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When I left a Thursday matinee of “Shrek the Musical,” which was full of school groups ranging from fifth graders to university upperclassmen, kindergartners to distinguished senior citizens, I couldn’t stop smiling. Judging by the other smiles I saw, it seemed like the whole audience was in rare agreement. Here’s what you need to know: The show is incredible, and it might just be the best thing you’ll ever see at the Barter.

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ABINGDON, Va. — Barter Theatre will usher in the 2019 season with the classic “Camelot” and wrap up with “White Christmas.”

ABINGDON, Va. — A 2017-18 season that builds on Barter Theatre’s award-winning tradition of bringing bold interpretations of audience favorites as well as new works to the stage was announced Friday.

Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre in Wytheville, Virginia, is really sticking its neck out with its current production of “Ragtime — The Musical.” Unlike its usual light musical fare, this is a raw show that cuts to the quick and, frankly, is hard to watch because of its unpleasant realism, edge-of-seat tenseness and a very convoluted storyline. Based on the best-selling book by E.L. Doctorow, it contains harsh realities of racism, bigotry, greed and murder as it interweaves the lives of three disparate groups in early 1900s New York.