ABINGDON, Va. — Barter Theatre will present two major Broadway hits as part of its 2016 lineup, which was unveiled Wednesday.

Invited guests attended a preview event at the theatre which included songs and scenes from future productions. A total of 17 shows are on tap including some special performances, according to Producing Artistic Director, Richard Rose.

“We’re doing a lot of shows that no one else has done, either in the United States or in this region. It’s a very Barter-centric season in a sense that we’re bringing things that no one has been able to see in any other regional theatre in the United States,” Rose said.

The Barter main stage will present hits “Chicago,” the longest-running American musical in Broadway history and “Mamma Mia!” Rose said Barter was “chosen out of just a few theatres in the nation” to perform “Mamma Mia!”

At Wednesday morning’s announcement, the Barter resident acting company presented performances of select songs and scenes that patrons can expect.

Next season on the main stage “Big Fish” begins in March and runs through April while “Murder for Two” begins in April and lasts through May.

“Mamma Mia!” begins in May and continues through August; “Peter and the Star Catcher” begins in June and also lasts through August; “A Night with Janis Joplin” begins in August and continues through September. “Chicago” begins in September and lasts through November while “Something Wicked This Way Comes” runs from September to November and “A Christmas Carol” begins in November and runs through December.

On Barter’s Stage II, the season kicks off with “Lying in State,” which begins in February and runs through March; “George Orwell’s 1984” will start in March and run through April; “Barrymore” will begin in May and run through August and “Agnes of God” begins in July and runs through August. “The Dixie Swim Club” will begin in June and run through August; “Friendly’s Fire” opens in September and lasts through October; “Winter Wheat: A New Musical” will begin in September and run through November and “Over the River and Through the Woods” will begin in November and run through December.

Rose said that Barter is in negotiations on a new mystery thriller for the month of October.

“Winter Wheat: A New Musical,” was written by Barter’s playwright-in-residence, Catherine Bush and premiers as a part of Barter’s Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights.

Passbooks for the 2016 season offer savings of 52 percent off single ticket prices and are now on sale. Prices range from $99 to $249.

For more information, go to bartertheatre.com or contact the box office at 276-628-3991.

Barter Theatre’s 2016 season will begin in February and feature the following shows throughout the year:

Shows on The Barter Theatre Stage

“A rollicking fantasy set in the American South, you simply MUST SEE this show!”


Book by John August

Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa

Based on the novel by Daniel Wallace and the Columbia motion picture written by John August

Overflowing with heart, humor and spectacular stagecraft, Big Fish is an extraordinary new Broadway musical that reminds us why we love going to the theatre – for an experience that’s richer, funnier and BIGGER than life itself. Based on the celebrated novel by Daniel Wallace and the acclaimed film directed by Tim Burton, Big Fish centers on Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman who lives life to its fullest… and then some! Edward’s incredible, larger-than-life stories thrill everyone around him – most of all, his devoted wife Sandra. But their son Will, who is about to have a child of his own, is determined to find the truth behind his father’s epic tales. MAR. - APR.

“A hilarious musical WHODUNIT!”


Book and Lyrics by Kellen Blair Book and Music by Joe Kinosian

One fateful night, shots ring out at the surprise birthday party of Great American Novelist Arthur Whitney, and he’s killed…yes, fatally. With the nearest detective an hour away, Marcus Moscowicz, a small town policeman with dreams of becoming a detective, jumps at the chance to prove his sleuthing skills—with the help of his silent partner, Lou. But whodunit? Did Dahlia Whitney, Arthur’s scene-stealing wife, give him a big finish? Is Barrette Lewis, the prima ballerina, the prime suspect? Did Dr. Griff, the overly-friendly psychiatrist, make a frenemy? Marcus has only a short amount of time to find the killer and make his name before the real detective arrives…and the ice cream melts. APR. - MAY

 “ABBA-lutely Fabulous! The ultimate feel-good show”


Music and Lyrics by Benny Anderson and Björn Ulvaeus

And some songs with Stig Anderson

Book by Catherine Johnson

Sophie has just one wish to make her wedding perfect: to have her father walk her down the aisle. Now, she just has to find out who he is... Join the music, laughter and fun of the irresistibly charming, musical celebration of mothers, daughters, fathers, true loves lost, and new ones found. More than 54 million people worldwide have fallen in love with Mamma Mia! Featuring more than 20 ABBA songs you know and love, it’s the feel-good experience that will have you singing and dancing over and over and over again. MAY - AUG.

