News

Heritage Theatre Festival Names UVA Grad Jenny Wales as New Artistic Director

Danville Native Is Longtime Actor, Educator, and Arts Administrator; Most Recently Served As Associate Producer and Director of Education and Outreach for PlayMakers Repertory Company at UNC

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – May 15, 2017 – The University of Virginia Department of Drama has announced the appointment of UVA alumna Jenny Wales as the new Artistic Director for Heritage Theatre Festival.  The announcement was made by interim Heritage Artistic Director and Drama Department Chair Colleen Kelly at a reception to kick off the upcoming HTF season.

Wales, a Danville, Virginia native, is a 1998 graduate of the University of Virginia, and earned a Master’s Degree in acting from the Alabama Shakespeare Festival/University of Alabama.  She has appeared in productions in New York and at regional theatres across the country.  Wales relocated from New York to Chapel Hill, and in 2011 joined PlayMakers Repertory Company.  As Associate Producer and Director of Education and Outreach, Wales played a key role in leading the organization during an unprecedented period of growth.  Wales’ wide range of roles included producing six mainstage and three second stage productions each year, spearheading the acclaimed PRC2 series, which combines each performance with a post-show discussion, acting as the company’s casting director, leading successful major grant applications, participating in creative marketing efforts, and continuing to develop and expand PlayMakers’ award-winning education programs.  Wales taught undergraduate and graduate drama classes while at the University of North Carolina, in addition to guest lecturing in departments including Political Science, African, African American and Diaspora Studies, Communication Studies, American Studies, Geography and Psychology and Neuroscience.

 “We are so happy to welcome Jenny Wales back to Grounds and back to the Drama Department,” Kelly said. “Her keen artistic sensibilities, unique array of talents and unbridled enthusiasm make her the perfect candidate to lead Heritage into the future, and we all look forward to working with and supporting her in those efforts.”

“I am excited, humbled, and honored to have the opportunity to give back to and serve the University of Virginia community that has given me so much,” Wales said. “The University, and specifically the Drama Department, taught me so much about who I wanted to be as an artist, and clarified the importance of being a citizen scholar. I look forward to honoring the Heritage legacy by pioneering a new path for the future.”

The timing of the appointment, Wales said, only adds to her excitement. “There is a robust opportunity, with so much change happening across UVA, from the search for a new president to the arrival of Matthew McLendon as the Director of the Fralin Museum of Art and a soon-to-be announced new Director for the Charlottesville Symphony at UVA. This is a great time on the Grounds for us to reinvent, to find new partnerships, and to reimagine how we as artists intersect with the University and Charlottesville communities.”

The 2017 Heritage Theatre Festival season will open in the Ruth Caplin Theatre on June 23 with Middletown, playwright Will Eno’s flippant-yet-poignant look at the ways in which the residents of an American small town battle life’s absurdities as they strive to live “normal” lives. The season will continue with Woody Guthrie’s American Song, highlighting the life and songs of one of our nation’s most beloved and inspirational troubadours; Chapatti , the endearing tale of a late-in-life pair who discover unexpected second chances; Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, a madcap comedy whodunit in which five actors play over 40 characters; Steven Sondheim’s classic musical Company; and a special season ending treat courtesy of International Clown Hall of Fame member and the face of the Big Apple Circus Barry Lubin, who will reprise his beloved “Grandma” character for a riotous romp of a one-man-show!

Heritage Theatre Festival Announces 2017 Season

HERITAGE THEATRE FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2017 SEASON

Charlottesville’s Most Beloved Summer Theatre Tradition To Continue With Lineup To Include Middletown; Woody Guthrie’s American Song; Chapatti; Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, and The Return of Bob Chapel Directing Sondheim’s Classic Company

Audiences of All Ages To Get Post-Season Treat With One-Man-Show By Internationally-Acclaimed Circus Star Barry Lubin And His Beloved “Grandma” Character of Big Apple Circus Fame

Auditions to Be Held On Saturday, February 25

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – February 13, 2017 – This summer, Heritage Theatre Festival audiences can look forward to a season that combines exciting new discoveries, an American musical treasure, madcap mystery and one of the theatre world’s most beloved modern musicals.  And as if that is not enough, Heritage is throwing in a postseason treat in the form of a one-person-show by a circus legend who has brought his iconic act to all seven continents!

Heritage will kick off its 43rd year with playwright Will Eno’s Middletown, a flippant-yet-poignant take on small town life in the most average of the average hamlets, where the population and elevation are both stable, and the main street is called – you guessed it –  Main Street! Yet the more we see the townsfolk battle life’s absurdities in their efforts to become “normal” human beings,  the more we can see ourselves in those battles in a play that takes us a long way from Wilder’s Grover’s Corners, and often right to the heart of what it means to live and love in our world today.

