Pioneer Playhouse season announced in time for the holidays

Published 10:32 am Friday, December 9, 2022


Pioneer Playhouse of Danville announced its upcoming 2023 summer season and will be offering a special discount on Patron Passes and Super Passes just in time for the holidays.

“So many people tell us that they buy our Patron Passes for their wife or husband or mom or dad,” said Heather Henson, managing director of the historic theatre her father, Eben Henson, founded in 1950. “It’s become a tradition for us to give a discount before Christmas.”

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Pioneer Playhouse will open for its 74th season under the stars this summer with an original murder mystery spoof.

“We haven’t premiered an original play since before Covid-19,” she said. “So, we’re excited. Blood Suede Shoes: A Sergeant Elvis Presley Mystery, will not only be our opener on June 9, 2023 but it was also written by Robby, so we’ll know it’ll be a big hit.”

That’s Robby Henson, of course, artistic director at Kentucky’s oldest outdoor theatre, who also serves as occasional playwright. Robby Henson’s plays include The Wonder Team, Good Blues Tonight, and Breaking Up With Elvis – all were big hits over the years for Pioneer Playhouse.

Blood Suede Shoes: A Sergeant Elvis Presley Murder Mystery (June 9-July 1) is a zany spoof on an Agatha Christie-type murder mystery set in a spooky Scottish castle — with a twist: a young, uniformed Elvis Presley shows up to save the day.

“It’s really an audacious idea that came about over a series of lunches with the actors,” said Robby Henson. “We were riffing on what would be a funny mash-up, and we came up with a spooky Scottish castle with all these posh aristocrats, and then in walks Elvis Presley. At first, the characters don’t believe it’s really him.”

According to Robby, the play is based on a kernel of truth. A young Sergeant Elvis Presley did have to land in Scotland during some stormy weather as he was flying home from the service.

“Maybe this comedy answers the question of why Elvis never set foot in Scotland again,” said Robby Henson.

The second play of the season will be Farce of Nature by Jamie Wooten, Jessie Jones, and Nicholas Hope, the team of writers behind such hits as The Red Velvet Cake War. The comedy, which runs July 4 – July 22 centers around an older couple running a fishing lodge in the Ozarks that’s seen better days. Business suddenly picks up with a bang though once a jittery Chicago gangster appears, followed by a string of oddball characters.

“Slamming doors, mistaken identity, crazy disguises – that basically describes this play,” said Heather Henson. “And it’s exactly what our audiences love.”

Ending the regular three-play season will be Kosher Lutherans by William Missouri Downs. Running from July 25 – August 12, Kosher Lutherans is a smart, funny take on marriage and parenthood.

“It’s witty, but heartwarming as well,” she said. “We think audiences will really identify with the characters.”

Finishing out the 74th season will be comedy superstar, Lee Cruse, joined by his Kentucky Comedy All-Stars in a special stand-up comedy weekend, August 18-19.

“We’re excited about the season,” said Heather Henson. “We like to make our audiences laugh, and I think we’ve picked shows that are sure to do that.”

Pioneer Playhouse is located at 840 Stanford Road in Danville Kentucky. Patron Passes and Super Passes can be purchased at a discount until January 15, 2023, by calling the box office at 859-236-2747, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Passes may also be purchased online at”