Nashville actress Erin Parker takes on the role of Doralee Rhodes in 9 to 5 The Musical and the premiere of a new musical that focuses on Music City USA are highlights of the 2012 season at Virginia's Barter Theatre.
"We look forward to Barter's most highly-anticipated seasons ever; there is definitely a buzz about the 2012 program," said Richard Rose, producing artistic director of the 78-year-old theatre.
"Tickets have been on sale since last month, and I am not surprised, given audience feedback on the season, that we are already breaking presale records," added Lori Hester, director of patron services. "As soon as our season announcements arrived in mailboxes, calls have been pouring in."
Barter Theatre begins the new season with an encore performance of Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps at Barter Stage II, and although it is not the first time Barter has produced the high-energy-comedic spy-thriller, it is the very first time the theatre has brought the same production back due to its popularity with audiences and critics.
"Almost all of the performances were sold out over the summer, and we expect the same to be true this time, so I encourage reservations to be made early," said Hester.
"That's what happens when you mix the talented actors at Barter Theatre with a Hitchcock masterpiece mixed with a juicy spy novel mixed with a full serving of Monty Python. It's a fast-paced whodunit for anyone who loves to laugh and enjoy the magic of great theatre. The secret agent adventure will have audiences on the edge of their seat and giddy with the humor of four actors playing 150 characters," Hester suggested.
Dolly Parton's 9 to 5: The Musical, which features her Grammy and Tony Award-nominated score, is next up onstage. Tennessee's favorite daughter wrote all the original music for the musical based on the 1980s film after being contacted by Broadway producers. The project was entirely new for the country music legend, but she did it! "Backwoods Barbie," "Cowgirl's Revenge," "9 To 5" are just a few of the songs from the award-winning score.
"I haven't seen many Broadway musicals even to this day," Parton has been quoted as saying. "I didn't know much about it, so I didn't know I was supposed to be afraid of it. I had good guidance, so I thought I could pull it off, and danged if I didn't. I kind of got the bug. I imagine I'll be doing more in the future."
In fact, it has been reported that Parton is in the process of writing a musical based upon her life story, slated to make its way to Broadway in the future.
A musical comedy full of laughter and sidesplitting Southern sass, 9 To 5: The Musical follows three women as they scheme to take control of their company. 9 to 5: The Musical is about joining forces and taking care of business.
Ashley Campos, Tricia Matthews and Erin Parker (the artistic director of the First Night Award-winning MAS Nashville) star in this musical based on the film starring Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin (who just happens to be a Barter Theatre alum).
"Not only do the leading ladies have great chemistry together and a great history with Barter, they have outstanding chops when it comes to singing, dancing and acting. Get ready for spectacular dance numbers," said Rose. "Plus, nearly all of the members of Barter's Resident Acting Company is in it, so 9 To 5: The Musical will be grand on every level."
Later, in the time-honored Barter Theatre tradition, Richard Rose adapts A Tale of Two Cities, the Charles Dickens masterpiece. Spies, treason and love abound in this romantic and adventure-filled tale set in London and Paris during the French Revolution. Rose received rave reviews on his recent adaptation of A Christmas Carol, which played last year, as well as for many other adaptations including The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Frankenstein.
Rounding out the first repertory is a brand new play, Swamp Gas and Shallow Feelings, opening March 15. Written by well-known composer Jack Eric Williams and Johnson City native Randy Buck, director Eugene Wolf calls the music of the show "melodic and beautiful."