West T. Hill announces new season of shows

Published 10:57 am Tuesday, July 18, 2023

West T. Hill Community Theater announced its 2023-24 season with a full schedule of shows.

The season will kick off on Sept. 29 with “Guys and Dolls, jr.”, followed by five other shows. Director Karen Logue said “Guys and Dolls” will be the biggest production of the season, which has roles for 20 young people.

This season’s shows, dates, and descriptions are listed below.

Email newsletter signup

• “Guys and Dolls, jr.” by Abe Burrows, from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 and Oct. 6 to 8. Auditions are August 6 and 7, and there are roles for 20 young people of all ages.

This musical is for young actors, and is based on the classic story about couples rolling the dice and falling in love. Set in New York City, the story follows gambler Nathan Detroit as he sets up the biggest crap game in town while trying to avoid the authorities.

• “North Pole Star” by Sally K. Albrecht, Dec. 1 to 3, and 8 to 10. Auditions are Oct 15 and 16, with roles for 20 young people.

“North Pole Star: The Search for the Most Talented Reindeer of Them All,” has audiences listen to and help pick reindeers as they audition for the most talented. Each of Santa’s reindeer auditions in front of a panel of judges, each with backup singers, and at the end, the audience helps select the winner.

• “The Odd Couple: Female Version,” by Neil Simon, from March 1 to 3, and 8 to 10. Auditions are Jan. 8 and 9, with roles for six women and two men.

“The Odd Couple” premiered on Broadway in 1965, and is about two mismatched roommates, Felix Ungar who is neat and uptight, and Oscar Madison who’s messy and casual. Neil Simon adapted the play in 1985 swapping the characters’ genders with female roommates, Florence Ungar and Olive Madison, for “The Female Odd Couple.”

Logue said that Neil Simon is having a resurgence of popularity on and off Broadway, and she thinks presenting this show will be fun and popular with the community.

“We presented this show when we were in the old “Black Box” at Centre College some 20 years ago; and to date, it is the only show that we ever held over to accommodate sold out crowds in the history of our theatre,” Logue said.

• “Harvey” by Mary Chase, May 3 to 5, and 9 to 11. Auditions are March 4 and 5, and there are roles for six women and six men.

This show won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1945. The story follows Elwood P. Dowd, who is a nice gentleman, but claims to have a presumably imaginary friend Harvey, a six foot-tall rabbit. Elwood introduces Harvey to everyone he meets. His sister Veta Simmons is embarrassed by his behavior, and decides to have him committed to a sanitarium.

When they arrive at the sanitarium, some comedic errors happen, and Veta ends up getting committed instead of Elwood. When the mistake is realized, people go on the search for Elwood and his invisible companion.

“I think it will be fun to revisit “Harvey” after all these years; this play is an endearing one and has been for generations,” Logue said.

• “Ripcord” by David Lindsay-Abaire, June 14-16, and 21-23. Auditions are April 7-8, with roles for three women and three men.

“Ripcord” tells the story of an irritable and sarcastic old woman, Abby Binder, who has kept a room to herself at the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility. When bubbly, cheerful Marilyn Dunne is placed in her room, their personalities clash, and Abby tries to scare her away.

Marilyn embraces the challenge of Abby’s bad attitude, and refuses to move. The two women make a bet that if Abby can break Marilyn’s endless patience and make her angry, Marilyn will move out. But if she can frighten Abby, who claims to never get scared, she will get the bed by the window.

The bet causes some comedic chaos, but escalates into a dangerous game, with emotionally and physically dangerous tricks. The show is a slapstick comedy with an endearing enemies-to-friends story.

• “A Broadway Musical Revue,” from July 11-14. Auditions are June 9-10.

In this musical review, local performers have an opportunity to showcase their vocal talents. Songs like “Matchmaker,” “Agony,” “Consider Yourself,” “Part of Your World,” “Good Morning,” and other Broadway classics will provide an evening of fun music.

Logue said the Broadway Musical Revue is a unique addition to this season.

“We haven’t done a musical review in some time, and it will offer both young and older performers an opportunity to sing some great musical pieces in a ‘cabaret’ type style,” she said.

Logue explained that West T. Hill chooses each year’s shows by suggestions from their board and their list of approved directors. A committee then decides each play based on if the theater can cast it easily, whether the set fits the space, if it’ll sell, and if it is artistically pleasing.

“Ripcord” is another different type of play this year, as it’s a relatively new piece just made available. Logue said it’s a touching comedy-drama with twists and turns.

Logue said people are looking forward to all of the shows, and believes “The Odd Couple: Female Version,” and “Harvey” might be especially popular with audiences.