Back under the stars!
Pioneer Playhouse to open season with ‘Clue: On Stage’

After the COVID-19 pandemic postponed last year’s Pioneer Playhouse season and cut it short, the Playhouse is starting its 72nd season off with a bang, so to speak, with the comedic murder mystery “Clue: On Stage.” It’s an adaptation of a movie and board game, and it will run June 11-July 3.

“It’s a crowd-pleaser,” said Robby Henson, artistic director of Pioneer Playhouse and director of the play. “I think, also, it has the brand of the board game, and so when we’ve heard a lot of people talking about the season this summer, they pick out Clue” as something that will be fun.

Robby’s sister and managing director of Pioneer Playhouse Heather Henson said when she initially found the play and read through it, she thought it would be too complicated to put on in an outdoor theater setting because the set description included rooms flying up and scrims flying in, and Pioneer Playhouse doesn’t use flying objects on set. So when Robby designed the set once Pioneer Playhouse chose the play, he improvised by utilizing moving and sliding parts like windows and doors.

“The thing that I like about it is it kind of celebrates theater and the magic of theater, that there’s a lot of moving parts, a lot of moving sets, a lot of bits that actors can do, slapstick comedy — so it kind of celebrates the magic of theater,” Robby said.

Heather said she loves the group of actors involved with the Playhouse this season.

“They’re just a lot of fun, and they’re professional, and they’re going to do a fantastic job with this play,” she said.

According to a press release, Patricia Hammond and Daniel Hall Kuhn, who are part of the cast, are actors who have been traveling to Danville every summer for nearly 20 years.

“Both Pat and Daniel have big followings here,” Heather said in the release. “Our patrons love seeing them on stage. We also have Erika Lee Sengstack coming back for her seventh year, and Jessa DeLuca is on her third year with us. Also, Giancarlo Herrera, a terrific young actor from a few seasons ago has returned as well.”

The cast will include a few new faces as well. The whole cast includes: Herrera as Wadsworth, Silas Waugh as Colonel Mustard, Adian Chapman as Professor Plum, Kuhn as Mr. Green, Hammond as Miss Scarlett, Lee Sengstack as Mrs. Peacock, DeLuca as Mrs. White, Ashley Rose Jones as Yvette, Brittany Voll as cook, motorist and “telegram girl,” Eric Hedland as Boddy and Barrett Minks as cop, FBI.

Heather said the three plays as part of this season at the Playhouse were meant to be shown last season, but they couldn’t due to COVID-19. As of now, like with last year’s play “Maybe, Baby,” during which the Playhouse was the only theater in Kentucky and one of the only theaters in the nation putting on a live play since it’s an outdoor theater, the Playhouse is still operating at 50% capacity, Heather said, which may change as the season progresses.

“But our 50% is over 200 seats and we can still maintain distancing,” Heather said in an email. “We are lucky to have such a large outdoor amphitheater.”

Dinner prior to the show will be served outdoors as usual, and the show will not move inside if it rains, due to the pandemic — everything will take place outdoors. This season will include three plays instead of the usual five, and it will also include a stand-up comedy weekend Aug. 13-14 and new Live Music Weekend Aug. 20-21.

TO ATTEND

According to the press release, “Clue: On Stage runs June 11 through July 3, nightly, Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. A delicious home-cooked BBQ dinner is available before the show at 7:00 p.m. in the outdoor courtyard. Dinner and show is $35 per person. Show only is $20. Pioneer Playhouse is located at 840 Stanford Road in Danville. A full schedule of plays and information can be found at pioneerplayhouse.com or by calling the box office at 859-236-2747.”