Outdoor theater lovers are perfectly positioned to enjoy lots of shows this summer.
The Tri-State area is home to two outdoor theater programs, plus within an easy drive to several others.
Although its appearance is brief, the Huntington Outdoor Theater consistently presents popular musical shows starring experienced actors, musicians and dancers.
Marking its 20th anniversary, HOT will present “Hairspray” along with the children’s preshow. Shows will be every weekend in July.
The main show will begin at 8 p.m., but those attending are encouraged to come early with a picnic and enjoy the park, the children’s show and local entertainers.
For more information, visit hotwv.org.
Jenny Wiley Theater
For more than 45 years, Jenny Wiley Theater has offered a variety of stage shows in Prestonsburg.
The theater remains one of the longest-running outdoor theaters in the country and the only professional theater east of Interstate 75 offering year-round performances at Jenny Wiley Amphitheatre at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park and surrounding areas.
The theater program now has a site in Pikeville. Construction began in October 2012 and the theater’s children’s program will be offered at the new Pikeville location.
The upcoming season also will offer a new play based on local history.
The season will include:
‰“Church Basement Ladies,” written by Jim Stowell and Jessica Zuehlke with music and lyrics by Drew Jansen.
The show, about women one finds working in the church kitchen, is a musical comedy featuring the lives of four distinct characters in a rural Minnesota church in 1965. It is scheduled to be performed at Wilkinson Stumbo Convention Center in Prestonsburg.
‰Shows presented through the Footlights Theatre Camp include Disney’s “The Jungle Book Kids” and “Seussical Jr.”
Show dates for “The Jungle Book” will be June 17 and 18 and for “Seussical Jr.” will be July 22 and 23. Shows will be presented at Jenny Wiley Amphitheatre, 121 Theatre Court, Prestonsburg.
‰The Tony award-winning “The Sound of Music is one of the most beloved shows from the Rodgers and Hammerstein collaboration and includes such favorite tunes as “My Favorite Things,” “Climb Every Mountain” and “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.”
The show will be at Jenny Wiley Amphitheatre, 121 Theatre Court, Prestonsburg.
‰The all-American “Oklahoma!” includes favorite songs such as “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin,’” “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top” and “I Can’t Say No.”
The show will be at Jenny Wiley Amphitheatre, 121 Theatre Court, Prestonsburg.
‰Jenny Wiley Theatre plans a new series of plays about the infamous Hatfield and McCoy Feud.
The first in the series by playwright Michael Ross Albert, “Feud Part 1: The Story of Johnse Hatfield and Roseanna McCoy,” will hit the stage this fall in conjunction with the Hatfield and McCoy Festival on Labor Day weekend in Pikeville and will be presented at Jenny Wiley Theatre’s Pikeville location, at 218 Second St.
Show dates will be Aug. 29, 30 and 31 and Sept. 1.
‰“The Legend of Jenny Wiley,” a story story of a heroic 18th century pioneer woman kidnapped by Indians and held for nearly a year, is a favorite at the theater. This performances will be at the Mountain Arts Center Oct. 11, 12, 17, and 18.
‰A Christmas favorite, “Miracle of 34th Street” will be presented during the holiday season at the University of Pikeville’s Booth Auditorium.
For more information and ticket information, visit jwtheatre.com or call (606) 886-9274.
The state’s oldest theater, Pioneer Playhouse in Danville, will have a season that opens June 8 and continues through Aug. 18, with a different show every two weeks.
Performances are nightly Tuesday through Saturday. If weather doesn’t cooperate, shows will move indoors. If you’re coming for dinner, too, arrive by 7:30 p.m. The show will being at 8:30 p.m.
The schedule is:
‰June 7 through 22 — “Deathtrap” by William Levin.
A famous playwright will stop at nothing to create his next big hit.
‰June 25 through July 6 — “Tamed” by William Shakespeare, adapted by Holly Hepp-Galvan.
