Michigan's Barn Theatre Opens 59th Season Without Founder Jack Ragotzy; Aida and Beauty Slated

News   Michigan's Barn Theatre Opens 59th Season Without Founder Jack Ragotzy; Aida and Beauty Slated The 2004 summer season at the historic Barn Theatre in Augusta, Michigan, is dedicated to the late founder Jack Ragotzy, who died in December 2003, leaving the troupe to be overseen by son Brendan Ragotzy.

The 59th season opens May 25 with Forever Plaid and a curtain speech by the theatre's heir.

Father and son shared the duties of producer at the Barn for the past several years. Brendan will carry on the legacy his father Jack and mother Betty Ebert Ragotzy began 59 years ago when they founded the Barn Theatre in Western Michigan.

The elder Ragotzy died at his Augusta home one day before his 82nd birthday.

Local officials from Augusta, Galesburg and Richland, as well as Michigan State Senator Tom George and Michigan State Representative Lorence Wenke will present Brendan Ragotzy with a plaque honoring his parents.

Also in attendance will be Fran Bell, a community leader and business owner, as well as, Jerry VanderRoest, former State Representative and Township Supervisor. VanderRoest said in a statement, "We wanted to honor Jack and Betty for giving so much to the community — and wanted to give a little back to them and Brendan and [his actress-publicist wife] Penelope for carrying on their tradition of professional theatre."

The Galesburg-Augusta Forum will also be honoring Jack and Betty Ragotzy with an Honored Citizen award, next year.

Along with the opening-night festivities, another highlight of the evening will be the unveiling of associate producer Dusty Reeds' painting of Jack and Betty Ragotzy. The portrait will be displayed in the lobby.

The Forever Plaid cast includes Scott Burkell, Roy Brown, Christopher Lengerich and Eric Parker.

The 2004 season includes Ray Cooney's Two Into One; Tom Wopat in Guys and Dolls; Bat Boy: The Musical; Jeff Daniels' Escanaba in 'da Moonlight; and Disney's Beauty and the Beast and Aida, in Michigan resident premieres; and one show to be announced.

Visit www.barntheatre.com.