Short ones: Barhoppers back at the rail

Barhoppers 2003 continues Offstage Theater's winter tradition of transforming some Charlottesville watering holes into theatrical venues. It's an evening of eight short plays by local playwrights. Each year, Offstage– known for putting on shows in unlikely places– rounds up a large group of writers and actors for an evening of short one-acts that has become one of their most popular offerings. The three-session run concludes next Tuesday at Rapture on the Downtown Mall.
Here's the line-up:
Cutthroat Comma Incorporated by Lance Stewart is directed by one of the company’s artistic directors, Denise Stewart; she also directs Haven't We Met Some Place Before? by Jacob Klein.
UVA Drama Department faculty member Betsy Rudelich Tucker lends her directorial skills to Joel Jones' Life Insurance; Jones' second offering, The Best Man, is directed by Sean Thomas.
Karen Pitts, who often provides technical expertise for local theater companies, tries on her directing shoes for Val Smith and Michael Bigelow Dixon's The League of Semi-Super Heroes.
Mark Valahovic, known for his acting turns on local stages, offers his short play, In a Name, with Joel Jones directing. Ronda Hewitt, Live Arts general manager, directs Richard Dresser's Bed and Breakfast, and Jeff Kitchen oversees Tim Van Dyck's A Moral Center.
If you've ever attended an Offstage production, you'll recognize plenty of faces: Tim Van Dyck, Jacquie Harvey, Meagan Bengur, Janet Heath, Alice Reed, Jeff Sytes, Chris Estey, and Brad Presley are regulars. Some newcomers grace this year's productions: Chris Patrick, Mendy Hardy, Kate Gordon, Jen Hoffmann, and Mary Rieber all appear for the first time in the Barhopper Series. The cast list includes a total of 28 performers.
There’s likely to be a little something for almost any taste, and not just of the theatrical stripe. A yummy selection of beverages and bar nibbles is naturally available— a pleasant bonus of theater-in-a-bar.
Offstage is always on the lookout for new playwrights and new plays. Watch for announcements of submission deadlines, read-throughs, and reading workshops. Or, if you have a space where you think you may want to see one of the shows produced, show up at their door and say so. You'll find them a friendly bunch, open to new ideas, new venues, and new faces.

Barhoppers performs three more nights at Rapture on the Downtown Mall: Sunday-Tuesday, March 2-4. (Sunday is non-smoking.) All shows start at 7:30pm. $7 tickets are available at the door only. Go early to get a good seat. 244-8432 or

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