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From Victorian London to Broadway to Harvard Law: Prizery’s summer stage will take you there
SoVaNow.com / June 20, 2013If the past three seasons of Summer Theatre at The Prizery arts center wowed you, Director Chris Jones promises this year’s line-up will be a cut above.
In the first three seasons, “We learned a lot,” says Jones. “This year; it will be much more lively, more professional — all the things that come with doing it right.”
First, there’s “Oliver!” — opening tonight, June 20 — with what Jones says is the biggest set, the largest cast and the most complex dancing ever.
For the first time, scene painters have been hired to bring to life 1830s London in the complicated, historically appropriate set that Jones researched and designed himself.
Then there’s the sheer talent — “one of the most talented groups we’ve had,” he boasts — because The Prizery is now able to attract talent it couldn’t in its first years.
Great voices, he says, great dancers — and about 10 more people than last year.
On tap for the hottest weeks of summer:
“Oliver!” opens Thursday for 11 performances. The big, old-fashioned musical re-tells Dickens’ “Oliver Twist” in its beloved songs such as “Consider Yourself” and “Who Will Buy.” Starring in the title role is the cherub-faced Ryan Patrick Crawford, a Danville boy.
Celebrating Independence Day and the American Theatre will be “Red, White and Broadway.” Jones promises that patrons will recognize favorite selections from “Rent,” “The Color Purple,” “A Chorus Line,” “Beauty and the Beast” and Gershwin. Opens July 4 for five shows.
“Legally Blonde” is the high-energy, pop-rock stage musical of the hilarious Reese Witherspoon film comedy: When the fashionista sorority queen is dumped by her boyfriend, she heads to law school. Jones says to come for the songs and the dancing. (Note: Some mature themes.) Opens July 11 for 12 shows.
Jones doesn’t do it all himself.
Ginny Bogart, of South Boston, puts together the fabulous costumes: renting, sewing, consignment-store shopping. “People leave things on her porch,” says Jones. “They know she’ll put them to good use.”
Stage manager is Christine Henderson, a Summer Theatre alumni of several years ago who, in the interim, worked for the Orlando Shakespeare Festival.
Choreographer Brad Bass hails from Ringgold — by way of the big city. He spent 14 years in New York City, 12 of them on Broadway, including “Jersey Boys,” “Memphis” and “Wicked.”
Jon Latane of Chapel Hill, N.C., is back as musical director for the fourth year.
For tickets and schedules (all shows have matinees): (434) 572-8339 or http://www.prizery.com.