CHERRY ORCHARD THEATRE 2013 SEASON
Outdoor theatre is a tradition in our part of the world. Over the years North Carolina has boasted more outdoor theatre productions than any state in the country, ranging from famous ones like "The Lost Colony" and "Unto These Hills" to lesser known productions that are often of good quality.
Though we are in Virginia, we are only eight miles distant from this "mother" state of outdoor theatre. Inspired by the tradition in North Carolina -- and by the 55-mile view of mountains and valleys from our cherry orchard outdoor ampitheatre site -- since 1999 we have been offering a wide variety of theater experiences at The Cherry Orchard Theatre. Here we have performed dozens of plays, had numerous concerts and storytelling gatherings, and played host to some of the leading theatrical and musical talent in our region. Over the years many thousands of people have come, bearing lawn chairs and perhaps a picnic supper and a bottle of wine -- no restrictions there! -- to watch performances and to enjoy the coolness of the Blue Ridge Mountain evening and the spectacular view behind the stage.
Showtime is at 7 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. Rain or shine, the show must go on -- if it's raining we move to our packhouse, a friendly confine for theatre that smells like the peaches we are selling there during theatre season! Tickets are $10 and purchased at the door -- reservations are accepted but not required, there is plenty of elbow room. Bring lawn chairs, food, and something to drink -- then sit back on the cool grass, and enjoy the show!
The 2013 theatre season at the Cherry Orchard Theatre at Levering Orchard marks our fifteenth year doing theatre here -- a milestone we are very proud of. And this year promises to be one of our best theatre seasons ever -- if not THE best -- with a great variety of offerings and a little something for everyone! Additionally, on Saturday evening, August 31, we are throwing a party -- a birthday party -- to celebrate the 100th birthday of the late Miriam Levering, who, with her husband Sam, lived and worked at the orchard for over fifty years. This birthday celebration will coincide with a theatrical performance on that same evening of August 31. All in all, it promises to be a great season at Cherry Orchard theatre -- so don't be a stranger!
STORYTELLERS WEEKEND -- AUGUST 2, 3 & 4
Building on the success of previous years, once again we are serving up the talents of a great selection of storytellers from this area -- folks who can keep you on the edge of your seat with a scary tale, or make you laugh out loud with a story about "cat biscuits" or hot vintage cars with a hot date in the seat next to you! This year's storytelling cast includes some real stemwinders! -- Terri Ingalls, Dick and Su Olchak, and many more! The storytellers weekend is always one of the most fun weekends of the year -- plenty of laughter, and occasionally a tear or two that actually feels good to let loose on your cheek! We have the talent assembled -- all we need now is you!
FAR APPOMATTOX -- TWO WEEKENDS -- AUGUST 9, 10, 11 & 16, 17 & 18
A few years back we had the pleasure of presenting the play "The Last Cavalier," about the life of Confederate Calvary leader J.E.B. Stuart, a local swashbuckler from nearby Ararat, Virginia. That play was one of the all-time successes at the Cherry Orchard Theatre, with big crowds arriving every night to sit in lawn chairs, maybe sip a little wine, and watch the Civil War unfold before them.
We learned something from that experience. What we learned is that doing a play that takes place during the Civil War, in our outdoor location, and not all that far from where much of the Civil War actually occurred, creates so much magic in one evening that you forget you are living in the modern world. For one evening, anyway, you are back in a very different time and place, a world that only the magic of theatre can create.
"The Last Cavalier" was inspired by a book of the same title, written by the late and great Civil War historian Burke Davis, of Greensboro, N.C. This year, we turn again to Burke Davis and his inspiring work, this time to his book "To Appomattox," a gripping account of the last few days leading up to the famous encounter between Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, an encounter that unified our nation once more, and that still echoes across time in our hearts, and imaginations.
Our play -- never performed before anywhere -- is called FAR APPOMATTOX. It is about the last days of the Lee and Grant campaign, about what each of these men and the men who served under them were experiencing, in their hearts
and minds. Much of what you will see in FAR APPOMATTOX will be fresh to you -- many of the things you may have learned, or thought to be true, about those fateful final days leading up to the end of the Civil War, don't really get to the heart of what these men were experiencing. We think of them -- Lee and Grant in particular -- as very familiar men to us -- very "near," in a sense But are they near, really? How well do we really know them? Isn't it possible, after all, that Lee and Grant and the men who surrounded them in those wrenching final days are "far" from us -- elusive -- the men who people the unfamiliar yet compelling world of FAR APPOMATTOX.
This is a must-be-here experience, not only for Civil War buffs but for anyone drawn to human drama and the mysteries of our nation's past. Do not miss it! For as William Faulkner once said, "The past is never dead -- it's not even past."