Middletown will be presented in the Ruth Caplin Theatre from June 23 through July 1.

The resilience and tenacity of the human spirit comes to life in Woody Guthrie’s American Song. This ensemble musical presents a collection of the legendary writer and performer’s inspiring folk anthems, which were written in response to the trials of the depression era in America, yet continue to reflect all times and speak to all people. The show was conceived and adapted by Peter Glazer and features orchestrations and vocal arrangements by Jeff Waxman.

Woody Guthrie’s American Song will be presented in the Culbreth Theatre from June 30-July 8.

Two late-in-life neighbors searching for homes for their respective pets find an unusual bond in Chapatti, a touching drama from Irish playwright Christian O’Reilly. The production will mark a reunion of another sort as recently-retired Drama faculty members Richard Warner and his wife Judith Reagan take the HTF stage together for the first time since the 1992 production of A Moon for the Misbegotten.

Chapatti will be presented from July 6-15 in the Helms Theatre.

There is nothing elementary about Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery. The classic game is afoot, but the players may well outnumber the clues in Ludwig’s madcap adventure featuring five actors playing 40 characters. Join Holmes and Watson as they brave the desolate moors before the Baskerville family curse dooms its newest heir.

Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery will be presented in the Ruth Caplin Theatre from July 22-29.

Robert Chapel, who retired in 2015 after 29 years at the Heritage helm, returns this summer to direct Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical Company. Featuring such Sondheim classics as “The Ladies Who Lunch” and “Being Alive,” Company tells the story of Robert, a confirmed bachelor who on the night of his 35th birthday begins contemplating his unmarried state. After a hilarious array of interactions with advice-giving married couples and temporary girlfriends, Robert finds himself questioning his commitment to bachelorhood. The show features music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by George Furth.

Company will be presented in Culbreth Theatre from July 28-August 4.

This year Heritage audiences are in for a an extra dose of fun courtesy of Barry Lubin, an international circus star who has peddled his particular brand of hilarity as “Grandma,” the iconic face of the Big Apple Circus, for 25 years. Inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame in 2002, and the Sarasota Ring of Fame in 2012 (the highest honor in the American Circus), Barry was the recipient of the Lou Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. Last year he literally went where no clown has gone before when he became the first clown ever to have performed on all seven continents! In addition to performing his acclaimed show in the Ruth Caplin Theatre on August 4 & 5, Barry will also join UVA’s acclaimed resident clown Tim Cunningham and some of his fellow merrymakers for a series of workshops on the art of clowning.

All shows are pending final acquisition of rights.

Auditions will be held for the 2017 Heritage Theatre Festival season on Saturday, February 25, 2017 between 9:30-4:00 in the UVA Drama Building at 109 Culbreth Road. Information on the auditions is available at www.heritagetheatrefestival.org.  Those unable to attend this on-site audition may submit a video audition with headshot and resume by March 15 to: heritage@virginia.edu.

Heritage’s 2016 season subscribers will receive information on how to renew their subscriptions for the 2017 season in early April.  New subscription sales will begin April 17, and single tickets will go on sale June 9. For more information on the upcoming summer season and how you can support Heritage’s efforts, visit www.heritagetheatrefestival.org.

Heritage Theatre Festival to Wrap Up 2016 Season with Hilarious One-Man Show "The Wonder Bread Years"

HERITAGE THEATRE FESTIVAL TO WRAP UP 2016 SEASON WITH HILARIOUS ONE-MAN SHOW THE WONDER BREAD YEARS

Love Letter to Growing Up in 1970s America Created and Performed By Seinfeld and Tonight Show Writer Pat Hazell Takes Audiences Back to Lawn Darts, Family Station Wagons, and More

Opens August 2 at the Ruth Caplin Theatre

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – July 21, 2016 – The 2016 Heritage Theatre Festival season will close on a hilarious and nostalgic note with the acclaimed one-man-show The Wonder Bread Years. Written and performed by Seinfeld and The Tonight Show writer Pat Hazell and opening August 2 at the Ruth Caplin Theatre, the show is a comedic and wistful love letter to growing up in the simpler times of 1970s America.

As a former writer for Jerry, George, Elaine, Kramer, and Co., Pat Hazell knows how to make something funny out of nothing. In his acclaimed The Wonder Bread Years, Hazell is the highly-entertaining chaperone on a “field trip back in time.” This nationally touring one-man show is a warm and funny salute to Americana and a nostalgic and comedic love letter to Baby Boomers everywhere that comes complete with tales of Country Squire station wagons, lawn darts, Big Wheels, Eskimo Pies, and a sense of wonder that is much needed in today’s world. Seinfeld himself calls the show “milk-snortingly funny.”

