News

That's a Wrap!

We so enjoyed having all of you in our theatres this summer!  Thank you for your tears and laughter, and for singing along, and for joining us for Talkback Tuesdays, Wine Wednesdays, Food Truck Fridays, and our Fourth of July picnic.  That was a first for Heritage and it was a blast!

Thank you to our 2017 Sustaining Sponsors: The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation and The University of Virginia College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, and thanks to our 2017 Season Sponsors: The University of Virginia Department of Drama, The University of Virginia Arts Council, and the University of Virginia Office of The Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.  Many thanks to our Presenting Sponsors: 1st Dominion Title, BB&T, Charlottesville Settlement Company, The Compassionate Care Initiative of the UVA School of Nursing, Ednam Title, Michael Shaps Wineworks, Monticello Title, Real Estate III Title, Travinia Italian Kitchen, and Woodard Properties Developer of West 2nd and to our Media Sponsors: CBS19 News, C-Ville Weekly, WINA, WTJU, and WVPT.  Additional thanks go to our Community Sponsors: Clowns Without Borders, Payne Design Group, WNRN, and all of our volunteers. 

Heritage Theatre employed over 100 people to bring our summer season to you.  This talented group of artists, technicians, artisans, designers, actors, stitchers, directors, musicians, dressers, front of house staff, stage managers, and administrators worked tirelessly to create and present our season to you and we are so proud of the works they created!  Thank you 2017 Heritage Theatre Festival company – you rock!

Next year will be our 44th season and we hope you will join us for Jenny Wales’ (our new Artistic Director) inaugural season!

 

Friday August 4 performance of Barry Lubin as "Grandma" is cancelled

Barry Lubin has been delayed in his travel from China to Charlottesville and will not arrive in time for his Friday, August 4 performance.  We sincerely regret to inform you that the Friday, August 4, 7pm performance has been cancelled.

Ticket holders for that performance are being contacted by our box office staff to inform them of the cancellation and let them know how to exchange their tickets or receive a refund.  If you are a ticket holder for the Friday, August 4 performance of Barry Lubin as "Grandma," please look for an email from the UVA Arts Box Office for more information.

Tickets are available for both the matinee and evening performances on Saturday, August 5!  Join us!

 

"Grandma" is Coming to Heritage Theatre Festival

INTERNATIONAL CLOWN HALL OF FAME MEMBER AND FACE OF THE BIG APPLE CIRCUS BARRY LUBIN TO BRING ONE-PERSON SHOW TO RUTH CAPLIN THEATRE FOR PERFORMANCES ON AUGUST 4 AND 5

Performances To Be Accompanied By a Series of Clowning Lectures and Interactive Workshops
Featuring UVA’s Tim Cunningham and LaVahn Hoh

Heritage Theatre Festival has a message for fun lovers of all ages: Batten down the hatches, fire up the funny bones, because “Grandma” is coming to town!

International Clown Hall of Fame member Barry Lubin is bringing one of the modern circus world’s most iconic and beloved characters to the Ruth Caplin Theatre for three performances of his acclaimed one-person show.  Lubin’s “Grandma” has delighted audiences around the world for more than a quarter century with an array of antics that prove laughter is our most universal language.

Tickets for Barry Lubin as “Grandma” are $20 for adults and $10 for students and children, and are available at www.heritagetheatrefestival.org or by calling 434-924-3376.

Barry Lubin enjoyed five seasons traveling with Ringling Bros. and a three-year standup comedy stint before his remarkable 25-year Big Apple Circus run. He has brought everyone’s favorite “Grandma” to audiences in theatres, on television, in festivals, and in other circuses in America, Europe, and Oceania. He is well known to American television audiences from his frequent appearances on national programs incluing Prime Time Live, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, and Late Night with David Letterman, among others. He was inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame in 2002, the Sarasota Ring of Fame in 2012, and the International Circus Hall of Fame in 2016. Barry received the Lou Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. He was given only the 5th Legend of the Parade Award in the history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, where he was featured in 15 appearances both live and on NBC.  Earlier this year, Barry sailed to Antarctica and did a show on the Antarctic Peninsula, becoming the first clown in history to have performed on all seven continents.