In this modern-day take on “Taming of the Shrew,” the fast-talking hero hired to tame and marry a beautiful but rough-around-the edges bride is a rugged back-woods reality TV star famous for catching wild animals.
‰July 9 through 29 — “The Search for TInker Doyle” by Kentucky writer Elizabeth Orndorff.
This new play centers on a 30th wedding anniversary trip to Ireland that takes a surprising turn when the wife looks up an old flame.
The play is offered in conjunction with Danville’s first Irish Festival, which will be July 12, 13 and 14 and include dancing, food, art and music with an emphasis on Irish.
‰July 23 through Aug. 3 — “Mood over Buffalo” by Ken Ludwig.
The Hays are fading stars of the stage waiting for their big break when a Hollywood director announces he’s flying in to catch their next show.
Playhouse favorites Pat Hammond and Eben French Mastin star in roles made famous by Carol Burnett and Philip Bosco on Broadway.
‰Aug. 6 through 17 — “Cockeyed” by William Missouri Downs, author of “Kosher Lutherans!,” is a new romantic comedy that explores love through philosophy.
In addition to plays, Pioneer will bring back standup comedian Etta May, who calls herself the Queen of Southern Sass, for shows Aug. 22, 23 and 24.
May was the winner of CMT’s American Comedy Awards and was featured on Oprah, MTV and CBS Sunday Morning.
The playhouse is at 840 Stanford Road in Danville.
For more information, call (866) KYplays or visit pioneerplayhouse.com.
The life story of Shawnee leader Tecumseh from the late 1700s is the focus of this show, presented at Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre in Chillicothe.
In the huge, outdoor theater, the audience is amid the action, surrounded by gallopping horses, live military cannons and vibrant battle scenes.
The show opens June 7 and runs Monday through Saturday until Aug. 31. Show time is 8 p.m. and tickets are $24.955 for adult and $17.95 for children 10 and younger.
In addition, behind-the-scenes tours are available at 4 and 5 p.m. for $4.50 for adults and $3.50 for children. There also is a terrace buffet from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Cost is $13.70 per adult and $9.50 per child. Reservations are recommended.
A prehistoric Indian mini-museum showing artifacts from the Scioto Valley is open Monday through Friday from 5 to 7:45 p.m. and the Mountain Gallery Gift Shop in the main pavilion of the theater complex offers jewelry, pottery and other items. Hours are 5 to 7:55 p.m.
Tickets are $24.95 and $17.95. To order tickets, call (866) 775-0700. For more information, visit tecumsehdrama.com.
Theater West Virginia
The shows “Honey in the Rock” and “Hatfields and McCoys” have been entertainment mainstays in West Virginia for decades — five, in fact.
Along with “Honey” and “Hatfields,” the company offers “Rocket Boys: The Musical,” which made its world premiere last year, and a couple of concerts.
“Rocket Boys: The Musical” is based on the novel of the same name by West Virginia writer Homer Hickam Jr.
Concerts include The Embers on June 28 and Phil Dirt and the Dozers on Aug. 30.
Visitors here also may see backstage tours. For $5, visitors can see how it call comes together before seeing the show.
Because the shows rotate on an uneven basis, theater-goers should refer to a schedule online to plan to see a show.
For more information or tickets, visit theaterwv.com or call Cliffside Amphitheatre at Grandview at (304) 256-6800 or (800) 666-9142.
The Trail of the
Big Stone Gap, Va., is home to the outdoor production called “The Trail of the Lonesome Pine.”
The show tells the story of the coal and iron ore boom in southwest Virginia and the changes it entailed for the residents of the area.
Shows are Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings June through August. Gates open at 7 p.m. and pre-show entertainment begins at 7:15. The show begins at 8 p.m.
For tickets or more informtaion, call (800) 362-0149. The June Tolliver Playhouse is at 518 Clinton Ave. East in Big Stone Gap, Va. Also visit trailofthelonesomepine.com.
LEE WARD can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2661.