The Wonder Bread Years, starring Pat Hazell, will be presented at the Ruth Caplin Theatre from August 2-6 at 8pm, and on August 6 at 2pm. Tickets are $25.00 if purchased prior to August 2, and $30.00 if purchased after that date. Student tickets are $15.00. Tickets are available online at www.heritagetheatrefestival.org, by phone at 434-924-3376, or at the UVA Arts Box Office, located in the lobby of the Drama Building.

“I generally look at this show as an homage to our sense of wonder, where we lost it, and how we get it back,” Hazell said. “I discovered when I was doing The Tonight Show that my sense of humor was often very reflective, and that I was really charmed by the holidays and cereal prizes and riding in the back of the station wagon, and people seemed to latch onto this. That is where I found my voice as a standup comic, and this is an extension of that, with a little bit of multimedia, some family slide shows, some film strips, and a general setting that is familiar to a lot of folks in terms of flashing back to simpler times. The show really hits a sweet spot for anyone who is wanting to go back into the attic in their mind to look through all their favorite memories.”

The show’s success, Hazell said, can be tied largely to the great appeal of storytelling. “I think that storytelling is contagious,” he said. “If you think about when you sit down to dinner at Thanksgiving or another time, what happens is one person tells a story that reminds somebody of another story, and it goes from there. The take-home value of this show is that people think of all the toys and games and jingles and recipes that were specific to their own lives. That generates a certain amount of joy, and that nostalgia is generally associated with something evocative that allows them to share the stories with somebody else.”

Hazell particularly enjoys the fact that this audience engagement means that no two shows are ever the same. “The audience comes on board and sometimes will tell a story that makes the people around them say ‘You never told me that!’”

The Heritage Theatre Festival is hosted by the University of Virginia Department of Drama, and the Heritage 2016 Season is presented by The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the UVA Department of Drama, the University of Virginia College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

The Heritage Theatre Festival’s production of The Wonder Bread Years is supported by Travinia Italian Kitchen and CBS 19.

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

To access photos of this production, visit is https://virginia.box.com/s/g7c03p0lmbkpidi19957wnlt9xdu1pkq.

For more information on Heritage’s 2016 summer season, visit heritagetheatrefestival.org.

Heritage Theatre Festival Presents Neil Simon’s Classic Comedy "The Odd Couple"

HERITAGE THEATRE FESTIVAL PRESENTS NEIL SIMON’S CLASSIC COMEDY THE ODD COUPLE

Show To Open July 28 and Features Longtime Heritage Fan Favorites Evan Bridenstine and
John Paul Scheidler From The Popular “Tuna” Series

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – July 14, 2016 – One of the most popular comedy duos in Heritage Theatre Festival history will come together to present one of the most popular duos in American comedy history when actors Evan Bridenstine and John Paul Scheidler (known for their work in the Tuna series) return to Heritage to play Felix Unger and Oscar Madison in Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple. The show opens at the Culbreth Theatre on July 28.

Neil Simon’s comedy classic The Odd Couple takes us into the world of slovenly sportswriter Oscar Madison and fiercely fastidious Felix Unger, a pair of divorced New York roommates. The two pester, annoy, and exasperate their way to hilarity and an unlikely friendship. This beloved comedy was first seen on Broadway in 1965, then in the Oscar-nominated 1968 film with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, and then shared with millions through the hit TV sitcom starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. The story is currently being told again in a CBS sitcom starring Matthew Perry.

The Odd Couple, by Neil Simon and directed by Dave Dalton, will be presented in

the Culbreth Theatre from July 28- 30 and August 3-6 at 7:30pm, and on July 30 at 2:30pm. Tickets for the show are $25 if purchased prior to July 28 and $30 if purchased after that date. Student tickets are $15. Single tickets for the Heritage Theatre Festival season 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.

“This show is a lot of fun,” Dalton said, “and it is hilarious in surprising ways. I think that the joke of two individuals who are so mismatched sharing the same space in some ways originated with these characters. We are so used to it now that I was actually surprised at how fresh and unexpected this comedy is.”

This freshness is only added to by having an established comedy team as his leads, Dalton said. “They are so much fun to work with, and it is great that they have such a working knowledge of each other, and are able to play off each other so effortlessly.”

