Totem Pole Playhouse, Pennsylvania’s premiere summer theatre located in Caledonia State Park between Gettysburg and Chambersburg, PA, has announced that Emmy Award-winning actress, Loretta Swit, who played the quick-witted, impassioned Maj. Margaret Houlihan on TV’s most honored series “M*A*S*H,” will star in the opening show of the playhouse’s 66th summer season, the touching comedy, “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks.” Starring opposite Ms. Swit will be six-time Los Angeles Ovation Award winner, David Engel, a veteran of numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway shows.The comedy revolves around a formidable retired woman living in St. Petersburg, FL,who hires a much younger, acerbic dance instructor to give her dance lessons – one per week for six weeks. What begins as an antagonistic relationship blossoms into a beautiful friendship as these two people from very different backgrounds reveal their secrets, fears, and joys while dancing the Tango, Waltz, Swing, Foxtrot, Cha-Cha, and Contemporary Dance. Nationally acclaimed director, Michael Bloom, who ran the Tony Award-winning Cleveland Playhouse for 10 years, will direct the production. The comedy will run at the playhouse from May 27 through June 12. The show is sponsored by M & T Bank and Ludwick Eye Center.
One of the most successful musicals in Totem Pole’shistory, “Forever Plaid,” will return June 17 through July 3, in an all-new production directed and choreographed by Christine O’Grady, who choreographed last season’s critically-acclaimed production, “Shenandoah,” andaudience favorite, “Godspell,” the year before. Ms. O’Grady has cast four current students from the prestigious Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (CCM), Louis Griffin, Derek Kastner, Stavros Koumbaros, and Gabe Wrobel as the “Four Plaids” – a four-part close harmony singing group in the tradition of the Four Freshman, the Four Lads, the Four Aces, and the Hi-Lo’s. The show features such 1950s classics as: “Three Coins in the Fountain,” “Heart and Soul,” “Moments to Remember,” “Perfidia,” and “Love is a Many Splendored Thing.” Part of the University of Cincinnati,CCMwas recently named the #1 musical theatre program in the country, “at the very top of the list for Best Musical Theatre Colleges for Broadway Success.”The show, which is being produced by Theatre A Go-Go, Inc., is sponsored by Edward Jones and RichardsOrthopaedic Center.
Los Angeles actress, Betsy Randle, who played Amy Matthews, the mom from the long-running 1990s ABC television series “Boy Meets World” will play the mother of the bride in comedian and actor Lewis Black’s new stage comedy, “One Slight Hitch.” Joining her as the father of the bride will be veteran TV actor, Granville Van Dusen, who starred in last season’s hit one-man play, “The Memoirs of Abraham Lincoln.”Set in 1981, “One Slight Hitch” focuses on the day
of their oldest daughter’s backyard wedding. The bride-to-be is set to marry a conservative, straight-laced, all-American guy when her recent, long-time, free-spirited college boyfriend shows up at the front door apparently unaware of the day’s significance and refuses to go away.
Rand Foerster, a long-time collaborator of Mr. Black’s will direct the play which also features New York actor and Chambersburg native, Jonathan Cable, who co-starred in last season’s hit musical “Shenandoah.” Mr. Black is a hugely successful stand-up comic known for his frustrated, angry temperament and often profanity laced rants on a wide variety of contemporary social topics including politics. He is also a graduate of the prestigious Yale School of Drama in playwriting. The play is PG-13 for its subject matter but it’s unlike Mr. Black’s stand-up routines, it does not contain profanity.The comedy runs July 8 toJuly 24 and is sponsored by F&M Trust.
Closing out the season, Producing Artistic Director, Rowan Joseph will be taking to the Totem Pole stage to star in the Broadway musical “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” Shane Partlow, who played the title role last season’s hit comedy “The Nerd,” will co-star. Joseph and Partlow were one of the teams who competed on the 23rd edition of the Emmy Award-winning CBS reality series “The Amazing Race.” For the past 12 years they have also starred together in the national tour of the stage comedy “The Queen of Bingo,” which played at Totem Pole in July 2009. A non-stop laugh-fest, “Forum” is a joyous musical romp through Ancient Rome filled with desperate lovers, scheming neighbors, a bevy of beautiful courtesans, and secrets behind every toga.Totem Pole veteran and audience favorite, Paris Peet, will also star in the musical comedy opposite New York actress, BeckyBarta, who played Mme. Thenardierin the Broadway production of the Tony Award-winning musical, “Les Miserables.” Long-time Totem Pole director David Caldwell will stage the production. Franklin County native, Katrina Yaukey, who most recently starred in the musical “Cabaret” on Broadway is choreographing the production prior to starting rehearsals for the Josh Groban headlined Broadway musical, “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” this fall, her sixth Broadway production. The show will run from July 29 through August 14 and is sponsored by the law firm of Walker, Connor & Spang.
“Lovesick Blues,”the world premiere special tribute concert starring Robbie Limon as Hank Williams, Sr. and Denise Patton, as Patsy Cline which played to 100% capacity last season at the playhouse will return in a special “One Week Only” encore performance. Backed by a six-piece band, the duo will cover dozens of classic country western hits made popular by each singer as well as several duets which had been sung by both artists. The show will run one week only from May 17 through May 22. All eight shows completely sold-out last season and over 1,000 tickets have been sold already for this upcoming engagement. Ticket buyers are strongly encouraged not to wait;prices range from $50.00 to $30.00. Paul D. Orange, MD Family Medicine serves as the show’s sponsor.
For the fourth year in a row the Franklin County Visitor’s Bureau is the sole sponsor of the entire 2016 summer subscription season.
For the third year in a row Totem Pole will also offer any unsold seats one-half hour before each curtain for $10.00 each to anyone 16 to 22 with a valid driver’s license or ID.
Totem Pole will also offer two preview performances the first Friday evening and Saturday matinee of each subscription season production with all seats priced at $20.00. Tickets may be purchased online or by calling the box office.
Subscription prices which had been substantially lowered several seasonago, will remain the same. In addition, both a 3 and 4-play FLEX subscription plan will be offered whereby subscribers have the flexibility to choose the performance they wish to attend rather than be locked into a set date for each of the productions they chose to attend. The popular 4-play FLEX subscription plan was reinstituted last season and a new 3-play FLEX plan is being offered in addition this year.
The playhouse will be adding a $2.00 handling fee for all single ticket sales beginning this season for non-subscribers including previews.
Beginning this season, subscribers will continue to save 10% off the prices of each ticket for every production, including “Lovesick Blues,” as well as having the $2.00 per ticket fee waived on all subscription and single tickets they purchase. Season ticket subscribers also save $10.00 off of every ticket they purchase to Totem Pole’s annual presentation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” presented each year at Gettysburg College’s Majestic Theatre.
Those interested in subscribing to the season or purchasing tickets for single shows may do so either on line through Totem Pole’s website at www.totempoleplayhouse.org or by calling the playhouse’s box office Monday through Friday, 9a.m. to 4p.m. at (717) 352-2164.