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Theaters hitting regional stages

January 26, 2019

From First Stage Theatre’s recent fruitful trip to the Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta to a good number of incoming productions, here’s a look at some theater news happening here, now and on a stage soon.

It’s always sunny in Atlanta

It’s not hard to find the hardest working kids in show business, they are right here in Huntington. While First Stage Theatre has been in the throes of rehearsing for Disney’s “Newsies,” which goes up in March, they took the MLK Holiday Weekend to take a break for inspiration with their sixth annual bus trip to Atlanta for the “Super Bowl of Children’s Theater,” The Junior Theater Festival (JTF) which is self described as “a weekend of musical theater mayhem dedicated to celebrating young people and musical theater.”

The 34 students were able to attend sessions featuring Pasek and Paul (writers of “The Greatest Showman,” “La La Land,” and “Dear Evan Hanson”) as well as Caissie Levy (who plays the grownup Elsa on Broadway). In addition to workshop time with various industry professionals, the group got to watch shortened versions of about 10 musicals.

They also got to present their own abbreviated version of “Junie B. Jones, Jr.” starring Huntington High School senior Sunny Rawlinson, who was one of only three student actors to take home the prestigious Spirit Award. Additionally, she and Armaan Karimpour were selected as All-Stars at JTF.

Of course, the First Stage family won’t even be resting on their laurels as their back in full beast mode prepping for “Newsies,” to take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 8-9 and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 10.

The new musical, adapted for the stage from the popular Disney movie, is based on the 1899 true story of a courageous group of scrappy newsboys who become unlikely heroes when they rally forces to fight an unscrupulous newspaper tycoon. “Newsies” features a book by Harvey Fierstein, lyrics by Jack Feldman, and music by legendary composer Alan Menken.

Go online at www.firststagetheatre.org and follow First Stage on Facebook to find out more about the children’s theater that has been fostering student actors in Huntington since 1990.

Hawks Nest Murder Mystery Dinner Theater

Looking for a fun road trip and a great evening of entertainment?

Enjoy a meal and an interactive show as Hawks Nest State Park teams up with Huntington’s own Murder and Merriment to present “Murder on the Mountain.” An interactive murder mystery show taking place at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26.

A Saturday evening dinner ushers an air of mystery into the dining room. The meal features comfort food, but don’t get too comfortable. Its enchantment leads guests to the evening of sleuthing fun and surprises. The Murder Mystery Dinner Theater weekend packages include other activities, lodging and venturing. Reservations are required. Dinner and Theater tickets only also available. Call for pricing 304-658-5212 or go online at https://wvstateparks.com/park/hawks-nest-state-park/

Paramount Players Take Their Show on the Road

While normally based out of the historic Paramount Arts Center, the Paramount Players will take its latest barbershop quartet-themed show, “Forever Plaid,” on the road next weekend.

The Ironton Council for the Arts will present The Paramount Players production of “Forever Plaid” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2 in the Riffe Center Mains Rotunda. Admission is $10 and tickets are available at the performance. Ohio University students are admitted free with ID.

This deliciously fun revue is chock-full of classic barbershop quartet harmonies and pitch-perfect melodies.

Once upon a time, there were four guys (Sparky, Smudge, Jinx and Frankie) who discovered that they shared a love for music and then got together to become their idols - The Four Freshman, The Hi-Lo’s and The Crew Cuts. Rehearsing in the basement of Smudge’s family’s plumbing supply company, they became “Forever Plaid”. On the way to their first big gig, the “Plaids” are broadsided by a school bus and killed instantly. It is at the moment when their careers and lives end that the story of Forever Plaid begins.

Singing such songs as “Workin’ on the Chain Gang,” “Three Coins in a Fountain” and “Sixteen Tons” are Joshua Jannotta as Frankie, Thaddeus Stambaugh as Sparky, Rick Payne as Smudge and Matt Hammond as Jinx. The lads are accompanied by Mark Smith.

Tickets on Sale for First Church Dinner Theatre

Reservations are now being taken for the almost famous, 27th annual First Church Dinner Theatre, which is a production of the First United Methodist Church, 1124 5th Ave., Huntington.

The Valentine’s Weekend dinner and show is set for Thursday, Feb. 14, and runs through Saturday, Feb. 16, with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the show at 8 p.m.

This year’s performance will be a world premiere of “The Bitsy and Boots Radio Hour” by well-known playwright, Jonathan Joy, who has written eight of the “Bitsy and Boots” comedies to be performed at the church. Joy, teaches English at Ashland Community and Technical College. His plays have been performed in 17 states and in France and Dubai.

His latest Bitsy and Boots has the intrepid aunts embarking on a new career in local media. Radio will never be the same as a zany cast of characters spices up the programming.

Call: 304-522-0357 or 740-867-8576 or email firstchurchdinnertheater@gmail.com to make reservations for the dinner and show. Tickets are $27 for adults, $8 for children under 12 and $5 show only (if space permits). Babysitting available on request for all shows (advance notice required)

All of the money raised by the volunteer theater troupe of First Church Dinner Theater goes to mission work. To date, we have raised over $64,000 for local, state, and global missions.

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