Act II begins for Theatre West Virginia

An editorial from The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Friday night brings the curtain up on the 54th season of Theatre West Virginia. To be sure, it’s an abbreviated season with just 17 performances of one of the dramas, but this is so much better than the alternative that appeared certain early last fall.

Continuing financial pressures brought an announcement of the closure of the long-running shows that depict so much of West Virginia’s history. The reverberations of that loss were felt around Raleigh County and beyond.

But, as is often the case of such iconic endeavors, many people did not want to see the dramas die.

And so, Act II was born.

Scott Hill, also known in the area for resurrecting the Rocket Boys Festival, reorganized a TWV board and everyone got down to work. Plans were in motion even before it became clear there would be any much-needed funds from the state.

And so, Friday at 8 p.m., the sights and sounds of the Hatfields and McCoys — the granddaddy of all family feuds —  will ring out at Grandview Park’s Cliffside Amphitheatre.

The cast is experienced, many of them wanting to return to get the company back on its feet. Some of the veterans who wore powdered hair and makeup back then to make them look older, won’t need that now. They fit their parts naturally.

A Hollywood stuntman who got his start at TWV returned to choreograph the show’s fight scenes.

Added values for this season include Music in the Park that will entertain the audience from 7 to 7:45 p.m., with the curtain rising at 8. A new voice will sing the national anthem each night.

The earlier curtain time means attendees will be able to get home sooner than before.

Out-of-town guests will play a role in the success of this venture. Their dollars spent at hotels, restaurants, gas stations and other businesses will be welcome.

But the No. 1 thing that will make this endeavor successful is putting people in the seats.

According to Hill, “It’s election time for Theatre West Virginia and by coming out to the show this season, you are casting your vote to continue next year…

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