This is a continuing series of posts on the premiere of a new musical, "Gathering Blue," based on the best-selling novel by Lois Lowry, by Richard Hellesen, Michael Silversher & Joy Sikorski, that will have its professional premiere August 24-26 at the Gretna Theatre in Mount Gretna, PA. It is an important new musical, that speaks to our times and our personal responsibility, and I'm lucky enough to direct it.
Mount Gretna may be a little bit out of the way, but its worth the drive to see a show or even spend a couple of days in the area. The theatre itself is an old Chautauqua site, a covered outdoor theatre nestled among the pines. The area has long been a retreat spot for urbanites from Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Baltimore . It's about 90 minutes from Philly or Baltimore, 30-40 minutes from the capital of Harrisburg, the truly incredible small city of Lancaster ("LAN-cuhster"), the quaint town of Lebanon ("LEPbnin") and surrounded by gorgeous rolling farmland dotted by old and historic farms and structures. A lovely, easy winding drive (you might pass Amish carts on the way) takes you up into the pine trees of Mount Gretna along an old train route (there's now a Bike-train trail). There's a recreational lake with kayaks and an old fashioned ice cream/hamburger joint (The Jigger Shop) right next to the theatre.
Gretna Theatre is a marvel in itself. The Community and regional theatre-goers have seen the Gretna Playhouse grow from a volunteer completely amateur effort into a flourishing professional theatre in the most charming and unlikely of places. According to the locals, the quality seems to have improved year after year and decade after decade. I am so grateful that the current leadership has embraced the future. It takes a lot of daring to premier a brand new musical. It speaks to a dedication and belief in support and adventurousness of their committed audience.
Please come out and support this exciting new show, in this wonderful location, supported by an adventurous theatre organization, demonstrating that vital, consequential theatre can be birthed in unexpected places.
Don't miss it, I'll be mad.
You can see more lovely pictures here: