Live Theater and Dance
Ash Lawn Opera Festival. This long-running festival performs opera and musical theater in English in the historic Paramount Theater on the Downtown Mall. Performances run from the first of July to mid-August, and generally include two major works, a music-at-twilight series, and pre-concert lectures. The 2013 schedule includes La Boheme and Carousel. $11-65. 293-4500.
American Shakespeare Center. Watch the best of the bard and more in the Shenandoah Valley's re-creation of the original Blackfriars Playhouse. In addition to the current series of plays (All's Well That Ends Well, Return to the Forbidden Planet, and Romeo and Juliet), the fall-winter 2013 schedule will also include She Stoops to Conquer and Troilus and Cressida. 10 S. Market St., Staunton. $14-37. 540-851-1733.
Four County Players. Anticipating its 41st season, Four County Players is the oldest continuously operating community theater in Central Virginia. 4CP produces several shows throughout the year and holds a Summer Theater Camp. Upcoming productions include Godspell and A.R. Gurney's The Fourth Wall. All shows take place in the Barboursville Community Center, 5256 Governor Barbour St. $12-16. 540-832-5355.
Gorilla Theatre Productions. An up-and-coming local theatre company, GTP performs between four and six shows a year, varying from children to adult shows. This company is not just for youth, but all ages with a training focus. Past shows include Antigone, Macbeth, and (more recently) The Misanthrope. Currently Miss Julie will be running August 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 10, and 11, and will be performed at The Director's Studio, 1726 suite 2B Harris Ct, McIntire Plaza. Tickets are $7 for students and $10 for adults. They can be contacted at: gorillatheaterproductions
Hamner Theater. Nelson County's performing arts center since 2005 offers a season of three to five plays, monthly music, drama, or dance, improv and playwrighting workshops, and anticipate their 2nd annual Winery Shakespeare Tour. Located at the Rockfish Valley Community Center off Hwy 151 between Afton and Nellysford at 190 Rockfish School Lane. 434-361-1999
Live Arts. This community theater group is held in its custom-built, architecturally distinguished arts complex off the Mall on Water Street. Since 1990, Live Arts has presented over 200 shows ranging from new interpretations of classics to avant garde performance art. A professional staff works with volunteers to produce a full main-stage season, educational programs, and smaller experimental works. Upcoming: Legally Blonde: The Musical. Tickets $20-$25. 123 E. Water St. 977-4177.
Paramount Theater. Between Second and Third streets on the Downtown Mall, this 1931 movie theater has been remade into a first-rate venue for concerts, plays, films, opera, and more. Check their calendar frequently for up-to-date listings of all their offerings. $19-$100. 979-1922
Piedmont Virginia Community College. PVCC mounts main-stage and chamber theater productions during the year, as well as a children's theater series. Dance, theater, music, and free movies are just some of the highlights of their ambitious production calendar. 501 College Drive. 961-5376
UVA Drama Department. Besides offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in performance and theater design, the UVA Drama Department mounts four main-stage productions each academic year and several additional smaller productions, often student-directed. UVA's theaters include the 600-seat Culbreth, with its proscenium stage, and the flexible Helms Theatre with 160-200 seats. The department recently closed its 2012-2013 season with You Can't Take it With You. 924-3376.
Bent Theater Improv. Bent Theatre presents live improv comedy at various venues across Virginia– and they'll perform at your event. 466-6235.
Charlottesville doesn't have a permanent one and the closest, seating 450 people, is the Riverside, about an hour away in Fredericksburg. $37-58 includes dinner and the show, which typically runs 2-2.5 hours.This year's lineup includes Legally Blonde: The Musical, Ring of Fire, and Les Miserables. Reservations required. 540-370-4300.
A little farther away
The Barter Theater in Abington: With The Barter Theatre’s diverse offering of 21 shows, patrons can be swept away by the triumphant music and wrenching plot of the iconic Les Misérables, or seduced by the steamy scenes in A Streetcar Named Desire, and children have the opportunity to experience the adventures of the Ingalls family in Little House on the Prairie. Though The Barter Theatre no longer accepts livestock and vegetables as payment as it did when it first opened its doors during the Great Depression (thereby earning its namesake), the spirit of affordable theatre lives on as ticket prices range from only 13 dollars to 37 dollars depending on the performance. Rich in history and talent, The Barter Theatre is a cultural and artistic Mecca in Abingdon, Virginia that draws students, children and adults alike. Comprised of Barter Theatre, which seats 506, Barter Stage II with an intimate 167-patron capacity and a gourmet café, both avid theatergoers and first timers will find something to their liking. In addition to The Barter Theatre, Abingdon is home to numerous shops and boutiques, restaurants, galleries and outdoor activities perfect for a summer outing. There's plenty to see and do once you get there, and it's about a four-hour drive from Charlottesville. Call 276-628-3991.