Written by Frank Levering, the play features Dan Hornak, Bill Hamlin, Joey Haynes, Matthew Utt, and Kay Cox. Come see it!
WEEKEND OF THE END OF THE WORLD -- AUGUST 23, 24 & 25
It's in the air these days -- on people's minds in every corner of the planet -- what does it mean to live in a world so threatened by climate change, terrorism, nuclear weapons, the mass extinction of life species, the future of limited water -- and on and on. The title of a book by Bill McKibben on the consequences of global warming -- "The End of Nature" -- evokes the sense of an ominous downturn of life as we have known it that many of us are feeling now. It is very much the cultural "water we drink" to contemplate the End Times -- whether those times arrive as the book of Revelation describes them, or by a kind of Eco-Geddon of human making. In this weekend of readings, music, and theatrical performance, highlighting a diversity of perspectives on the book of Revelation as metaphor and prophecy, and on global warming, terror, nuclear war and the collapse of ecosystems as a kind of modern Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the theatre takes a hard look at life as we or our children may come to know it. Though it all sounds pretty grim, this is a weekend that will celebrate that greatest of human capacities -- the capacity for hard thought. Denial, it has been said, is a potent force in the human psyche -- but not this weekend at the theatre.
A CELEBRATION OF THE LOVE POEMS OF DOROTHY PARKER: LIVE MUSIC WITH
MELVA HOUSTON AND RECITATIONS WITH TERRI INGALLS -- AUGUST 30 & SEPTEMBER 1
At the other end of the spectrum -- into the darkness, sometimes, shines the light of love and wit. On these two evenings we will celebrate the legacy of poet Dorothy Parker, whose witty and entertaining love poems have inspired people everywhere and set a very high bar for female commentary on romantic love. Blending recitations by Terri Ingalls and live performance of pop standards by Melva Houston, these will be evenings of loud laughter and keen recognition of what happens, in love, between partners who are not always little angels! For the first time, the legendary Melva Houston, best known as a jazz singer, teams up with the equally renowned storyteller and actress Terri Ingalls for a show that NOT ONLY WOMEN will love! A good night for a mellow bottle of wine and a romantic date!
THE MIRIAM FEST -- SATURDAY EVENING AUGUST 31
This is it! -- the celebration of the 100th birthday of the late Miriam Levering, a woman who combined raising a large family and life on an orchard with peace activism on the world stage; whose pivotal work on the Law of the Sea Treaty from 1972 to 1982 crowned a lifetime of remarkable citizen activism and deep concern for peace, justice and happiness on planet Earth. Invited guests will be at the theater from all over the country -- people who knew Miriam in one context or another -- and on this evening the publc is invited to share in celebration and remembrance. Join Melva Houston, Terri Ingalls, Frank Levering, acoustic musician Deane Kern (Miriam's grandson) and others in a fond look back at who Miriam was, the inspiration and love she gave others, and the legacy she left of wildly improbable achievement under the most challenging of life circumstances. A birthday celebration for Miriam, this evening is also a celebration of the entire human family and its capacity for greatness.
For those who wish to attend, Miriam Fest begins at noon at the theater with a picnic lunch, followed by an afternoon of reminiscence about her (in the shade of cherry trees!). The public is invited, at no charge, for any or all of the afternoon.
AN EVENING WITH THE DUKE: THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF JOHN WAYNE --
SEPTEMBER 6 & 7
A Mount Airy resident, The six foot four inch Dan Hornak -- aka Jake Thorne -- IS John Wayne in this moving, funny, and at times very unexpected portrait of a Hollywood film legend. Premiered a few years back at Cherry Orchard Theatre, this one-man show has gone on to play (on stage) at the prestigious Festival of Western Film in California, and has had more recent runs in various North Carolina venues. Until you see this show, you simply won't believe that any man alive could look and sound so much like John Wayne. But what really sets the show apart and makes it so memorable is the stuff of Wayne's life -- his defeats as well as his great triumphs, his loving yet stormy relationships with women and with director John Ford, his self-deprecating humor even as the 1960s and the war in Vietnam conspired to turn the image of John Wayne on its ear. All in all, the Duke was not quite the man we talk about when we loosely describe macho behavior as "being John Wayne" and the like. In fact, as this show demonstrates, he was a man of surprising complexity, tenderness -- and even, quite often, self-doubt. Who knew? Well, Dan Hornak did -- and in this show, he gets the legend right!
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE SHOWS, CALL 336-786-4316 ANYTIME.
OR, DURING BUSINESS HOURS, 276-755-3593.