children and even animals in this side-splitting satire.  You’ll be glad you visited!

Red, White & Tuna, directed by Robert Chapel, comes to the Helms Theatre from July 21-25, 27-31, on August 1 and from August 4-8.

“FEED ME!”  They’re two of the most memorable words in modern theatre history, and they’re set to be sung again at Culbreth Theatre by the most famous man-eating plant ever to grace the stage.  Little Shop of Horrors is the story of down-on-his-luck plant store clerk Seymour who sees this out-of-this-world carnivorous herb as his ticket to fame, fortune and true love.  Throw in a delightful Motown-inspired score, a simple-minded and pure hearted leading lady and a sadistic biker/dentist, and you’ll see why audiences across the world have cheered this show on for decades.  You’ll see a whole new sadistic side of HTF favorite Rob Marnell as Bill Sykes in Oliver! and the biker/dentist in Little Shop.

Little Shop of Horrors, directed by Geno Carr, comes to the Culbreth Theatre from July 23-25, from July 23-25 and on July 27, 30, August 4, 7 and 8.

Tickets for the 2009 Heritage Theatre Festival season will go on sale on Monday, June 8 2009.  Season and single-show tickets will be available online at www.uvahtf.org and in person at the Culbreth box office and by phone at 434-924-3376.

For more information on the upcoming 2009 season at Heritage Theatre Festival, visit www.uvahtf.org.

Heritage Theatre Festival Publicist-
John Kelly
John Kelly PR

Last Updated on May 11, 2009