Vermont Theatre Company begins its 34th season

BRATTLEBORO — The 2017-18 season of the Vermont Theatre Company, its 34th, began in late September with Adam Bock's The Receptionist, and continues with four more plays, including a musical.

All will be performed in one of their three regular venues - Hooker-Dunham Theater on Main Street in Brattleboro, Evening Star Grange in Dummerston Center, Living Memorial Park in West Brattleboro, and a new venue, Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC).

A Christmas Carol returns for the holidays by popular demand, for its fourth year with VTC. This year features a brand new musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' original story, written and directed by Brattleboro's Jessica Gelter. Performances are on Dec. 8-10 and 14-16, at BMAC.

It is the classic story of a bitter old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation into a gentler, kinder man after visits from the ghosts of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come. The story, along with the beautiful music and the intriguing former train station venue, are sure to delight audiences of all ages.

The Road to Mecca, by South African playwright Athol Fugard, was inspired by the story of Helen Martins who lived in Nieu-Bethesda, Eastern Cape, South Africa and created The Owl House, which is now a provincial heritage site.

In the play, directed by Ian Hefele, Miss Helen, a senior South African widow, has been working on an overgrown sculpture garden, which is her dream trip to “Mecca.”

While Pastor Marius urges Helen to move to a senior home, Elsa, a Cape Town schoolteacher, arrives to encourage Helen in her art. Performances are on March 16-18 and 23-25, 2018, at the Hooker-Dunham Theater.

The Last Five Years, written by Jason Robert Brown and directed by Ryan Buck, explores a five-year relationship between Jamie Wellerstein, a rising novelist, and Cathy Hiatt, a struggling actress. The show uses a form of storytelling in which Cathy's story is told in reverse (beginning the show at the end of their marriage), and Jamie's is told in chronological order (starting just after they have first met).

The play presents their differing perspectives on the relationship, exploring the issues of young love and balancing relationships with careers. Performances are on April 27-29 and May 4-6, 2018, at the Evening Star Grange.

VTC ends the 2017-18 season with its29th annual Shakespeare in the Park production. This year it's The Tempest, the story of the sorcerer Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, who has been living in exile with his young daughter on a remote island for 12 years.

Over the course of a single day, Prospero uses his magic to shipwreck the men responsible for his banishment so that he may exact his revenge and return his daughter to her rightful place.

A fanciful spirit, bumbling fools, a budding romance, and the deft artistic hand of director James Gelter make this Shakespearean comedy fun for the whole family. Performances are on June 28-30 and July 1, 2018, at the Rotary Stage in Living Memorial Park in West Brattleboro.

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