Part of the rehearsal process, Dalton said, has been devoted to finding the human side of characters who have become such a part of the cultural landscape. “I see this as a hilarious comedy with a lot of heart. I think Simon does an incredible job of creating comedic archetypes that also have hearts and souls. What some might dismiss as a light comedy actually has a lot of need and desperation and seeking of fulfillment.  For all its comedy, at the heart of this play is a sort of loneliness that makes one  understand and ultimately care about these characters.”

The 2016 Heritage Theatre Festival fun will conclude with The Wonder Bread Years, a wistful and funny one-man show from Seinfeld writer Pat Hazell that celebrates life in 1970’s America, opening on August 2 in the Ruth Caplin Theatre.

The Heritage Theatre Festival is hosted by the University of Virginia Department of Drama, and the Heritage 2016 Season is presented by The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the UVA Department of Drama, the University of Virginia College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

The Heritage Theatre Festival’s production of The Odd Couple is supported by C-VILLE Weekly. 

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

To access photos of this production, visit https://virginia.box.com/s/o2zbn6gu1owkikjahc4bhliqsv5lqw9d

For more information on Heritage’s 2016 summer season, visit heritagetheatrefestival.org.

Heritage Theatre Festival Presents Neil Simon’s Classic Comedy The Odd Couple

HERITAGE THEATRE FESTIVAL PRESENTS NEIL SIMON’S CLASSIC COMEDY THE ODD COUPLE

Show To Open July 28 and Features Longtime Heritage Fan Favorites Evan Bridenstine and
John Paul Scheidler From The Popular “Tuna” Series

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – July 14, 2016 – One of the most popular comedy duos in Heritage Theatre Festival history will come together to present one of the most popular duos in American comedy history when actors Evan Bridenstine and John Paul Scheidler (known for their work in the Tuna series) return to Heritage to play Felix Unger and Oscar Madison in Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple. The show opens at the Culbreth Theatre on July 28.

Neil Simon’s comedy classic The Odd Couple takes us into the world of slovenly sportswriter Oscar Madison and fiercely fastidious Felix Unger, a pair of divorced New York roommates. The two pester, annoy, and exasperate their way to hilarity and an unlikely friendship. This beloved comedy was first seen on Broadway in 1965, then in the Oscar-nominated 1968 film with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, and then shared with millions through the hit TV sitcom starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. The story is currently being told again in a CBS sitcom starring Matthew Perry.

The Odd Couple, by Neil Simon and directed by Dave Dalton, will be presented in

the Culbreth Theatre from July 28- 30 and August 3-6 at 7:30pm, and on July 30 at 2:30pm. Tickets for the show are $25 if purchased prior to July 28 and $30 if purchased after that date. Student tickets are $15. Single tickets for the Heritage Theatre Festival season 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.

“This show is a lot of fun,” Dalton said, “and it is hilarious in surprising ways. I think that the joke of two individuals who are so mismatched sharing the same space in some ways originated with these characters. We are so used to it now that I was actually surprised at how fresh and unexpected this comedy is.”

This freshness is only added to by having an established comedy team as his leads, Dalton said. “They are so much fun to work with, and it is great that they have such a working knowledge of each other, and are able to play off each other so effortlessly.”

Part of the rehearsal process, Dalton said, has been devoted to finding the human side of characters who have become such a part of the cultural landscape. “I see this as a hilarious comedy with a lot of heart. I think Simon does an incredible job of creating comedic archetypes that also have hearts and souls. What some might dismiss as a light comedy actually has a lot of need and desperation and seeking of fulfillment.  For all its comedy, at the heart of this play is a sort of loneliness that makes one  understand and ultimately care about these characters.”

The 2016 Heritage Theatre Festival fun will conclude with The Wonder Bread Years, a wistful and funny one-man show from Seinfeld writer Pat Hazell that celebrates life in 1970’s America, opening on August 2 in the Ruth Caplin Theatre.

The Heritage Theatre Festival is hosted by the University of Virginia Department of Drama, and the Heritage 2016 Season is presented by The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the UVA Department of Drama, the University of Virginia College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

The Heritage Theatre Festival’s production of The Odd Couple is supported by C-VILLE Weekly. 

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

To access photos of this production, visit https://virginia.box.com/s/o2zbn6gu1owkikjahc4bhliqsv5lqw9d

For more information on Heritage’s 2016 summer season, visit heritagetheatrefestival.org.

Heritage Theatre Festival to Present Classic Family Musical 'You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown'

HERITAGE THEATRE FESTIVAL TO PRESENT CLASSIC FAMILY MUSICAL YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN

Beloved Show Brings Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy, and the Entire Peanuts Gang to Life

Opens July 23 at the Ruth Caplin Theatre

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – July 7, 2016 – This summer at Heritage Theatre Festival, happiness is…one of the most beloved family musicals of all time! Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy and the entire Peanuts gang are set to come to life in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, opening July 23 at the Ruth Caplin Theatre.