Heritage Theatre Festival will also offer a number of presentations and workshops where the public can learn about and even participate in the art of clowning.

On Friday August 4, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m., in McLeod Hall Auditorium, Tim Cunningham, who has a joint appointment with the UVA School of Nursing and the UVA Drama Department and who has worked around the globe with Clowns Without Borders, will lead an interactive discussion of the role of humanitarian clowns and their work in and outside of medical environments. The UVA School of Nursing Continuing Education will award 1 contact hour for nurses who participate in this educational activity and then complete the post-activity evaluation. The presentation will be followed by a reception.

On Saturday, August 5 at 9:00 a.m., internationally-renowned circus historian and UVA Drama Professor Emeritus LaVahn Hoh will present “Circus in America,” a whirlwind spin through the American circus scene.

Hoh’s presentation will be followed by “Clown Camp” from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. The hands-on, free interactive workshop with the Clowns Without Borders performers is designed for kids from 5 to 105. The event is open to the public but space is limited. Registration information can be found at www.SignUpGenius.com/go/5080949AFAE28A7F58-clown.

The morning’s presentations will conclude with “Behind the Nose” at 11:30 a.m., an interactive discussion on the role of clowns in the hospital world presented by Tim Cunningham and his colleagues from Clowns Without Borders.

Parking for Heritage Theatre Festival performances is available at the Culbreth Road Parking Garage, conveniently located alongside the theaters.

Interview with Robert Chapel

Welcome back to the blog! Today we managed to track down the elusive Bob Chapel and were able to ask him a few questions about his production of Company, which runs through Friday!

Hi Bob! Congratulations on a wonderful opening weekend! The buzz around the show is already amazing, and we wanted to do a quick follow up with you to learn a little more about you and the creative team’s process. You've been an integral part of the Heritage Theatre Festival for many, many years now - what was the process like when it came to deciding to direct Company? Did you bring the show to Colleen Kelly? Or was it something she wanted to do and knew you were the one for the job?

Colleen selected the show.  She called me up and asked if I would like to direct it and I said “yes."

Simple as that! That’s great. You and the designers have set the show in the 1970s - when the musical was originally written. What about the show made you want to ground it in that period?

Although the show is centered around the institution of marriage and deals with issues that are as relevant today as way back when, there are certain references that are very 1970s — “Will you call me tomorrow, or my service will explain” and scenes such as the dope smoking scene that would seem a bit dated were the show to be set in today’s world.  I also believe that there is less pressure to “be married” today than it was in the 70s.  The last production of the show on Broadway was a radical rendition with the cast also playing the instruments on stage.  I decided I wanted our audience to see what is a bit closer to what they would have seen when it was originally produced.  It was the show that really started to propel Stephen Sondheim onward to his extraordinary successes.

Company is a deeply personal musical, interlaced with a lot of wild characters and some pretty whacky moments - what work have you had to do with the cast to balance the comedy with the drama?

I always want my actors to play the truth — whether playing comedy or seriously dramatic moments (of which there a few in “Company”).  Comedy is very serious business and if actors commit to the moment, the situation, chances are the comedy will shine through.  I fortunately have a company of actors who understand this completely.  I am pleased with our comic moments and our serious moments throughout the evening.

So trusting the script and the performances to make that happen, that’s great. And now a little soft-ball: what has been your favorite part of working on Company this summer?

Working with this extraordinary cast — not only very talented but also very nice people.  Every day was a pleasure from beginning to opening night.

Thanks Bob, and congrats again on such a wonderful production. We wish you and the cast many broken legs for the rest of the run!

If for some reason you haven’t yet, go ahead and grab tickets from the box office tab at the top of the page!

Baskerville soars! And Company is waiting in the wings!

Can you believe it?! Only a week and a half until Heritage Theatre Festival says so long (farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye) to our 2017 season. It’s been awhile since we checked in with you all here, these last two Main Stage shows have taken a ton of effort from everyone around the festival, and if you can make it out to see them, we think you’ll understand why!

Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, is in the middle of its ALMOST ENTIRELY SOLD OUT run right now. And the audience feedback has been amazing. As you may have seen we’ve even had to add another performance this Saturday! Don’t miss this show! It’s a wonderful, madcap adventure, full of laughs and thrills, and one of the more technically intricate shows we’ve put on. Our production of Baskerville has over 200 technical cues, more than 100 costume changes, and features an entirely original score by Composer and Sound Designer Michael Rasbury. Tech week was especially crazy for this one! But now that it’s on its feet and running the production has been a true joy for all involved. Check out the box office link above to snag tickets for you and your friends.

While you’re there, don’t forget to get your tickets for Company, directed by the one and only Robert Chapel. Bob has assembled an exceptionally talented group of actors, designers, and technicians to tackle the challenge of a Steven Sondheim musical. While our production is set in the 70s, the themes it presents are timeless and several songs are considered to be among the best in all of musical theatre. Late last week the cast of Company got together with the orchestra to do what is known as Sitzprobe, a full sing-thru of the musical making sure that the actors and the orchestra are on the same page. Then right from that tech started! Moving platforms, magic candles, you name it and this show has it. Tech week has gone excellently here, and Thursday is the final dress rehearsal (basically a practice performance); after that Company is off to the races - and we couldn’t be happier. One of the actors said to us “all the show needs now, is an audience.” That’s where you come in dear readers! Get your tickets for Company here!

This is normally where we’d sign off, but like an old infomercial “There’s MORE!” Closing out our 2017 season is Barry Lubin as “Grandma” - one of the signature clowns of The Big Apple Circus. We also have a few other events on the topic of Clowning and the wonderful impact it can have on many different aspects of our lives - check out our Facebook page or the special events page on our website for more details! Well that’s it for us! Hope to see you at the theatre this weekend!

Heritage Theatre Festival to present Stephen Sondheim's Musical Masterpiece COMPANY

HERITAGE THEATRE FESTIVAL TO PRESENT
STEPHEN SONDHEIM’S MUSICAL MASTERPIECE COMPANY

OPENING JULY 28 AT CULBRETH THEATRE

Sondheim’s Groundbreaking 1970 Musical Explores Many Sides of Commitment Through Story of Bachelor on His 35th Birthday And the Lessons He Learns From the Couples Around Him

Featuring All-Time-Classic Sondheim Songs Including “Being Alive” and “The Ladies Who Lunch”

Directed by Former Heritage Producing Artistic Director Robert Chapel

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – July 21, 2017 – Heritage Theatre Festival is wrapping up its 2017 season with one of the all-time classic American musicals when it presents Stephen Sondheim’s Company.  The production will be directed by longtime Heritage Producing Artistic Director Robert Chapel, returning to HTF for the first time since his retirement in 2015.

Company, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth, will be presented in the Culbreth Theatre from July 28 through August 4.  Tickets for Company are $30 if purchased before July 28 and $35 if purchased on or after that date.  Student/Child tickets are available for $15 regardless of when purchased.  Tickets for this and all 2017 Heritage Theatre Festival shows are available at the UVA Arts Box Office (located in the lobby of the Drama Building), online at www.heritagetheatrefestival.org or by phone at 434-924-3376.

Company, first presented on Broadway in 1970 when it earned a record-setting 14 Tony nominations and won six Tony Awards, is the story of Bobby, a bachelor celebrating his 35th birthday on the outside looking in at the world of relationships and commitment.  Revolutionary at the time as one of Broadway’s first non-linear musicals, Company was originally conceived by Furth as 11 different one-act plays.  The plays and the subject matter, a no-punches-pulled look at upper-middle-class New York marriages, appealed to Sondheim.  He shared them with legendary Broadway producer Hal Prince, who agreed there was indeed a musical there.

