Guys and Dolls to Kick Off 2020 Heritage Theatre Festival Season

All-Time Classic Musical To Be Followed By Karen Zacarías’s The Book Club Play And Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit; Fourth and Final Show To Be Announced At Later Date

General Auditions Set For Saturday, February 8 in Charlottesville

Last season, Heritage Theatre Festival kicked off its season and transported audiences back to a magical night in Memphis in 1956 with Million Dollar Quartet, which became the hottest selling show in Heritage history. For this year’s opener, the scene shifts to the gritty underbelly of New York City, where some of the most beloved characters in the history of musical theatre roll the dice on life and love in the Tony-award winning Frank Loesser classic Guys and Dolls.

Nathan Detroit, Sky Masterson, Miss Adelaide, and the whole gang take the Culbreth Theatre stage starting June 26 in a production directed by Million Dollar Quartet director Tim Seib. This beloved masterpiece, called by some the “perfect musical,” is full of heart and high hopes, not to mention some of the most unforgettable tunes in musical theatre history, including Luck Be a LadyTake Back Your Mink, and Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat.

The 2020 Heritage season will also include Karen Zacarías’s The Book Club Play, a new comedy about what happens when a book club goes hilariously wrong; and Noël Coward’s witty comedy Blithe Spirit. The fourth show of the season will be announced at a later date and will provide a platform for community conversations during its run, continuing the tradition established in recent years with season-ending plays The Mountaintop and The Niceties.

The season opener, Wales said, was an easy choice. “We were really looking for a way to build upon the infectious joy that filled the theatre last year with Million Dollar QuartetGuys and Dolls is the perfect intersection of a beautiful score and a terrific book that immerses you in these fantastic worlds, from the Hot Box to the Mission, and gives you song after memorable song while allowing you to go on incredible journeys with these fabulous and multidimensional characters.”

Wales is thrilled to be collaborating with director Tim Seib again: “Tim is the perfect person to infuse this show with the sense of heart that is at its core, and to bring out the humanity in these characters just as he did with our quartet of icons last summer.”

Guys and Dolls will run from June 25 to July 5 in the Culbreth Theatre. Opening Night will be June 26.

The Book Club Play, which has been described as being “like Lord of the Flies with wine and dip,” is a sharp, witty and dangerous dive into books and the people who love them. When devoted members of a book club become subjects of a documentary filmmaker, the cover is torn off the group’s comfortably uncomfortable dynamic, and quick-witted, sharp-tongued comedic chaos ensues.

“I can think of few communities more perfect for this play than ours,” Wales said, “I don’t know the numbers, but my guess is we can go page to page with most communities in the country for per capita book club participation. This is an incredibly smart, fun, and funny evening in the theatre that proves what happens in a book club doesn’t necessarily stay there!”

The Book Club Play will run from July 9-19 in the Ruth Caplin Theatre. Opening Night will be July 10.

Since premiering in 1941, Blithe Spirit by Noël Coward has won raves in London, on Broadway, and in theatres around the world, telling the story of socialite novelist Charles Condomine, who gets much more than he bargained for when he invites an eccentric medium to conduct a séance in an effort to gather material for an upcoming novel. The séance soon goes awry with a celestial visitor, Condomine’s temperamental first wife Elvira, who is set to do everything in her power to undermine his marriage to second wife Ruth. It’s an evening of magic, mayhem and, mischief.

“Coward is an extraordinary playwright with a sharp sense of humor which is one of the reasons that Blithe Spirit is still being performed almost 100 years after it was written,” Wales said. “I can’t wait to share this piece with our audiences.”

Blithe Spirit will run from July 23 to August 2 in the Ruth Caplin Theatre. Opening Night will be July 24.

The season’s final production will be announced at a later date and will run from July 30 through August 9 in the Helms Theatre. Opening night will be July 31.

Auditions for the 2020 Heritage Theatre Festival season will be held on Saturday, February 8 between 10am and 6pm in the UVA Drama Building at 109 Culbreth Road. Additional information is available at Those unable to attend this on-site audition may submit a headshot and resume by February 15 to

Heritage Theatre Festival’s 2019 season subscribers will receive information on how to renew their subscriptions for the 46th Anniversary season in March. New subscription sales will also begin in March  and single tickets will go on sale on June 3, 2020.

For more information on the upcoming 2020 Heritage Theatre Festival season and how you can support Heritage’s efforts, visit