McCann: Kentucky plays to see this summer

Published 3:28 pm Thursday, May 25, 2023

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By Bill McCann


Summer used to be a time for going on vacation while waiting for a new season of fall television shows and the new theatre season. This year some theatres, such as Lexington’s Studio Players, take the summer off even as many others continue or even introduce new plays by Kentucky playwrights. Looking around the region, there are many opportunities to see live theatre this summer.

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Elizabeth Shear Orendorff’s new play “Hollerwood on the High Seas” is finishing its world premiere series of performances at West T. Hill Community Theatre in Danville this week, May 26-28. Curtain is 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $13. Visit to purchase tickets.

In this latest installment in the “Hollerwood” series, entrepreneur Babe Dean buys a cruise ship with high hopes for big money. Then the crew comes down with COVID, and she is forced to use her clueless friends from Random, Kentucky, to run the three-day cruise. Her working premise is that if they feed the passengers enough moonshine, they’ll never know that they haven’t left the dock.

Spotlight Playhouse, Berea, is presenting “Roald Dalhl’s Matilda: The Musical JR.” The play opens Sunday, May 26, with performances at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Later it runs June 2-4 and June 9-11 at other times. Times and tickets ($7- $13) are available at

Ragged Edge Community Theatre in Harrodsburg is presenting “Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” June 2-4 and 9-11. Friday and Saturday performances at 7 p.m. Sunday performances at 3 p.m. Tickets are $12—more information at 859-734-2389.

The Kentucky Shakespeare Festival will present A “Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the C. Douglas Ramey Amphitheater, 1340 S. Fourth Street, Louisville May 24- June 11 and then in repertory throughout the rest of the summer. Other plays being presented include “Macbeth” and “Love’s Labor’s Lost.” The season runs through August 6 and consists of a total of seven plays. Admission is free. More information at

Woodford Theatre, Versailles, is presenting The Music Man, May 26 -June 11. Tickets are $18 – $25 each, plus fees. Curtains at 7:30 except Sundays when the curtain is 2 p.m. More information about the show and ticketing is available at

Pioneer Playhouse’s first summer show is the world premiere of “Blood Suede Shoes: A Sergeant Elvis Presley Murder Mystery” by Robby Henson, which runs June 9 – July 1. Dinner and the show begins at 7:00 p.m., and the show itself starts at 8:30 p.m. PP is a summer stock theatre with performances under the stars nightly Tuesdays through Saturdays June 9 -August 12. In case of rain, they do have an indoor space.

Written by Robby Henson, the theatre’s artistic director, the play is described on the company’s website as “it’s the swinging 60’s and a threat to young Sergeant Elvis Presley’s life during stormy weather over Scotland forces an emergency landing near a spooky castle where London’s posh set have gathered for a séance. In this zany new murder mystery mash-up, cultures clash, the body count rises, and a dashing young Elvis must use every bit of his down-home common sense and military training to catch a murderer! Family fun!”

Tickets are $18 – $36 each depending upon whether or not dinner before the show is involved. Discounted tickets are available for groups of 10 more. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

The Menifee Community Theatre Group and the Gateway Regional Arts Center (GRAC) are cooperatively presenting “Clue”, based on the original Parker Brothers board game. Opening weekend, June 9 and 10, will be presented at the GRAC, in Mt. Sterling curtain is at 7 p.m. The second weekend the play will be performed at Clark Energy Community Center, Frenchburg, June 16 and 17 at 7:00 p.m.

Bluegrass Theatre Guild in Frankfort will present “Footloose: The Musical” June 22-25 in Bradford Hall at Kentucky State University. Ticket information is not currently available. Visit their website closer to performance dates to obtain tickets,

Too many choices? I’d suggest you go see one of the world premieres plays in Danville—Liz Orendorff’s “Hollerwood” on the High Seas” this coming weekend or, on June 9, “Blood Suede Shoes: A Sergeant Elvis Presley Murder Mystery” by Robby Henson at Pioneer Playhouse. After all, the only way to encourage Kentucky’s talented playwrights to write new plays is to see the new shows they write.

See you in Danville—and everywhere else there is live theatre this summer!