Cherry Orchard Theatre
CHERRY ORCHARD THEATRE 2022
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 theater 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!
This season we will be practicing social distancing and have the perfect place to do it — a large, outdoor theater space! Check the website in July and August for updates. But for now, our 2022 season features six weekends at our spectacularly beautiful Cherry Orchard Theatre stage. All shows start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10. No reservations required. For more info, call 276-755-3593 or 276-755-2224. We look forward to seeing you!
Summer 2022 Schedule
August 5, 6, 7 — A UNIQUE CELEBRATION AND PARTY
All three nights this weekend we will be hosting a unique celebration of love, romance, turning 70 years old, and the joy of life. What we’re doing exactly must remain a mystery. But, performers of theater and music will be here from Los Angeles and New York, as well as local musicians, actors and storytellers. It’s one big party, over three nights! This will be a unique weekend in the history of the orchard. Admission is free and food and drinks will be served at no charge. Join us for something special!
AUGUST 12, 13, 14 — AN EVENING OF STORYTELLING AND POETRY
Over 24 seasons at Cherry Orchard Theatre, we’ve often combined local storytelling and poetry with live music, always a winning combination. This year, once again, we offer poetry by local poets along with storytelling by Terri Ingalls and others. If you are a poet or a storyteller, you are welcome to take our stage and tell your stories and read your poems as well. Please join us for what is always a magical evening.
AUGUST 19, 20, 21 — MOTHERS AND TERRORISTS, A Play
Several years ago, director and playwright David Beach and actor and director Patrick Butler teamed to bring the well-known play, RED, to our theatre. Now David and Patrick return with “Mothers and Terrorists,” written by David and performed by Patrick, a powerful meditation on a man’s troubled relationship with his aging mother before, during and after the tragedy of 9/11. The world of theatre is a big tent — there are as many kinds of plays as there are songs — and this is one of those reflective, quietly forceful and compelling plays that looks inward as well as outward, inspiring us to examine our own lives more carefully and take a deeper dive into the complexity of identity. Please join us for this very special evening, which we expect to be followed by a conversation with David and Patrick. See you here!
AUGUST 26, 27, 28 — MISSISSIPPI MONOLOGUES, A Play
After some serious introspection at the theatre, it’s time for laughter! This weekend meet Miss Muriel Harkins, a “Mississippi matriarch” from Magnolia, Mississippi; Raney Sue Malone, rush chairman of a college social club and control freak; Bel McClintock, housewife and busyholic with her litttle dog, Honey; and Wanda Wanamaker, host of the radio advice show for the lovelorn, “Workin’ It With Wanda.” Each of these vivid women spring from the imagination of playwright C.C. Henley, who lives in Jackson, Mississippi and draws her characters from a deep well of knowledge of Southern women. And each of C.C.’s characters are portrayed in this one-woman show by a leading lady of theatre in this area, Rose Warshawna. As research for this play, and to better know C.C. Henley, Rose traveled to Jackson this March and steeped herself in C.C’s world. “Satire” would be one way, broadly, to describe C.C.’s darkly funny play. But another way would be, what women will do, sometimes, to make themselves heard in a world that often doesn’t hear their torment. C.C.’s voice speaks eloquently in this play, intersecting at times with the cultural landscape in the Mississippi plays of her sister, playwright Beth Henley. Please join us. And we anticipate continuing the laughter in a conversation with C.C. and Rose after the show.
SEPTEMBER 2, 3, 4 (LABOR DAY WEEKEND) — THE STAIRS, A Play
It’s Atlanta, the present day, and things aren’t going well for 83-year-old widow Elaine Hoffman, Ellie to her friends. She lives alone, and just two weeks ago she fell one night, badly injuring her neck and breaking her elbow. Fearing that her next fall might be down the flight of stairs from her upstairs bedroom, her son, Gordon, has taken matters into his own hands and is confining Ellie to the downstairs. That’s a bitter pill for Ellie to swallow. To make matters worse, she misses her late husband, Mal, with all her heart, and confinement has set her on a tormented spiritual quest to somehow reunite with him. Now it’s Rosh Hashana, and Gordon has arrived to visit her and to talk turkey about her slipping memory and the perils of continuing to live at home.
This is the premise of Frank Levering’s new play, performed by actors so good you have to see them to believe it — Terri Ingalls and Patrick Butler. Last year’s play with Terri and Patrick was later performed in Los Angeles, where audiences loved their work. That play followed another play in 2021 to go from the orchard to a larger stage — last November, Holly Hunter and Amy Madigan did a reading of Frank’s “letters play,” “The Distance Between Us,” a story of 19th Century Quakers. This year Terri and Patrick are exploring the world of contemporary Southern Jews, but the larger themes of the play are the quest for a spiritual identity and the abiding yearning for love that is eternal. As always, the premiere of a new play is an occasion for excitement and celebration. Please join us!
SEPTEMBER 9, 10, 11 — DOES A DRESS HAVE A LIFE? A One-Woman Show
In 2014, local artist and West Virginia native Millie Hiatt founded the local chapter of Spoken Word, devoted, as she says, to the oral tradition in storytelling and poetry that she and others want to preserve. For some time now, Millie has been mulling the possibility of performing a show about her remarkable life, a rural West Virginia girl in often difficult childhood circumstances come to full maturity now as she reflects on all the threads woven into what she calls the “fabrics of life.” In one sense, Millie’s show is about “piecing one’s life back together,” in her evocative phrase. But in another sense, as artists, it seems, are compelled to do, Millie’s show makes a kind of quilt — or a dress — a made thing of beauty, much as her life has become — with much reflection and hard work — a thing of beauty. So this is a show about a life examined and “pieced together,” in memory and reflection. Both poet and philosopher — and vibrant spirit — Millie reminds us of why our theatre is here at all: to provide a space for public expression of the kind of inner reality that artists bring forth into the world in infinitely creative ways. Does a dress have a life? It does, and Millie’s here to tell us how.
Admission is only ten dollars. Bring a lawn chair and anything you would like to eat or drink.
For more information –starting in July-, and any questions you may have, please call 276-755-3593. On Saturdays and Sundays, you can call the packhouse number — 276-755-3593 — and speak with Frank Levering.You can also often speak with Frank at 276-755-4722 (cell phone reception permitting), or email him at email@example.com.
We’ll see you on the mountain!
— Frank Levering
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE SHOWS, STARTING IN JULY, CALL 276-755-3593.