Hardin County Playhouse, PAC set new seasons

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By Becca Owsley

All the world’s a stage, especially at the Hardin County Playhouse and Hardin County Schools’ Performing Arts Center at John Hardin High School.


The 2014-15 season has been set and a variety of musical and dramatic offerings are planned for young and old.

The HCP season opens in August with Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

“So many people love the show and the music has really stood the test of time,” HCP director Bo Cecil said. “It’s gonna be a very exciting project and a first for HCP.”

The rest of the season features “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Oliver!,” “The Miracle Worker,” “Legally Blonde” and “Moonlight and Magnolias,” a play based on a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the screenplay for “Gone With the Wind.”

“Our patrons can expect diversity,” Cecil said. “They can expect laughs, maybe a few tears and lots of great music.”

Cecil said the goal it to bring quality entertainment to the audience.

“And this year promises to be fantastic,” he said.

The PAC has a season packed with local talent plus touring troupes.

“Our season breaks down into some very specific pairings of events that people will recognize immediately, beginning with the return of Missoula Children’s Theatre in August and January,” PAC director Bart Lovins said.

The season continues with the fall Pro-Am musical “The Wizard of Oz” and spring classical Pro-Am “Lend Me A Tenor.” There will be two festivals built around PAC events — Christmas in the Commons and Hardin County Diversity, Lovins said.

“In addition to these more typical events, we are bringing in a very special event in October called ‘Basetrack’ that we hope will be of great benefit to our military families,” he said.

Lovins said the season represents an “escape from our day to day world as well as a reflection of the world around us.”

With this season, Lovins said the PAC staff is building on previous successes and learning from past missteps.

“We are bringing back our Passport to Adventure giveaway that didn’t really catch patrons’ attention until midseason this year, we are rebranding our day-long holiday celebration in conjunction with ‘The Nutcracker’ as Christmas in the Commons since that’s where most of the activities take place and we are marketing the third year of our district wide Diversity Fair in February to try to expand its reach,” he said.

Cecil said he hopes to see people in the audience this season who have never been to a show at the HCP.

“So often we hear the comment, ‘I didn’t know HCP existed,’ and we’d really like to change that,” Cecil said.

He said they’ve tried to create a season that fits anyone’s taste and once they see the quality entertainment they’ll come back for more.
But many of these programs can’t happen with out community participation.

“Without the community there is no community theater,” Cecil said. “Your participation can be onstage, backstage, operations or — perhaps most importantly — in the audience.”

Many people fear auditions because they don’t know what to expect, he said. He tries to keep the audition process at HCP painless and consistent so returning performers can give their best.

“It’s important for those auditioning to realize that the creative staff wants to see your best qualities and strongest talents,” Cecil said. “In other words, we are looking for all the positive things that you could bring to the production.”

Lovins said it’s important for people to give it a try.

“Would a little bird ever know it could fly if its mother didn’t push it out of the nest?” he said. “Simply put, you just don’t really know what you are capable of until you try.”

During auditions at the PAC, Lovins said everyone is treated as professionally as possible and everyone has an equal opportunity to do their best onstage, regardless of experience.

Both directors stressed the importance of theater to the community.

“The arts bridge all divides,” Lovins said. “Everyone is welcome and everyone works together toward a common goal.”

Cecil said artistic expression helps people grow. The bond people share in the moment of being moved by a show is a shared humanity, he said.

“That sharing is community,” he said.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

Hardin County Playhouse - www.hardincountyplayhouse.com – 270-351-0577
“Jesus Christ Superstar” Aug. 8-10, 14-17
“To Kill a Mockingbird” Oct. 10-12, 16-19
“Oliver!” Dec. 5-7, 11-14
“Moonlight and Magnolias” Feb. 6-8, 12-15, 2015
“The Miracle Worker” April 10-12, 16-19, 2015
“Legally Blonde” June 5-7, 11-14, 2015

Hardin County Schools’ Performing Arts Centerwww.thepac.net - 270-769-8837
Missoula Children’s Theatre’s “Hansel and Gretel” Aug. 22-23
“The Wizard of Oz” Sept. 26-29, Oct. 3-5
“Basetrack” Oct. 17
“The Nutcracker” Dec. 19-21
Missoula Children’s Theatre “Rapunzel” Jan. 30-31, 2015
Lexington Children’s Theatre’s “A Thousand Cranes” Feb. 27, 2015
“Lend me a Tenor” April 3-4, 10-12, 2015