WELLSBURG - When the Brooke Hills Playhouse production of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" opens this weekend, the play will be the result of many people working as a single team, according to director Julia Barnhart of Wellsburg.
The play, adapted by Joseph Robinette from the classic novel by C. S. Lewis, will be presented at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Aug. 9-10; and at 2 p.m. Sunday and Aug. 11. For reservations, call (304) 737-3344.
"The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" tells the story of four school children who pass through an enchanted wardrobe into the land of Narnia, where they find themselves in the midst of a war between the Christ-like lion, Aslan, and the seductive but evil White Witch.
From left, Ivy Guiler, Mason Barnhart and Katie Spurrier rehearse for the Brooke Hills Playhouse production of Joseph Robinette’s adaptation of the C. S. Lewis classic “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” The show will be presented at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Aug. 9-10; and 2 p.m. Sunday and Aug. 11. For reservations, call (304) 737-3344.
Julia Barnhart has directed plays with children and teens in major roles for most of her time at the playhouse, and she said that the wide range of ages of the actors in this play has not been a major problem because of the cast's positive attitude.
"It is very hard to blend such a wide range of ages together, but we stress that we are a team and that everyone is important," Barnhart said.
Noting that the youngest cast member is only 4 years old, Barnhart admitted that there are some challenges with working with younger actors.
"They get bored easily, have a bunch of energy and are hard to keep quiet," she observed. "It takes many of our older actors to keep them occupied."
Despite these challenges, Barnhart continues to enjoy working with children. "They don't always stay in character but they are entertaining," she said.
Barnhart said that parents are an important part of putting on any show with children in prominent roles.
"Any production takes an army or a village to put together and this is definitely true of 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,'" Barnhart said. "I am always very lucky with my kids' show to have such great parents working with me," she said.
Barnhart cited some of the parents' contributions to the production.
"Some of our weapons were donated for this show by a parent, Tim Ferrari," she said. "Jenn and Scott Stroud are doing our road signs, Doug Jackson built us a larger-than-life lamppost, his mother, Madelon, is always my go-to for makeup, Roberta Fedoush always volunteers to do whatever I need and many moms help in the lobby or backstage."
The older teens in the cast also help keep the little ones in line.
"With little ones, you can't always expect them to be in the place that you told them to be, so some of my teenagers help to wrangle the little ones," Barnhart said.
After the run of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," the Brooke Hills Playhouse's 42nd summer season will offer two more shows: Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore's comedy, "Bathroom Humor," Aug. 23-25 and Aug. 30-Sept. 1; and "Between the Acts," a readers' theater production adapted by Charles Calabrese from a 1910 comedy by Benjamin Griffith, Sept. 13-15.
All shows run Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Ticket prices for Brooke Hills Playhouse productions remain the same as in previous years: musicals are $12 for adults, $10 for students and senior citizens and $8 for children younger than 12; and non-musicals are $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors, and $6 for children younger than 12.
For reservations, call (304) 737-3344.