Heritage Theatre Festival Announces 45th Anniversary Season

The Professional Theatre Company At The University of Virginia To Present Tony-Nominated Musical Million Dollar Quartet; Kate Hamill’s Acclaimed Adaptation of Pride and Prejudice; Robert Harling’s Beloved Steel Magnolias; and Eleanor Burgess’s Powerful, Thought-Provoking The Niceties

Auditions Set For February 23 and 24

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – Wednesday, February 13 – This summer, Heritage Theatre Festival will be back to celebrate its 45th year with a season that explores concepts of connection and community from a variety of fascinating, entertaining, and engaging angles.

The season will kick off on June 28 with the Tony-nominated musical Million Dollar Quartet at the Culbreth Theatre. Next up will be Kate Hamill’s whimsically raucous and romantic adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, followed by Robert Harling’s widely adored Steel Magnolias.  Closing out the 45th anniversary season is The Niceties, by Eleanor Burgess, a timely and explosive look at how we think and talk about race, history, and power.

“We did not set out to create this season around a unifying theme,” said Heritage Theatre Festival Artistic Director, Jenny Wales, “but I was struck by the way themes revealed themselves through our choices. What we found is that this season is very much about community and connection, both of which are integral in our continued work to bridge the gaps between us, and to move forward as a University community and as part of the larger community here in Charlottesville. Each play addresses community in its own way while creating dynamic theatrical experiences that will bring people together to laugh, to think, to feel, and to engage with one another.”

On December 4, 1956, four of the greatest legends of rock and roll came together for an impromptu jam session at Sam Phillips’ legendary Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. Million Dollar Quartet takes us on a journey of this incredible day, when the ultimate supergroup of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis came together for the first and only time to run through their respective megahits, like Lewis’ Whole Lotta Shaking Going On, Perkins’ Blue Suede Shoes, Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues, and Presley’s Hound Dog, among others.  Featuring a wildly talented cast of actors and musicians, Colin Escott’s and Floyd Mutrux’s Tony-nominated smash hit has had audiences on Broadway and beyond jumping to their feet night after night.

Million Dollar Quartet will play from June 28 through July 7 in the Culbreth Theatre.

Next up will be Kate Hamill’s acclaimed and innovative adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, a play that asks the age-old question: “What turns us into greater fools…than the high-stakes game of love?” Hamill’s answer comes in a form that gives us Austen as we’ve never experienced her before. The tale of the outspoken Lizzy Bennett, whose determination to avoid marriage in the face of crushing social pressure is tested by the dashingly handsome, mildly amusing, impossibly aggravating, and remarkably ubiquitous Mr. Darcy. The sweeping tale is told here by a dynamic eight-person cast who double up on roles and double down on laughter, whimsy, and romance, making for a highly entertaining journey for audiences of all ages.

Pride and Prejudice will run from July 12-21 in the Ruth Caplin Theatre

Robert Harling’s beloved Steel Magnolias centers around the sharp, strong, witty, and big-hearted cast of characters inside Truvy’s beauty salon in Chinquapin, Louisiana. Truvy dispenses shampoos, scathing wisecracks, and free advice, all delivered in equal measure and with her signature flair, to a group of dynamic, hilarious, and resilient women. When tragedy enters the picture, the women offer powerful and universal lessons in sacrifice, love, and the importance of building friendships and memories that can sustain us forever.

Steel Magnolias will run from July 26-August 4 in the Culbreth Theatre.

The Heritage Theatre Festival’s 45th Anniversary season will conclude with The Niceties, an incisive, thought-provoking play by Eleanor Burgess. When Zoe, an African-American student, meets with her white professor to discuss a paper about slavery’s role in the American Revolution, what begins as a polite conversation turns into a powder keg of race, history, and power that fundamentally changes both women. The Washington Post called The Niceties “…a barnburner of a play!” and “one of the best plays I’ve seen about who gets to tell our story and how.”   Wales agrees: “Who has told, is telling and will tell our story as a country and as a community? This is a prescient piece as we continue in our efforts to build bridges and to explore the ways in which we talk to one another, and more importantly, how we listen to one another.” Just as it did with last season’s The Mountaintop, Heritage will host community conversations following each performance of The Niceties.

The Niceties will run from August 2-11 in the Ruth Caplin Theatre.

Auditions for the 2019 Heritage Theatre Festival season will be held on Saturday, February 23 between 10am and 5pm and on Sunday, February 24 between 1pm and 5pm in the UVA Drama Building at 109 Culbreth Road. Information on auditions is available at www.heritagetheatrefestival.org/auditions. Those unable to attend this on-site audition may submit a headshot and resume by March 1 to heritage@virginia.edu.

Heritage Theatre Festival’s 2018 season subscribers will receive information on how to renew their subscriptions for the 45th Anniversary season in mid-March. New subscription sales will begin on April 8 and single tickets will go on sale on June 5.

For more information on the upcoming 2019 Heritage Theatre Festival season and how you can support Heritage’s efforts, visit www.heritagetheatrefestival.org.