The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 9, 2014

Playhouse announces 2014 season

By Wendy Holdren
Register-Herald Reporter

— The Raleigh Playhouse and Theatre recently announced its 2014 play season schedule, which includes 534 Off-Broadway, “The Last Yankee,” “The Miss Firecracker Contest,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” and a holiday show.

This year marks The Raleigh’s second annual 534 Off-Broadway: A One-Act Play Festival. This year’s event will feature three shows during each performance; “Time Flies” by David Ives, “A Second of Pleasure” by Neil LaBute and “Mere Mortals” by David Ives.

534 Off-Broadway opens Feb. 20 and additional performances will be Feb. 21, 22, 26, 27, 28 and March 1 at 8 p.m. A 4 p.m. matinee will be Feb. 23.

“The Last Yankee” by Arthur Miller is next on the schedule, with performances on April 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25 and 26 at 8 p.m. A matinee will be held April 19 at 4 p.m.

This two-part play focuses on the relationships of two couples, Leroy and Patricia Hamilton, who have been married many years with seven children, and John and Karen Frick, a childless couple.

Both women are patients at a mental institution, and during Act One, John and Larry meet for the first time in the waiting room on visitors day.

Karen has not long been institutionalized, and Frick is having a difficult time coping with her mental illness; however, Patricia has been in and out of institutions for many years.

The two men struggle to communicate under the circumstances, even though this breaks down in the face of their respective situations.

Patricia and Karen have become friendly during their time together in the ward, and Act Two shows the four characters brought together inside, where a picture emerges of a society whose members feel obscurely cheated and where success is equated with failure.

Next on The Raleigh play schedule is “The Miss Firecracker Contest” by Beth Henley, with showings June 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. A matinee showing will be June 22 at 4 p.m.

This play takes place in the small Mississippi town of Brookhaven a few days before the Fourth of July.

Carnelle Scott, known locally as “Miss Hot Tamale,” is rehearsing furiously for the Miss Firecracker Contest, hoping that a victory will salvage her tarnished reputation and allow her to leave town in a blaze of glory.

The unexpected arrival of her cousin, Elain, a former Miss Firecracker winner, complicates matters, as does the repeated threat of Elain’s eccentric brother, Delmount, to sell the family homestead and decamp for New Orleans. But, aided by a touchingly awkward seamstress named Popeye and several other cheerfully nutty characters, Carnelle must work to persevere.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic “The Great Gatsby” will be performed Aug. 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29 and 30 at 8 p.m. with a 4 p.m. matinee Aug. 24.

The play, adapted by Simon Levy, is about Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire who passionately pursues the elusive Daisy Buchanan. Nick Carraway, a young newcomer to Long Island, is drawn into their world of obsession, greed and danger.

The breathtaking glamour and decadent excess of the Jazz Age will come to life on stage in Levy’s adaptation.

“Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” by Terrance McNally is next on the calendar, with showings Oct. 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24 and 25, with a 4 p.m. matinee Oct. 19.

The play focuses on two lonely, middle-age people whose first date ends with their tumbling into bed.

Johnny is certain he has found his soulmate in Frankie. She, on the other hand, is far more cautious and disinclined to jump to conclusions.

As the night unfolds, they slowly begin to reveal themselves to each other as they take tentative steps toward the possible start of a new relationship.

The final show of the season will be a holiday show. Details are not yet available, but will be announced in the upcoming months.

Ticket prices are $10 for pre-orders and $12 at the door on the day of the show. Season passes are available for $49.95 and include tickets to all six plays, plus viewings of five classic films of your choice.

For more information, call 304-763-7059, visit The Raleigh on Facebook or visit www.theraleighwv.com.

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com