Actors Guild ready for new season

PARKERSBURG — The Actors Guild of Parkersburg will present a variety of productions during its 2019-2020 season beginning in mid-September.

∫ The first show of the new season will be “Murder by Poe” by Jeffrey Hatcher, adapted from the work of Edgar Allen Poe. The show will be presented at 8 p.m. Sept. 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28 and at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 22.

A dark and dreadful night. A woman in white lost within a wood.

And the only shelter is a house full of murderers. Mixing funhouse tricks, Grand Guignol and a deadly game of cat and mouse, “Murder by Poe” is a theatrical reimagining of some of Poe’s most famous tales of terror — “The Black Cat,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “William Wilson,” “The Purloined Letter,” “The Mystery of Marie Roget” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.” As each haunted figure tells a story of crime and mayhem, the woman must solve the puzzle of the house and the riddle of the man who ushers her into its mysteries.

∫ The next performance will be “Mission: Improbable” will be performed Oct. 17-19.

The evil Dredd Family has kidnapped seven world-famous scientists from the Incisor Institute. These scientists are working on a toothpaste formula which, if successful, would rid the world of cavities. The evil Dredd Family, having just cornered the market in the Dental Insurance industry, is trying to prevent the release of this toothpaste.

Spies from overseas have heard rumors of this new formula and have been sent to America to steal it. U.S. Secret Agents have been dispatched to find the scientists, stop the spies, and restore hope for a cavity-free society, before the intrepid reporters assigned to investigate the kidnapping unravel the mystery.

“Sweeney Todd School Edition” will be presented Oct 31, Nov 1-3 by the Guild Builders Teen Program in collaboration with West Virginia University at Parkersburg. The shows will be performed in the college’s Little Theatre.

Sweeney Todd has become a bloody, worldwide success since being awarded eight Tony Awards (including Best Musical), for its Broadway premiere and has now been adapted for high school performers in “Sweeney Todd School Edition.” Stephen Sondheim’s and Hugh Wheeler’s (A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures) tasty, thrilling, theatrical treat has simultaneously shocked, awed and delighted audiences across the world.

An infamous tale, Sweeney Todd, an unjustly exiled barber, returns to nineteenth-century London, seeking vengeance against the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife. The road to revenge leads Todd to Mrs. Lovett, a resourceful proprietress of a failing pie shop, above which he opens a new barber practice. Mrs. Lovett’s luck sharply shifts when Todd’s thirst for blood inspires the integration of an ingredient into her meat pies that has the people of London lining up … and the carnage has only just begun!

“Mary Poppins” will be presented Nov. 8-10, 15-17, 22-24 and 29-30.

Bert, the jack-of-all trades, introduces the audience to England in 1910 and the troubled Banks family. Young Jane and Michael have sent many a nanny packing before Mary Poppins arrives on their doorstep.

Using a combination of magic and common sense, she must teach the family members how to value each other again.

Mary Poppins takes the children on many magical and memorable adventures, but Jane and Michael aren’t the only ones upon whom she has a profound effect. Even grown-ups can learn a lesson or two from the nanny who advises that “Anything can happen if you let it.”

∫ The Guild will present “The Producers” on April 24-26 and May 1-3, and 8-9, 2020.

In the show, a down-on-his-luck Broadway producer and his mild-mannered accountant come up with a scheme to produce the most notorious flop in history, thereby bilking their backers (all “little old ladies”) out of millions of dollars. Only one thing goes awry: the show is a smash hit.

The antics of Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom as they maneuver their way fecklessly through finding a show (the “Springtime for Hitler”), hiring a director, raising the money and finally going to prison for their misdeeds is a lesson in broad comic construction. At the core of the insanely funny adventure is a poignant emotional journey of two different men who become friends.


Wayne Towner can be reached at wtowner@newsandsentinel.com.