Press release from SART:
Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre, founded in 1975, is pleased to announce our 46th season. To echo the national celebration of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial, each one of our shows this year embraces strong women characters! We hope you join us as we celebrate women of any and all backgrounds, coming together on stage and off.
Opening our season is the hilarious musical CHURCH BASEMENT LADIES! Our first thought about a church community may be that it is run by the male clergy, but this musical shows us that behind every strong church is an even stronger group of women. The musical is inspired by the book Growing Up Lutheran by Janet Letnes Martin and Suzann Nelson. Come visit the basement as they handle Christmas Dinner, a close-to-home funeral, a Hawaiian fundraiser, and hot July wedding. CHURCH BASEMENT LADIES runs March 5 through 15. Directed by Samantha Lebrocq, Music Directed by Misty Theisen, and choreographed by Kyrstin Ezzell. Featuring Tabitha Judy, Delina Hensley, Kathleen Watson, Kaleigh Anne Jackson, and William Tyler Ezzell. CHURCH BASEMENT LADIES has a book by Jim Stowell and Jessica Zuehlke, and music and lyrics by Drew Jansen.
Next up, we have the smash box office hit, SISTER ACT. This musical adaptation of the beloved Whoopi Goldberg film is a story of redemption, love, acceptance, overcoming prejudice, and most importantly, the power of music. The story follows Deloris Van Cartier, an enigmatic nightclub performer as she goes on the run from her gangster boyfriend, gets put into the Witness Protection Program, and begins a new life . . . as a nun. SISTER ACT runs June 11 through 28. Directed by William Tyler Ezzell, Music Directed by Brad Curtioff, featuring many of WNC finest female performers and a rocking ensemble featuring MHU students! SISTER ACT. Music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater, book by Bill and Cheri Steinkellner, and additional book material by Douglas Carter Beane.
If you enjoyed our 2019 production of BRIGHT STAR, you will love the musical VIOLET! VIOLET is a musical based on “The Ugliest Pilgrim” by Doris Betts, and it won the Drama Critics’ Circle Award and Lucille Lortel Award as Best Musical in 1997. This is the story of Violet Karl, a woman from Spruce Pine, North Carolina, with a ticket, a suitcase, and a heart full of expectation. She is traveling to Tulsa to see an evangelist preacher in the hopes that he will heal the scar on her face with the power of the Lord. Along the way, and on the bus, she meets a cast of characters that change her life – and her self perception – forever. VIOLET runs July 9 through 26. Directed by Asheville Native Ethan Henry, with Music Direction by Brad Curtioff, featuring Chelsey Lee Mirheli as Violet Karl. VIOLET is a musical written by Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley.
In the Fall, we will showcase SISTERS OF SWING, a biographical musical about the lives of The Andrews Sisters, one of the best selling female vocal groups, even to this day. The book follows their early days on the road, all the way through their eventual dissolution due to artistic differences. Come see hits like “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, performed by our very own Andrews Sisters sing-alikes! SISTERS OF SWING runs October 8 through 18. Featuring Lara Holloway, Rebecca O’Quinn, and Kathleen Watson as the Andrews sisters. SISTERS OF SWING is written by Beth Gilleland and Bob Beverage.
Our Christmas time show is A CHRISTMAS CAROL: A PLAY WITH MUSIC, adapted and directed by Dwight Chiles. A CHRISTMAS CAROL is a timeless story about the power of Christmas, the love we share, and not taking life for granted. This small cast version will feature acapella music and imaginative storytelling to bring a whole new take on this classic story. Mars Hill University Theatre Arts students will tour a 50 minute version of the production to local schools in November while our SART company performs in Owen Theatre in December. ACHRISTMAS CAROL: A PLAY WITH MUSIC runs December 10 through 20.
Since the beginning, SART’s primary mission has been to cultivate quality, professional theatre for the WNC region. Musicals, both big and small, have delighted our audiences, and the magic of theatre has provoked both company members and patrons alike. Our partnership with Mars Hill University promotes vital onstage experience for our Theatre Arts Department students by providing them the opportunity to perform alongside professional actors in our community. In addition, each one of our shows this year will feature support for local charitable organizations, including collecting children’s books for the Children’s Literacy Achievement Project, support for local domestic violence relief groups in a project lead by activist Barbie Angell, and our 2nd annual food drive for Bright Hope Laurel UMC’s food pantry during our Christmas show. We consistently serve our audiences through our heartfelt performances, but taking it a step further and really giving back to the community is our dream for 2020. Visit sartplays.com to purchase season subscriptions!