Variety shows: Heritage opens 30th season

The Heritage Repertory Theater box office opened for business this week. Now in its 30th year of production, HRT is the summer professional theater operating out of the University of Virginia’s Drama Department. As is typical of their seasons, HRT’s 2003 line up includes a variety of award-winning plays and musicals.
The season opens on June 19  with the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser. It’s directed by UVA Drama Department chair Robert Chapel.
In the musical, J. Pierrepont Finch is determined to finagle his corporate way from window washer to corner office in record time with help from a certain little handbook. But will it help him outsmart the boss’ nephew and win the heart of his beloved Rosemary? 
In the Helms Theater on July 8, HRT offers Fully Committed, a one-man comedy written by Becky Mode and directed by UVA acting professor Richard Warner.
Sam is a struggling actor who works the reservation line at the trendiest restaurant in Manhattan. Dan Perez (of last season’s production of Art) portrays a complete cast of characters including Sam, the chef, the restaurant manager, and the desperate callers who cajole and coerce, name-drop and name-call, bribe and browbeat him in their quest for the prime reservation at the perfect table.
The HRT season begins its rotating repertory with the July 4 opening of Crimes of the Heart, a Pulitzer Prize winner by Beth Henley, directed by Marianne Kubik. The play follows one day with the three McGrath sisters: Lenny’s sisters have forgotten her 30th birthday, Meg is home after a failed attempt at a music career, and Babe just shot her husband in the stomach. With tears and laughter, together they find a way to get through those “real bad days.”
The repertory continues with The Last Night of Ballyhoo, by Alfred Uhry, also directed by Richard Warner, opening July 10. This Tony Award-winning play is set in Atlanta at Christmas in 1939 as the city prepares for the premiere of Gone with the Wind, and Hitler invades Poland. Meanwhile, the Freitag house is more concerned with “Ballyhoo,” the social event of the season, and finding the right date for daughter Lala. This examination of pride, prejudice, and true love within the differing elements of the American Jewish community is by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Driving Miss Daisy.
Rounding out the Repertory, HRT presents Return to the Forbidden Planet by Bob Carlton, opening July 17. Based on the Sci-Fi classic, Forbidden Planet, which in turn was based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, this interplanetary tale of love and adventure features 22 ‘50s and ‘60s musical favorites. So plan to tap your feet and snap your fingers to the beat of one of the wildest musicals to win London’s prestigious Olivier Award.

For schedules and information, visit HRT on-line at To purchase tickets, contact the Heritage Repertory Theater at 924-3376, or stop by the HRT box office at the Culbreth Theater, 109 Culbreth Road. M-F 10am-6pm.