Once again, the world’s favorite hapless hero is at the center of the action as he and his famed pals leap from page to stage with a series of vignettes that bring out the kid in all of us and showcase some important lessons on the meaning of love, life and friendship. Originally making its debut Off-Broadway in 1967, the show and its unforgettable collection of songs, including “Happiness,” has made its way around the world, into the hearts of generations, and offers plenty to enjoy for audiences of all ages.

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, based on the comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz and book, music, and lyrics by Clark Gesner, additional dialogue by Michael Mayer, and additional music & lyrics by Andrew Lippa, will be presented at the Ruth Caplin Theatre on July 23 and July 30 at 2pm, and July 23 and July 25-30 at 7pm. Tickets are $30 if purchased prior to July 23, and $35 if purchased after that date. Student tickets are $15.00. Tickets are available online at www.heritagetheatrefestival.org, by phone at 434-924-3376, or at the UVA Arts Box Office, located in the lobby of the Drama Building.

“I think this show really appeals to people who are fans of the characters as well as to people who may not know much about the characters,” said director Bryan Garey. “It is exciting for people to see these characters come to life in a very real way, and obviously with this terrific music and dance added to the mix, the characters take on a whole new dimension.”

The show’s appeal is also rooted in its universal themes, Garey added. “Everybody can relate to Charlie Brown because he is the ‘everyperson,’” he said. “He goes through struggles we all go through in life, so it is really easy to empathize and recognize, and to laugh with him and feel his pain.  It is really a universal piece about life, and how it is hard, and it is wonderful, and it is challenging, and it is terrific. Then when you add its incredible music, you really do have a show that has got something for everybody.”

Heritage is expanding the show’s reach even farther by working with the Autism Theatre Project, a UVA-based, student-led organization that is dedicated to providing theatre experiences for children with sensory challenges and their families, on a special matinee performance on July 27. “We are excited about participating in what will be a really meaningful event for the theatre and for the community,” Garey said. Garey and his Heritage Theatre Festival colleagues are working with Autism Theatre Project staff to make subtle modifications to the show designed to make the audience comfortable, and the sensory-friendly show will be followed by a meet-and-greet session with the actors. For more information on the Autism Theatre Project and to how to register for this special performance, visit https://autismtheatreproject.wordpress.com.

The 2016 Heritage Theatre Festival fun will continue with Neil Simon’s classic comedy The Odd Couple, opening on July 28 in the Culbreth Theatre, and The Wonder Bread Years, a wistful and funny one-man show from Seinfeld writer Pat Hazell that celebrates life in 1970’s America, opening on August 2 in the Ruth Caplin Theatre.

The Heritage Theatre Festival is hosted by the University of Virginia Department of Drama, and the Heritage 2016 Season is presented by The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the UVA Department of Drama, the University of Virginia College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

The Heritage Theatre Festival’s production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is supported by Woodard Properties, NewsRadio 1070 AM & 98.9 FM WINA, WWWV 97-5 3WV, Z95.1, ESPN Radio 1450 WVAX, and 106.1 The Corner WCNR.

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

To access photos of this production, visit https://virginia.box.com/s/vb50a5fu00q6qp36q3eqh8aijs0l9u99

For more information on Heritage’s 2016 summer season, visit heritagetheatrefestival.org.

Heritage Theatre Festival to Present Heart-Filled Comedy 'Souvenir: A Fantasia On The Life Of Florence Foster Jenkins'

HERITAGE THEATRE FESTIVAL TO PRESENT HEART-FILLED COMEDY SOUVENIR: A FANTASIA ON THE LIFE OF FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS

Award-Winning Director Cate Caplin to Direct True Story of One of Opera World’s Most Unforgettable Stars While Celebrating a Unique Family Legacy at the Ruth Caplin Theatre

Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins Opens July 7

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – June 23, 2016 – Have you ever met someone who truly believed she could do anything?  This summer, the Heritage Theatre Festival will introduce you to just such a person in the upcoming production of Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, coming to the Ruth Caplin Theatre beginning July 7.

This delightful, funny, and heart-filled musical tells the real life story of an accidental opera star who refused to let her tone deafness get in the way of her opera star dreams.  Florence’s surprising road to fame is paved with bad notes and good intentions, as we learn through the memories of her trusted accompanist who sees beyond her musical limitations on the way to forging a uniquely touching friendship.  And it’s a story that is being told in two current films, including the recently-released Stephen Frears-directed Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Streep in the title role.

Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, by Stephen Temperley, will be presented at the Ruth Caplin Theatre from July 7-9 and July 12-15 at 8pm, and July 16 at 2pm.  Adult tickets for the show are $25.00 if purchased prior to June 30, and $30.00 if purchased after that date. Student tickets are $15.00. Single and season tickets for the 2016 Heritage Theatre Festival season are available at the UVA Arts Box Office (located in the lobby of the Drama Building), online at heritagetheatrefestival.org, or by phone at 434-924-3376.

The show will mark a return to the Heritage Theatre Festival for multi-award-winning Director-Choreographer Cate Caplin.  Ms. Caplin’s work has been seen at the White House, the Kennedy Center, the Metropolitan Opera House, and other international venues ranging from the Paris Opera House to the Broadway stage.  This show will find her directing for the first time in a theatre named for her late mother, Ruth Caplin, and celebrating a memorable family milestone at the same time. 

“This show has been on the top of my personal “Director’s Wish List” for years,” Caplin said, “and I am over the moon with excitement that I am finally getting to do it! The icing on the cake is that my father, Mortimer Caplin, is celebrating his 100th birthday, and he will be in town for a birthday toast, then will sit front and center with the rest of my family for the show.  It will be an emotionally loaded night and I couldn’t be more delighted! “

Caplin has always been drawn to Florence Foster Jenkins’ story and the life lessons she embodied that extended far beyond the musical realm. “Florence Foster Jenkins was speaking straight from the heart when she said, ‘It is from our greatest challenges that we learn most. Without risk of failure, there can be no success.’”

Caplin also said Jenkins’ unique passion for the art she so treasured has also always resonated with her. “She liked to say that art cannot be ruled by caution.  And so she fearlessly made her greatest dreams come true with passion and abandon.”

The 2016 Heritage Theatre Festival fun will continue with the beloved family musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, opening July 23 in the Ruth Caplin Theatre; Neil Simon’s  classic comedy The Odd Couple, opening on July 28 in the Culbreth Theatre; and The Wonder Bread Years, a wistful and funny one-man show from Seinfeld writer Pat Hazell that celebrates life in 1970’s America, opening on August 2 in the Ruth Caplin Theatre.

The Heritage Theatre Festival is hosted by the University of Virginia Department of Drama, and the Heritage 2016 Season is presented by The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the UVA Department of Drama, the University of Virginia College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

The Heritage Theatre Festival’s production of Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Jenkins is supported by WHTJ PBS. 

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

To access photos of this production, visit https://virginia.box.com/s/hjd9nr51fwqm3w3oigkb85ky2hj7a49h.

For more information on Heritage’s 2016 summer season, visit heritagetheatrefestival.org.

Heritage Theatre Festival to Open 42nd Year with Gilbert and Sullivan’s Classic 'The Pirates of Penzance'

HERITAGE THEATRE FESTIVAL TO OPEN 42ND YEAR WITH GILBERT AND SULLIVAN’S CLASSIC THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE

High Seas Musical Misadventure Comes to Culbreth Theatre Beginning on June 30

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – June 16, 2016 – The Heritage Theatre Festival’s 2016 season kicks off with one of the world’s most beloved musicals when Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance sails into Culbreth Theatre on June 30.

This high seas masterful, musical adventure tells the story of young Frederic who, on the eve of his 21st birthday, looks forward to breaking the bonds of his indentured servitude only to be foiled by a technicality. His leap year birthday and an overdeveloped sense of duty keep him in the delightfully chaotic employ of a brash yet benevolent band of pirates. It is a tale for all ages, complete with swashbuckling hijinks, clueless cops, frolicking maidens, and a famously bumbling Major-General.

The Pirates of Penzance, libretto by W.S. Gilbert and Music by Arthur Sullivan, is directed by Heritage’s Interim Artistic Director and UVA Department of Drama Chair Colleen Kelly, and will be presented in the Culbreth Theatre on June 30, July 1-2, and July 7-9 at 7:30pm, and on July 9 at 2pm. Adult tickets for the show are $40.00 if purchased prior to June 30, and $45 if purchased after that date. Student tickets are $20.00. Single and season tickets for the 2016 Heritage Theatre Festival season are available at the UVA Arts Box Office (located in the lobby of the Drama Building), online at heritagetheatrefestival.org, or by phone at 434-924-3376.

The production will make Heritage Theatre Festival history, according to Kelly. “In our 42 years, Heritage has never done a Gilbert and Sullivan show.” When Kelly set out to change this, she immediately turned to longtime HTF collaborator and musical director Greg Harris. “Greg is a longtime fan of Gilbert and Sullivan, and one of the reasons I picked this show was that I knew I would be working with him.”