In each vignette, Bobby is surrounded by different couples he knows, and he gets and shares an intimate an unvarnished look at their various relationships while they look back at him and his carefree independence with a good bit of envy.  The show is Sondheim at his brilliant and often caustic best, featuring a treasure trove of unforgettable numbers including “Being Alive,” “The Ladies Who Lunch,” “Marry Me a Little,” “Side by Side by Side,” and more.

While Company marks the end of the “official” 2017 Heritage season, there is a special treat in store for audiences of all ages when International Clown Hall of Fame member Barry Lubin, the face of the Big Apple Circus, brings his iconic and irrepressible character “Grandma” for performances in the Ruth Caplin Theatre on August 4 and 5.

Parking for Heritage Theatre Festival performances is available at the Culbreth Road Parking Garage, conveniently located alongside the theatres.

Nathan Whitmer as Robert (left), Timothy Read as Larry, and Lydia Horan as Joanne.

Heritage Theatre Festival to present Ken Ludwig's BASKERVILLE: A SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY

The game is definitely afoot this summer at Heritage Theatre Festival thanks to its upcoming production of Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery – opening July 22 in the Ruth Caplin Theatre.

Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, directed by Colleen Kelly and Marianne Kubik, will be presented in the Ruth Caplin Theatre from July 22-29. Tickets are $25 if purchased before July 22 and $30 if purchased on or after that date. Student/Child tickets are available for $15 regardless of when purchased. Tickets for this and all 2017 Heritage Theatre Festival shows are available at the UVA Arts Box Office (located in the lobby of the Drama Building), online at www.heritagetheatrefestival.org or by phone at 434-924-3376.

The world’s most famous detective and his trusty sidekick Watson face down their most notorious case of all in this madcap retelling of the ultimate Victorian whodunit from the “mastermind of mayhem” Ken Ludwig. A stunningly nimble cast of five takes on nearly 40 characters, coming on and off stage almost as quickly as the twists and turns of this delightfully complex plot, as Holmes and Watson race against time to crack the mystery of The Hound of the Baskervilles before a family curse dooms its newest heir. The intrepid investigators’ search for the (anything but elementary) truth comes complete with a dizzying web of clues, outlandish accents, disguises, and deceit.  Does a wild hellhound prowl the moors of Devonshire? Can our heroes discover the truth in time?  Can costume changes really be that fast?  These and many more questions are just waiting to be answered!

Co-director Marianne Kubik said she was drawn to the story by its deft mixing of comedy and drama. “Ken Ludwig puts the entire Hound of the Baskervilles plot into this story,” she said. “But the unique thing that really starts to move it into the more madcap comic realm is that he has taken five actors and dispersed them across 38 roles. Two of these actors spend the entire play as Holmes and Watson. So there is a lot of energy and excitement in seeing these remaining three actors playing these multiple roles, often in the same scene. Then you add the fact that this is set in Victorian times and features period costumes and you have full costume changes that are happening sometimes in 20 or 30 seconds.”

Those changes, Kelly said are nothing new to Heritage Costume Designer Dorothy Smith, a veteran of the “Tuna” plays that proved a hit with Heritage audiences and featured only two actors in a similar number of roles.

The pace and complexity is hardly conveyed by sets and costumes alone, Kelly said, but falls largely on the show’s cast. “In addition to costume changes, our actors are often doing scene shifts,” she said. “They may carry a chair into a scene, or they may suddenly grab a door and walk through it.  They are really creating the environment or the audience.”  These added responsibilities plus a summer season rehearsal schedule made casting particularly important, she said.  “Both Marianne and I wanted to work with actors we knew and trusted, people we knew we could start with on day one, since we didn’t have the time to figure out how to work together.”

The cast includes UVA Drama MFA students Michael Miranda and Sam Reeder and Drama faculty member Denise Stewart, a Heritage audience favorite from roles in shows including Shear Madness.  Playing the roles of Holmes and Watson are Mark Jeter and Jeremy West.  “Not only do I know them and have worked with them,” Kelly said, “but they have also worked together before and really understand how each other works.”

