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Valley Players announce 48th season

| Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

The Valley Players of Ligonier will begin its 48th season in February with “In One Bed and Out the Other.”

Other shows for the 2013 season include “Second Samuel” in April, “Summer of Love” in June, “Sleuth” in August, and their annual Christmas show in December. The Footlights Youth Troupe will present “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” in May, and “Big Bad Wolf vs. Curly Pig” in September.

“We have to give our audience what they want to bring them in here. Know your audience, that's the most important thing,” said Cathi Rhodes, the theater's executive director. “We tried to get fast-paced comedies, heartwarming shows, the thrillers, musicals and something for the musical kids and the kids who are actors that aren't musical. Not every kid can sing or dance, but they might be wonderful actors. We try to give everybody a chance in all different avenues to perform and to show off their performance skills.”

“In One Bed and Out the Other” will be shown Feb. 8 -10 and 15 - 17. Rhodes called it a fast-paced romantic comedy, and Jim Mikula will direct it.

The dates for “Second Samuel” are April 5 - 7 and 12 - 14. The show, directed by Anne Crusan, is a Pulitzer Prize nominated show about acceptance, described as a southern comedy that is sure to make you see things differently. Rhodes said she saw it performed at the Pennsylvania Association for Community Theaters in Wellsboro and decided she wanted to present the show in Ligonier.

“At the end of the show, I was out of my seat, cheering with tears running down my face,” Rhodes said. “It's a real heart-warming show. There is comedy in it and real touching moments and a totally surprise ending. If people enjoyed ‘Steel Magnolias,' they will enjoy this one.”

“Summer of Love” will run June 21 - 23 and 28 - 30 and will be directed by Karin Maresh, who holds a Ph.D in theater and teaches at Washington & Jefferson College. Rhodes said the show is a musical review, which will feature songs from Janis Joplin, The Mamas and the Papas, Jefferson Airplane, the Youngbloods and other bands from the Summer of Love I, 1967. Rhodes described the show as “Hair” meets “Mamma Mia!”

“We're going to encourage people to dress up in their favorite '60s outfit and have a hippie fest,” Rhodes said. “I know everybody in the audience is going to be singing along; it's just going to be really sweet.”

Show dates for “Sleuth” are Aug. 9 - 11 and 16 - 18. The two-man show follows a millionaire detective novelist, who matches wits with the unemployed actor who ran off with his wife.

“It's an excellent thriller,” Rhodes said. “It is really a dynamic setup as far as the characters. You just don't see the next thing coming.”

“Beauty and the Beast Jr.” will be shown May 17 - 19. This musical, to be directed by Eric Harris, portrays the classic Disney fairy tale in musical form.

“It's going to be a huge show, and we are going to need a lot of underwriting to produce it,” Rhodes said. “We already have a ton of kids who very are interested in auditioning. It's going to be a huge cast, and that's great.”

Another twist on a classic fairy tale, “Big Bad Wolf vs. Curly Pig,” is a modern rendition of the “Three Little Pigs.” Set in a courtroom, B.B. Wolf is on trial for destroying the houses of Curly Pig, and his brothers Moe and Larry. Rhodes said it is a more grown-up version of the story that is very cleverly written.

To close the season, the theater will present its annual show “A Ligonier Christmas” on Dec. 7 and 8, directed by Eric Harris. Though the programming has not yet been decided, Rhodes said theatergoers can expect a wonderful surprise.

Rhodes said ticket prices will increase by $1 for plays and $2 for musicals, adding that prices have not increased at the Ligonier Theater for about five years, and they are still half the price of other theaters in the area.

“We try to keep shows available. We'd like to have more people here, even if it means a lower rate. We could hike up the prices and have no one here, That's just not what we are about. We want to bring the families and all the friends and neighbors in and enjoy their local, hometown theater,” Rhodes said.

For information on show times, subscriptions, and auditions, call the Ligonier Theater at 724-238-6514, or visit their website

Peter Turcik is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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