The show was also appealing to Kelly due to her own unique theatre background. “I started as a movement specialist, and so my love is anything that has to do with period styles and dance choreography. I am also a fight choreographer, and there is a lot of swashbuckling here. You really can’t go wrong with pirates, and these happen to be particularly entertaining ones. They are kindhearted, they have sympathy for orphans, and they seek poetry in their lives. It is definitely a show the whole family can enjoy.”

The music is another big draw, both for Kelly and for audiences. “The music in this show is really terrific,” she said. “I love it when the music is not only beautiful, but also includes a wink of humor in it, which this definitely does. As I have said before, this season at Heritage really focuses on the “festival” aspect of our name, and puts fun in the spotlight.”

The 2016 Heritage Theatre Festival fun will continue with the heart-filled musical comedy Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, opening July 7 in the Ruth Caplin Theatre; the beloved family musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, opening July 23 in the Ruth Caplin Theatre; Neil Simon’s  classic comedy The Odd Couple, opening on July 28 in the Culbreth Theatre; and The Wonder Bread Years, a wistful and funny one-man show from Seinfeld writer Pat Hazell that celebrates life in 1970’s America, opening on August 2 in the Ruth Caplin Theatre.

The Heritage Theatre Festival is hosted by the University of Virginia Department of Drama, and the Heritage 2016 Season is presented by The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the UVA Department of Drama, the University of Virginia College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

The Heritage Theatre Festival’s production of The Pirates of Penzance is presented by Charlottesville Settlement Company, Ednam Title, Monticello Title, Real Estate III Title, and 1st Dominion Title, and supported by Marotta Wealth Management, alongside our media sponsors CBS 19 and The Daily Progress.

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

To access photos of this production, visit https://virginia.box.com/s/dqfgd74ix3s0m1ochsmbpd612913ytz8

Cutline: Lovely Edith (Amaree Cluff) and Kate (Lauren Elens) try to keep their distance from The Pirate King (Dan Stern) in the Heritage Theatre Festival production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance.  Photo by Michael Bailey.

For more information on Heritage’s 2016 summer season, visit heritagetheatrefestival.org.

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Heritage Theatre Festival Announces its 2016 Season Schedule

February 19, 2016; John Kelly

HERITAGE THEATRE FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2016 SEASON SCHEDULE

HTF Offers Full Slate of Summer Fun Including Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance;
Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins; You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown;
The Odd Couple; and The Wonder Bread Years  

Auditions to Be Held February 27 and 28

This year, the Heritage Theatre Festival at the University of Virginia is putting an emphasis on summer fun. Hosted by the UVA Department of Drama, the 2016 Heritage season will feature one of the world’s most celebrated operettas; a comic look at a self-proclaimed diva who spends her way to the wrong kind of stardom; an all-time family-favorite musical; a classic American comedy; and a whimsical one-man-show about the unique joys of growing up in 1970’s America, written by and starring one of the writers of Seinfeld.

Now in its 42nd year, HTF will kick off its summer festival on June 30 with the ageless and uproarious Gilbert & Sullivan operetta The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty.  An eccentric and wealthy turn-of-the-century opera star becomes an accidental comedy sensation in the very funny Souvenir:  A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins. Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy and the whole Peanuts gang return to the Heritage stage for the popular musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.  Felix and Oscar, two of the theatre world’s most celebrated “frenemys,” take the stage in The Odd Couple.  Actor and writer Pat Hazell will take audiences on a hilarious and charming time-capsule journey back to simpler times in his acclaimed Baby Boomer-themed one-man show The Wonder Bread Years.

“For more than four decades, the Heritage Theatre Festival at the University of Virginia has been one of Charlottesville’s greatest summer escapes,” said Drama Department Chair Colleen Kelly. “We wanted to create a season that encourages audiences to come back again and again throughout the summer for a range of diverse and highly entertaining professional theater experiences.”

Heritage makes its maiden voyage for the summer with Gilbert & Sullivan’s musical theater masterpiece The Pirates of Penzance. It’s the story of young Frederic, who on the eve of his 21st birthday, looks forward to breaking the bonds of his indentured servitude, only to be foiled by a leap year birthday technicality and an overdeveloped sense of duty that keeps him in their delightfully chaotic employ.  This is a timeless pirate tale for all ages - including swashbuckling hijinks, clueless cops, frolicking maidens, and a famously bumbling Major General.

The Pirates of Penzance, libretto by W.S. Gilbert and Music by Arthur Sullivan, will be presented at the Culbreth Theatre on June 30, July 1-2, and July 7-9 at 7:30pm, and on July 9 at 2pm.