Another element that is helping to set the many scenes is an original soundscape for the show created by Sound Designer and UVA Drama Department faculty member Michael Rasbury.  “Michael has composed an underscore of music for the entire show,” Kubik said.  “So you have chase music for a chase scene, for instance, and danger music when the hounds are imminent.”  The soundscape is complemented by a visual landscape created by Lighting Designer R. Lee Kennedy and Set Designer Batul Rizvi.   “The challenge from the beginning was how do we create this world in which the actors can tell this story, from the danger of the hounds and the moors to the creepiness of Baskerville?”

Despite the many moving parts and the extensive preparation that goes into a production like this, the goal, Kubik said, has remained simple. “What we want to do with this show is to thrill the audience.  That could be the thrill of suspense, of danger, or of comedy.  Because this is definitely a comedy, but it is also Sherlock Holmes, so there is plenty of real suspense there as well.  I think there are plenty of thrills to go around.”

The 2017 Heritage Theatre Festival will continue with the classic Stephen Sondheim musical Company, featuring all-time classic Broadway hits like “Being Alive” (July 28-August 4 in the Culbreth Theatre). Putting an exclamation point on the season’s proceedings this summer will be International Clown Hall of Fame member Barry Lubin, the face of the Big Apple Circus, who will bring his iconic and irrepressible character “Grandma” for performances in the Ruth Caplin Theatre on August 4 and 5.

Parking for Heritage Theatre Festival performances is available at the Culbreth Road Parking Garage, conveniently located alongside the theaters.

Meeeeeet Robbie Flanagan!

*Hype Horn Sound* Meeeeeet Robbie Flanagan! An integral part of our amazing costuming department that is currently working overtime to make sure that the madness that is Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville goes off without a hitch. Read on to learn more about him!

What is your job here at Heritage?

I am the Costume Design Assistant for Heritage this summer. I assist all the costume designers on the shows this season-- taking notes in fittings, keeping budgets on track, making sure actors feel comfortable. A lot of my job is talking and making sure nobody completely loses their mind. Along with that, I also do the finance work for the costume shop. I create expense reports and track all purchases that circle through the shop on a system called Chrome River. All I have to say about that is that Chrome River is a cruel mistress.

How did you first get involved in theatre? When did you realize that it was something you wanted to be a part of for the rest of your life?

My first taste of theatre was in first grade. My teacher wrote a musical about marine life and I played the starfish. I sang "It's my Party"-- the classic diva song by Leslie Gore. Of course I absolutely loved it and have been hooked every since. Now-a-days, I don't act as much. I am exploring pretty much everything else--costume design, directing, arts administration. Where I will end up.... who knows.

What is your favorite play or musical?

I have always wanted to play Edna Turnblad in Hairspray. The music, the dancing, the spectacle of it all. CLASSIC. I hear Harvey Fierstein in my DREAMS. I mean, how can you not? Truly legendary.

What is your favorite thing to do in Cville?

I went to karaoke at Wild Wings Cafe and had a blast. Definitely something to do with a group while in Cville. You don't even have to sing... the atmosphere is what makes it fun. I, personally, love dancing to the sounds of the not-so-trained vocalists.

What is your favorite non-theatre related activity?

I love to kayak. Back home in Boston, I go kayaking on the Charles River whenever I can. It's amazing to just be on the water and rowing along.

Desert island questions: you can only bring the following to a desert island, what do you choose:

-Book-- Fallen by Lauren Kate (It's basically Twilight with Angels. Judge me)

-Movie-- Clue. I could watch Madeleine Kahn as Mrs.White for HOURS. "Flames... on the side of my face"

-TV show-- Nurse Jackie

-Two food items-- Pizza and Pasta (I love carbs)

What show are you most looking forward to this season?

Due to the amount of pure insanity, I am most looking forward to Baskerville

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Wars.... is that even a question?

Marvel Comics or DC?

Marvel. Love me some Tobey Maguire Spider-Man.

Dogs or Cats?

Dogs. Cats always hate me.

Coke or Pepsi

Pepsi. My mother would be ashamed of me if I ever said I preferred coke.

Company Member Profile - Hannah Bergere

We’re back at it again with another Company Member Profile! This time it is our pleasure to introduce you to Hannah Bergere. Recently of Elon University and now one of our kickbutt stage managers. Read on to find out more!

1) What is your job here at Heritage?

Production Stage Manager for Middletown & Baskerville. I'm in the rehearsals basically making sure everything goes as planned and stays on track. I'm constantly taking notes on what changes in rehearsals and documenting everything. Once we get into technical rehearsals and performances I'm the one calling the light and sound cues so that everything can look and sound like it's supposed to on stage. It's a lot of fun!

2) How did you first get involved in theatre? When did you realize that it was something you wanted to be a part of for the rest of your life?

I started acting in middle school, and during high school I discovered tech. I became a stage manager my senior year of high school and fell in love. I then chose to go to college for stage management, and the rest is history!

3) What is your favorite play or musical?

Next to Normal. I have stage managed it, but I also just love the show. I'm partial to rock musicals.

4) What is your favorite thing to do in Cville?

This is my first time in Cville, so I've loved exploring, especially finding all the great places to eat!

5) What is your favorite non-theatre related activity?

Getting off of work and hanging with friends, and also binging Netflix shows!

6) Desert island questions: you can only bring the following to a desert island, what do you choose:

-Book- If I'm allowed a series... it would definitely be Harry Potter.

-Movie- Forrest Gump

-TV show- Gilmore Girls

-Two food items- Peanut Butter, Mac & Cheese (but I wouldn't eat them together)

7) What show are you most looking forward to this season?

I'm biased but... Baskerville!

8) Star Wars or Star Trek

I've never seen either fully.... but Star Wars

9) Marvel Comics or DC?

Marvel!

10) Dogs or Cats?

DOGS!

11) Coke or Pepsi

Coke!

 

It's really all happening now!

It’s really all happening now at Heritage! Over these past few days we hit that unique point in our season where every single show we are presenting this summer was being worked on in one way or another throughout the building. Middletown had a wonderful closing weekend of performances, while Woody Guthrie’s American Song opened their run! Meanwhile in other corners of the building Chapatti (which opens THIS WEEKEND) was in tech, Baskerville was in the midst of rehearsals (running scared from Giant Hounds and changing costumes), and Company was having their very first music rehearsal. It’s all hands on deck here at Heritage, and the building has never felt so alive. Every department is busy from lights, to props, to box office (click the link above to make sure they stay busy).

But while we work hard at Heritage, we think you’ll agree that it’s also important to take opportunities when possible to kick back, relax, and celebrate a little. So last Thursday night with that mantra in mind we all charged off to Travinia Italian Kitchen and Bar, following the preview performance of Woody Guthrie’s American Song. Once we arrived we were treated to a wonderful selection of pasta dishes and appetizers, not to mention two very skilled bartenders. It was a wonderful moment for everyone to chat about the season so far and what was still to come.

Not satisfied with just one event involving food, we were already back to stuffing our faces yesterday on the 4th of July, when we held a “Hot Dog Cookout” following our matinee performance of Woody Guthrie’s American Song. Widely regarded King of the Grill, Steve Warner was back out in full force serving up all kinds of hot dogs to patrons and company members alike. A great kick off to all of our Independence Day celebrations!

Now, I can’t end this blog without giving a quick shout out to the amazing work that is happening in our Helms Theatre, at this very moment. Chapatti which we mentioned opens this weekend, is a touching love story between two neighbors in the latter years of their lives. This is a small and very personal show and we couldn’t imagine a better powerhouse trio to be handling it than Richard Warner, Judith Reagan, and Doreen Bechtol. There is a special magic that can happen in a rehearsal room when you bring together people who not only love their craft, but have successfully devoted their lives to it, as these three have done. Written by Christian O’Reilly, this show will touch, delight, and remind you of the beauty of connection. Read more about it in this lovely UVA Today Article.

Thanks again for stopping by, and we’ll see you at the theater!

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