Barter Theatre

Barter Theatre's Richard Rose, producing artistic director, introduces the 2019 schedule last week.


» “Camelot”: The 1960 Tony Award-winning Broadway musical from the team who wrote “My Fair Lady,” “Camelot” retells the legend of King Arthur, based on a novel by T.H. White. The hallmarks of King Arthur’s story are all here: Arthur, the magician Merlyn, the beloved Guenevere, the haughty Lancelot and a long list of betrayals, feasts, battles and songs.

» “Madame Buttermilk”: “Madame Buttermilk” is a musical mash-up of country music and opera, starring a struggling opera singer who gets a job singing with a country music band at the West Virginia state fair, while her agent plots ways to advance her career. “Madame Buttermilk” was the 2016 winner of Barter Theatre’s Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights and premiered in June 2018.

» “Morning After Grace”: An original play by Carey Crim follows Angus and Abigail, an unlikely pair of lovers who meet at a funeral in Florida, as they decide whether love is worth a second chance. Their perspectives, along with that of neighbor Ollie, a former Detroit Tigers baseball player with a fondness for golf and yoga, bring them into an unexpected journey that allows them to discover new things about themselves, even late in life.

» “Twelfth Night”: Shakespeare’s classic comedy of mistaken identity finds Viola taking on the role of her twin brother Sebastian in order to survive in a strange land, while she acts as messenger between Duke Orsino and the object of his love, Olivia. Things take a ridiculous turn when Olivia falls in love with Viola, believing her to be the Duke’s handsome male servant. The Duke’s real servants, meanwhile, busy themselves crafting elaborate pranks as a means of bringing the pompous steward Malvolio to heel.


» “Shrek: The Musical”: Based on the animated DreamWorks film, “Shrek: The Musical” follows a disgusting, misanthropic ogre who just wants to be left alone. His mission to run everyone out of his swamp eventually forces him to go save a princess, who is dealing with a terrible curse of her own. The cast of characters makes for a magical, hilarious romp through fairy tale tropes that ends with a heartwarming take on what it means to be loved.

» “Exit Laughing”: In a comedy by Paul Elliott, a group of genteel Southern ladies, who have bonded for years over weekly bridge nights, are stunned when their exuberant leader unexpectedly dies. Left without a real chance to say goodbye, the three women smuggle their friend’s ashes out of the funeral home to give her one last card game, and the night takes on a wild turn, with police raids, strippers and laughter in the face of grief.

» “Church Basement Ladies”: With music, laughter and plenty of food, the ladies of the local church create an oasis in the church’s basement kitchen, where they can share love and wisdom with one another before heading home to their farms. The ladies take audiences on a side-splitting journey through Southern cooking and spirituality, based on the book “Growing Up Lutheran,” solving the town’s problems with humor and heart.

» “La Cage Aux Folles”: This 1983 musical takes on the disappointments of a couple aging out of show business and their attempts to hang onto their dignity, their children and each other. The worlds of drag shows, overweening parents and bittersweet middle age all come together in this hugely successful show, with music by Jerry Herman and a book by Harvey Fierstein.


» “Once”: Adapted from the 2007 film, “Once” is a minimalist, indie musical that follows two archetypes, Guy and Girl, struggling to connect with their true feelings. For Guy, navigating the world of record labels is just as hazardous as the possibility of opening his heart again, but in the course of falling for Girl, Guy rekindles his love of music.

» “The Producers”: Mel Brooks’ “The Producers” started as a classic comedy film about two unlikely partners trying to mount the world’s worst musical — all in an attempt to make with the money and run. Featuring irreverent hits like “Springtime for Hitler” and “When You Got It, Flaunt It,” “The Producers” is full of laugh-a-minute, iconic Brooks humor that shies away from nothing.

» “Wait Until Dark”: A spooky treat for the Halloween season, “Wait Until Dark” crafts a tale of murder, secret identities and a switchblade named Geraldine for a hilarious adaptation of Frederick Knott’s original mystery. The story centers around Susan Hendrix, a blind woman whose apartment is invaded by three men, who likely have no idea what they’re in for going up against Hendrix.

» “Maytag Virgin”: With lovable characters from the Deep South, “Maytag Virgin,” a play by Audrey Cefaly, tells the story of two neighbors going on a new journey through healing and self-discovery. Character-driven, quirky and full of evocative insights, this play offers a witty peek at how people can come together in the most unusual ways.


» “White Christmas”: Featuring Irving Berlin’s classic songs, “White Christmas” tells a timeless story of holiday cheer, set in the aftermath of World War II. Two wartime friends have made it big as entertainers after completing their service in the Army, and together, they try to mount an incredible show to honor their old comrades, save a sleepy tourist inn and find love. “White Christmas” returns to Barter to make more holiday memories.

» “Jacob Marley’s A Christmas Carol”: Audiences will experience the familiar story of “A Christmas Carol” from the perspective of Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s longtime business partner locked in unceasing torment after swindling customers all his life. If Marley can convince Scrooge to turn his life around, then Marley may get another chance, too.

» “The Santaland Diaries”: Barter Theatre again presents its annual performance of “The Santaland Diaries,” horrifying and hilarious tales from the eyes of a writer-turned-Macy’s-Department-Store-elf. His acerbic takes on shoppers’ holiday madness make for relatable rants that help audiences put some of their Christmas stress into perspective. Adapted from original essays and radio performances by American humorist David Sedaris, “The Santaland Diaries,” while not appropriate for all ages, has earned a place as a holiday classic.

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