TheatreVirginia 46th season in 2000-2001 will include Sheldon Harnick and Joe Raposo's musical, A Wonderful Life, and the mountain country musical, Fair and Tender Ladies, along with three Broadway plays.
The musical version of the film, "It's a Wonderful Life," with book and lyrics by Harnick and music by the late Raposo (with some additional music by Harnick), has been kicking around regional theatre for more than a decade, and serves up the humanity typical of Harnick's best-known work, Fiddler on the Roof and She Loves Me.
A question about untraceable stage rights to a specific aspect of the story are said to be a reason the audience-friendly musical has not yet made it to a commercial run in New York. The tuner has played Arena Stage in Washington DC, and elsewhere.
Performances at TheatreVirginia play Nov. 21-Dec. 16.
Fair and Tender Ladies is called a folk musical "straight from the heart of Virginia's mountain country." Drawn from a novel by Lee Smith, the show has a script by Eric Schmeidl, music and lyrics by Tommy Goldsmith, Tom House, and Karren Pell. Performances are April 18-May 12, 2001. Fair and Tender Ladies had its world premiere in Fall 1998 at Alabama Shakespeare Festival. The musical drama concerns a Virginia woman named Ivy Rowe, who looks back on her Appalachian mountain life, relating her story in letters and songs.
In Alabama, singer-musicians performed what was called a "play with music" rather than a traditional musical.
The piece was developed in ASF's Southern Writers' Project (SWP), an initiative that began in 1991 as a way to commission and develop new works by Southern writers.
Also on the Theatre Virginia season:
• The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Alfred Uhry's serious comedy about Jewish life in the South in 1939, Sept. 27-Oct. 21.
• Art, the Paris, London and Broadway play by Yasmina Reza (translated by Christopher Hampton), about a piece of artwork coming between friends, Jan. 10-Feb. 3, 2001.
• Moon Over Buffalo, Ken Ludwig's Broadway comedy about an acting couple's hope to leave the small time for the big, Feb. 28-March 24, 2001.
TheatreVirginia is located in The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 2800 Grove Avenue, in Richmond, VA.
For season information, call (804) 353-6161 or (877) 353 6161, or visit the web site at www.theatreva.com.
-- By Kenneth Jones