Heritage Theatre Group Looks to Spark Conversations with Summer Season

From Heritage Theatre's previous season
From Heritage Theatre's previous season

Since 1991, the Heritage Theatre Group has been the place to go to see classic plays produced around Grand Rapids. Twenty-eight years later, the Heritage Theatre Group is gearing up to present its 2018 season with three summer productions running from July through August.

To kick things off, the Heritage Theatre Group will start its season with Anton Chekov’s “The Cherry Orchard.” Directed by Heritage Theatre Group’s artistic director and co-founder Don Rice, this historical play is great for all ages and deals with “classism and the change in class structure,” said Krista Pennington, managing director for the Heritage Theatre Group.

“The Cherry Orchard,” which runs from July 12 – July 21 on the Spectrum Theater Main Stage, combines farce and tragedy to make it “one of the great plays of the 20th century,” said Pennington.

From July 26 – Aug. 4, “Fool for Love” by Sam Shepard will run in the Spectrum Theater Blackbox. Rachel Finan will direct this play that follows the story of “two people who just can’t live without each other whether they like it or not,” said Pennington. Because Sam Shepard passed away in 2017, Pennington also explained “Fool for Love” was chosen as an in memoriam to celebrate and honor his life’s work.

Closing the season is “Assassins,” which runs from Aug. 9 – 18 on the Spectrum Theater Main Stage. With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman, this haunting yet beautiful musical “spans American history from Lincoln to Regan and back again – touching on gun violence, the presidency, and the American Dream,” said Pennington, who will also direct this bold and relevant musical.

From Heritage Theatre's previous season.
From Heritage Theatre’s previous season.

Though, musicals are not the norm for Heritage Theatre Group, Pennington is excited to introduce this critically acclaimed production to the community saying, “Grand Rapids has a fast-paced growing arts community and it seemed like a perfect time to push our own boundaries along with our communities as we venture through part of the American psyche that helped create these people.”

Because each show was chosen to reflect the current cultural climate through classic themes, Pennington said the 28th season is one that should not be missed. Not only is it important to entertain audiences, but it is also vital for the Heritage Theatre Group to educate and enlighten audience members with shows that can act as conversation starters.

“In theater, we think in moments and beats,” said Pennington. “I hope that there is a moment for each audience member that challenges them, just a little bit, to think differently or see a situation from another perspective. In our ever-changing and divided culture, we hope that we are able to add positively to the conversation.”

Heritage Theatre Group’s 28th season runs from July through August. Both “Fool for Love” and “Assassins” contain adult themes and content, however, “The Cherry Orchard” is packed with animated and vivacious characters that anyone can enjoy. To purchase tickets visit Heritage Theatre’s website or call 616-951-4842.

*Photos courtesy of Heritage Theatre Group

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