Florence Jenkins was a turn-of-the-century musical sensation with considerable means and boundless ambition. The combination made her a must-see for audiences of the time, many of whom would come equipped with handkerchiefs to stifle their laughter. Souvenir:  A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins is a funny and heartfelt tale of a wealthy would-be diva who is not about to let her lack of musical ability get in the way of her dream of operatic glory. Blissfully ignorant of the fact that she has become a comedy sensation, Jenkins plays for sold out houses alongside her wry and long-suffering accompanist who must endure errant arias night after painstaking night.

The show will mark a return to the Heritage Theatre Festival for multi-award-winning Director-Choreographer Cate Caplin. Ms. Caplin’s work has been seen at the White House, the Kennedy Center, the Metropolitan Opera House, and other international venues ranging from the Paris Opera House to the Broadway stage. She will for the first time be directing in the theatre named for her mother, Ruth Caplin. 

"Directing in my mother's theatre and celebrating my father's 100th Birthday all within the same summer theatre season is a very special gift,” Caplin said. “I love working at Heritage and coming back to my birthplace surrounded by family, and directing a show that I have wanted to do for such a very long time, wraps all my dreams into one beautiful package. I am hugely grateful to Colleen Kelly and the entire HTF team for inviting me back."

Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, by Stephen Temperley, will be presented at the Ruth Caplin Theatre on July 7-9 and July 12-15 at 8pm, and July 16 at 2pm, pending acquisition of rights.

Happiness is…a fabulous musical for the whole family! You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown has delighted generations with its journey into the lives of Charles M. Schultz’s iconic Peanuts gang. Join our favorite hapless hero and his famed pals, including the world’s coolest beagle, the world’s most unlikely advice maven, and a thumb-sucking blanket-carrying wisdom dispenser as they invite the inner child in all of us out to play!

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, based on the comic strip PEANUTS by Charles M. Schulz and book, music, and lyrics by Clark Gesner, will be presented at the Ruth Caplin Theatre on  July 23 and July 25-30 at 7pm, and July 23 and 30 at 2pm, pending acquisition of rights.

Neil Simon’s comedy classic The Odd Couple takes us into the world of slovenly sportswriter Oscar Madison and fiercely fastidious Felix Unger, a pair of divorced New York roommates. The two pester, annoy, and exasperate their way to hilarity and an unlikely friendship. This beloved comedy was first seen on Broadway in 1965, then in the Oscar-nominated 1968 film with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, and then shared with millions through the hit TV sitcom starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. In what promises to be a special treat for Heritage audiences, the show will star our very own “odd couple” – J.P. Scheidler and Evan Bridenstine – who delighted HTF audiences with their madcap antics playing the entire fictional town of Tuna, Texas in the Tuna trilogy!

The Odd Couple, by Neil Simon, will be presented at the Culbreth Theatre from July 28- 30 and August 3-6 at 7:30pm, and on July 30 at 2:30pm, pending acquisition of rights.

As a former writer for Jerry, George, Elaine, Kramer, and Co., Pat Hazell knows how to make something funny out of nothing. In his acclaimed The Wonder Bread Years, Hazell is the highly-entertaining chaperone on a “field trip back in time.” This nationally touring one-man show is a warm and funny salute to Americana and a nostalgic and comedic love letter to Baby Boomers everywhere that comes complete with tales of Country Squire station wagons, lawn darts, Big Wheels, Eskimo Pies, and a sense of wonder that is much needed in today’s world. Seinfeld himself calls the show “milk-snortingly funny.”

The Wonder Bread Years, starring Pat Hazell, will be presented at the Ruth Caplin Theatre from August 2-6 at 8pm, and on August 6 at 2pm.

Auditions will be held for the 2016 Heritage Theatre Festival season on February 27 and 28. More information can be found here: heritagetheatrefestival.org.

Heritage’s 2015 season subscribers will receive information on how to renew their subscriptions for the 2016 season in early April.  New subscription sales will begin April 25, and single tickets will go on sale June 13. For more information on the upcoming summer season and how you can support Heritage’s efforts, visit heritagetheatrefestival.org.

Puppets for Grown Ups and Shakespeare on the Move

by Sarah Lawson | 7/29/14 at 10:01 AM

As the month of August arrives, everything slows down a bit. Outside, we drown in the humid air, dense as an ocean wave pushing against flesh. There’s little to do but laze away in air-conditioning or spend hours floating in the cool waters of a swimming pool. It’s the time of year when I used to haunt the movie theater, its dark and frigid stadia never more appealing. This summer though, two local theater productions provide even better options. Offerings by both the Heritage Theatre Festival and the Hamner Theater offer laugh-filled escapes from the heat.

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