The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

March 19, 2014


— Theater West Virginia’s Act II appears to be back on track to bring a 54th year of outdoor drama to Cliffside Amphitheatre at Grandview Park.

The state Legislature came through with $125,000 in the budget built last week and TWV manager Scott Hill and his board of directors have a variety of ideas to raise an additional $325,000 to pay for another season.

Many were disappointed last September — none more than us — when the theater company was forced to close its doors. It seemed a shame that the music, laughter and history that flowed around the open-air theater would be silenced after so many years.

Wide-eyed locals and more sophisticated actors from bigger locales graced the stage year after year. One of those locals, Beckley native Chris Sarandon, has gone on to star in feature films and television.

The historical dramas, “Honey in the Rock” and “Hatfields and McCoys” provide history lessons that many West Virginians have never heard.

TWV also celebrated some of the best of Broadway and brought beloved characters to the children, giving their first taste of live acting.

The specter of closure had sounded TWV for several years, but always rescuers would swoop in at the last minute, much like saving the damsel in distress.

But then in September, a curt press release, and Theatre West Virginia was no more.

So in January, Hill and his board members rode in like the cavalry to save the day once again.

We are appreciative — and we hope area residents are, as well.

TWV has always been one big spoke in the wheel that turns tourism in the region. We feared that loss of that spoke might irrevocably injure tourism as we know it here.

Thankfully, we won’t have to find that out — for this year, at least.

TWV Act II is to be a leaner operation. Plans to raise the needed funds include selling memberships, corporate nights and even “forever” seats which will be painted a special color and have the owner’s name inscribed on the chair.

Other ideas will come forth as the days progress toward opening night.

But there is one thing TWV can’t do alone.

It will depend on you to support it with your presence at the show. It will need your recommendations to friends and family from out of state who are looking for a place to vacation.

Scott Hill believes in Theatre West Virginia. So do his board members.

If they can make believers out of all of us, Theatre West Virginia will do just fine.