BY SANDY STAGGS
Tis the Season Announcement Season, the Mill Town Players showcased the company’s upcoming 6th year of programming tonight at the Historic Pelzer Auditorium with drumrolls, top secret efficiency, and sneak preview performances.
Executive Artistic Director Will Ragland unveiled the seven shows of the 2019-20 season with a crafty coup of the South Carolina premiere of “Bright Star” by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell – leading the pack and a sure-fire barn-burning hit music show of legendary Southern rock called “Simple Man,” after the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic.
See Videos and Images from Carolina Curtain Call’s Live Reports from the Season Reveal, including Wil Ragland’s epic “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
With assistance from MTP veteran performers Hannah Morton (who jazzed eager patrons with “Hard Candy Christmas”), Libby Riggins and Aaron Pennington who gave a sneak preview of his character Marcellus’ number “Shipoopi” from “The Music Man” opening in July 2020, as did Ragland who will return to the MTP stage next season as the lovable conman Harold Hill.
“Bright Star” kicks off the festivities on Sept. 20 followed by the holiday music show “A Smoky Mountain Christmas,” directed and choreographed by longtime collaborator Kimberlee Ferreira.
Comedies are in full bloom with “Moonlight and Magnolias,” the Hilarious Almost True Story of the Making of Gone with the Wind in January 2020 and the Southern-Fried trailer park farce “The Red Velvet Cake War” (May 2020) by the same trio of playwrights that penned “Dearly Departed” and “The Dixie Swim Club.”
Family affairs are also in abundant supply with everyone’s favorite children’s pig story “Charlotte’s Web,” as well as the great American staple of community theatre “The Music Man” closing out the season. Ragland,
But I suspect “Simple Man” will be the show that draws the masses, including non-traditional theatregoers that still rock out to the music of such bands as The Allman Brothers, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Charlie Daniels Band, ZZ Top, Molly Hatchet, Blackfoot, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. By the end of the night you’ll want to stand up and yell, “Free Bird!”
A New Musical by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell – SC Premiere!
Sept 20 – Oct 6, 2019
Bright Star tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ’40s. Propelled by an ensemble of onstage musicians and dancers, the story unfolds as a rich tapestry of deep emotion, beautiful melodies, and powerfully moving performances.
Director: Mary Nickles – Musical Director: Joshua Morton
A Smoky Mountain Christmas
A Country Music Christmas Concert
Dec 6 – 22, 2019
A Smoky Mountain Christmas is sure to be the perfect way to enjoy the holiday season with an original concert production of country music conceived by the same team that brought you Christmas in Dixie. Some of the Upstate’s best singers, backed by a live band, will make your Christmas especially merry!
Director/Choreographer: Kimberlee Ferreira
Moonlight and Magnolias
The Hilarious Almost True Story of the Making of Gone with the Wind
Jan 17 – Feb 2, 2020
1939 Hollywood is abuzz. Legendary producer David O. Selznick is five weeks into shooting Gone with the Wind when he realizes the script is awful and that the director doesn’t have a clue. He has five days to replace them, and restart the shoot, or the production will shut down. What’s a movie mogul to do?
Director: Noah Taylor
The Beloved Tale of True Friendship
Feb 28 – Mar 8, 2020
Described as the best American children’s book of the past two hundred years, Charlotte’s Web tells the story of Wilbur, the irresistible young pig who desperately wants to avoid the butcher. The extraordinary spider, Charlotte, is determined to save Wilbur, and begins her campaign with the “miracle” of her web.
Director: Katie Halstensgard
A Southern Rock Show
April 3 – 26, 2020
It’s time to rock, y’all! Come enjoy this original concert production featuring the hits of such bands as The Allman Brothers, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Charlie Daniels Band, ZZ Top, Molly Hatchet, Blackfoot, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. By the end of the night you’ll want to stand up and yell, “Free Bird!”
Director/Choreographer: Kimberlee Ferreira and Musical Director: Joshua Morton
The Red Velvet Cake War
A Delicious Southern-Fried Comedy
May 22 – Jun 7, 2020
The three Verdeen cousins—Gaynelle, Peaches, and Jimmie Wyvette—could not have picked a worse time to throw their family reunion, smack-dab in the middle of Texas tornado season. Things spin hilariously out of control, ending with a high-stakes wager on who bakes the best red velvet cake. Director: Will Ragland
The Music Man
The Great American Musical
July 17 – Aug 9, 2020
There’s trouble in River City when a fast-talking salesman gets his heart stolen by the town librarian. This award-winning, all-American, Broadway classic features a one-of-a-kind, nostalgic score of rousing marches, barbershop quartets, and sentimental ballads. Will Ragland stars as Professor Harold Hill.
Director: Reed Halvorson and Musical Director: LeRoy Kennedy
Cast: Will Ragland as Harold Hill, Aaron Pennington as Marcellus
For season ticket information, visit www.milltownplayers.com