While women have always played large, significant, and influential roles in the past 50 seasons at The Barley Sheaf Players (BSP), the upcoming 51st season goes even further. For the first time, each of its five regular-season shows will have women in the top two staff positions of director and producer, and, in the case of their one musical, the positions of musical director and choreographer as well.
The season opens on September 7 with the heartwarming comedy, The Cemetery Club by Ivan Menchell, directed by Cindy Schneider and produced by Rhonda Bastarache. The play touches on issues of aging, death, and marriage, but mostly on friendship and loyalty. Three Jewish widows who are long-time friends meet for tea every Sunday and then proceed to visit the cemetery where all three husbands are buried. Lucille is flamboyant, flirty and fun-loving. Doris is straight-laced and priggish with a witty sarcastic tongue. Ida is sweet and ready to move on with her life. When Ida meets an interested widower, Sam, at the cemetery, Doris and Lucille are less than pleased. Fans of The Golden Girls won’t want to miss this one, which runs through September 22.
Following that, director Fran Kane and producer Laurie Burke will helm the suspenseful drama Night Must Fall by Emlyn Williams. An isolated house. A grisly murder. All the evidence points to one man who, with increasingly brazen confidence, is insinuating himself into the household, gaining the trust of the owner and seducing her niece. Can he be stopped before he strikes again? Is there no one who will confront evil and stop it from progressing? Be part of this psychological nail-biter just in time for Halloween. The show opens October 19 and closes November 3.
BSP’s lone musical next season is a lighthearted classic, The Pajama Game. Directed by Allie Beaver, produced by Christine Robinson, with musical direction by Lyndsey Holmes and choreography by Lindsey Barnett and Rose-Marie Turbessi, it runs March 1-23. Romance is bursting at the seams at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory. Handsome new Superintendent Sid Sorokin falls hard for spirited union rep “Babe” Williams, and, despite her objections, it seems she’s falling right back. That is, until Sleep-Tite employees are refused a 7 ½ ¢ raise, and the pair find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. Babe and Sid must figure out how to come together while their beliefs are pulling them apart. A three-time Tony winner with a book by George Abbot and Richard Bissell and music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, The Pajama Game stitches together the promise of romance and the heat of politics, all tucked away in a fun, family-friendly musical.
Three love stories, a murder mystery, and a nuclear espionage plot converge in the noir comedy about marriage and other explosive devices, Red Herring, which can be seen April 19 through May 4. It’s 1952 and America is on the verge of the H-bomb, Dwight Eisenhower’s on the campaign trail, and I Love Lucy is on Monday nights. Detective Maggie Pelletier has to find out who dumped the dead guy in the Harbor or else lose out on a honeymoon in Havana. Directed by Elizabeth Wheeler and produced by Christine Robinson, Michael Hollinger’s Red Herring is an entertaining look at love and tying (and untying and retying) the knot. With the occasional Russian accent.
BSP closes their regular season with the popular Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman comedy, You Can’t Take it with You. The Sycamore family lives a zany, fun-filled life complete with unique personalities, interesting hobbies…and no real responsibilities. Practical Alice, the Sycamore’s youngest daughter, has fallen in love and is engaged to strait-laced Tony Kirby. When the Kirbys come to dinner on the wrong night at the wrong time things go haywire and the engagement is called off. Can love conquer all or are these two families just too different to make it work? Director Christa Fisher and producer Rhonda Bastarache keep the laughs rolling from May 31 through June 15.
Season subscriptions are now available online or by contacting our box office. For full schedule and production details; future information about our holiday, benefit, teen, and kids’ shows; and to order tickets, please visit us at www.barleysheaf.org, on Facebook (The Barley Sheaf Players), Twitter (@BarleySheaf), and Instagram (barleysheaf), or call the box office at 610-363-7075.
The Barley Sheaf Players is a nonprofit, community theater organization dedicated to the ongoing promotion and encouragement of dramatic arts in the region. BSP is located at 810 N. Whitford Rd in Lionville, PA and throughout the year welcomes new members interested in all aspects of theater at all levels of experience.
Press release credit: Michele Bolay
Photo l to r: Christa Fisher, Elizabeth Wheeler, Allison Beaver, Fran Kane, Cindy Schneider