It's one of the most requested shows in Barter Theatre's history, and it's headed back to Barter Stage II for a limited engagement.
"I'll Never Be Hungry Again," Barter Playwright-In-Residence Catherine Bush's hilarious musical spin on the story "Gone With the Wind," will kick off Barter Theatre's 80th season when it opens Feb. 7. Tickets are $30, $35 and $39.
"The physical and over-the-top humor connected with full house after full house when we last produced it," said Richard Rose, Barter's producing artistic director. "We're so excited to bring 'I'll Never Be Hungry Again' back to Barter Stage II."
Stephen Scott Wormley (Jonny from Barter's "Zombie Prom" and Terk in "Tarzan") plays David, a grad student assigned the book "Gone With the Wind" for a Southern literature class, in I'll Never Be Hungry Again," which enjoyed a sold-out run at the Abingdon theatre in 2006.
When David passes out in the middle of the story, he wakes up to find himself in an over-the-top alternate reality, where "Starlett O'Hara" (Erin Parker) is wooed by "Whet Butler" (Nick Koesters) and strives to save her plantation Terra Firma from the Yankees with the help of "Whammy" (also played by Nick Koesters).
It's only a wild dream, right? Or is it?
In 2007, reviewer Jim Quesenberry called the show "a rollicking, rocket-fast trip through Dixieland that spares none in its wake. Everyone and everything is fair game, and no one escapes unscathed in this blistering onslaught of comedic finger pointing."
"I'll Never Be Hungry Again" is directed by Susanne Boulle, with original music by Gary Bartholomew. Bringing the production's songs and story to life is a cast of just five actors and a pianist, all Barter audience favorites. Sean Campos, Hannah Ingram, Nick Koesters, Erin Parker and Stephen Scott Wormley, with Lee Harris on piano, perform the show's outrageous musical numbers, including "The Butler Did It" and "It's Curtains For Starlett."
Slightly skewed and fraught with musical zaniness, "I'll Never Be Hungry Again" has its tongue firmly in its cheek as it asks: Will Starlett and that scallywag Whet Butler ever hook up? Is Smelanie Hamilton really that sweet? Can Whammy teach Sissy how to tap?
What makes this story so outlandishly funny?
"We thrust an African-American male grad student -- a Yankee, for goodness sakes -- into the world of corsets, cavaliers and 'society' that made up the Old South and watch him try to figure it all out," Bush said. "It's wildly ironic and a wonderful ride. 'Gone With the Wind' is such a classic-- and so deliciously spoof-able. Carol Burnett was the first to figure that out in the '70s. I'd like to think that Gary and I picked up where she left off."
"I'll Never Be Hungry Again" is sponsored by Reynolds American Inc. and the Elizabethton Star. Barter Theatre season sponsors are Alpha Natural Resources, BVU, Eastman Credit Union, Mountain States Health Alliance and the United Company. Barter is partially funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts.
Barter will host a reception to kick off its 80th season from 5 to 7 p.m., Feb. 7 in the Main Stage lobby. Patrons can meet playwright Catherine Bush and view the newly installed murals by local artist DR Mullins.
For tickets to any of Barter's upcoming shows or for more information, call (276) 628-3991 or visit www.bartertheatre.com.
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