“The show soars deliriously high and gloriously far.”


A play by Rick Elice

Based on the novel by David Barry and Ridley Pearson

Music by Wayne Barker

Originally Produced on Broadway by Nancy Nagel Gibbs, Greg

Schaffert, Eva Price, Tom Smedes, and Disney Theatrical Productions

A theatrical prequel to Peter Pan, this magical play takes you on a journey. Using the power of music and storytelling, it chronicles the adventures of an orphan soon to be called Peter Pan, and Molly, a girl charged to protect a parcel of stardust from falling into the wrong hands. Join us for the most hilarious-filled evening of madcap fun! In this five- time Tony Award winning play, a dozen brilliant actors play more than 100 unforgettable characters using their enormous talent, ingenious stagecraft and the limitless possibilities of imagination. Recommended for the whole family – ages 8 and up. JUN. - AUG.



 “This electrifying concert musical resurrects



Created, Written and Directed by Randy Johnson

Like a comet that burns far too brightly to last, Janis Joplin exploded onto the music scene in 1967 and, almost overnight, became the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Her unmistakable voice, filled with raw emotion and tinged with Southern Comfort, made her a must-see headliner from Monterey to Woodstock. A Night with Janis Joplin is a musical journey celebrating Janis and her biggest musical influences – trailblazers like Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Odetta, Nina Simone and Bessie Smith, who inspired one of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s greatest legends. AUG. - SEPT.

 “The #1 longest running American Musical

in Broadway History.”


Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse

Music by John Kander; Lyrics by Fred Ebb

Based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins

Script adaptation by David Thompson

This musical will razzle-dazzle you like no other. It’s the roaring twenties, and Roxie Hart is a small-time chorus dancer who will kill for fame. And after doing just that, she lands behind bars alongside vaudeville star Velma Kelly, who, with the help of hotshot lawyer Billy Flynn, has spun her crime into a media frenzy. When Flynn takes Roxie’s case, he makes her the latest tabloid sensation, setting the stage for singing, dancing catfights between the all-too-willing rivals, and featuring one of the greatest Kander and Ebb scores ever. SEPT. - NOV.



“Shades of Mark Twain with a touch of Stephen King, as if Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer had found themselves lost in a sinister fairground full of supernatural characters.”

Ray Bradbury’s


A play by Ray Bradbury

One strange and wild autumn, Halloween came early. It came at exactly the same time as Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow show rolled into town…That year, James Nightshade of 97 Oak Street was 13 years, 11 months, 23 days old. Next door, William Halloway was 13 years, 11 months, 24 days old. For Jim and Will, the lure of the carnival is irresistible. They soon discover that a sinister secret lies behind the smoke and mirrors; the carnival holds a dark desire to destroy the whole town. Only Jim, Will and Will’s mild-mannered dad can save the day. Adapting his own novel for the stage, the legendary Ray Bradbury has created a spine-tingling battle between good and evil. It is packed with a terrifying collection of characters, including the mysterious flying Dust Witch and the deadly Mr. Dark. A fantastic book, and now a new show for everyone from nine and up, “Something Wicked This Way Comes” is a deliciously, scary adventure about friendship, innocence and perfectly captures the wondrous belief we possess when we are 14 years old. SEPT. - NOV.


 “The classic ghost story of Christmas.”


A traditional adaptation from Dickens by Richard Rose

The joy of the holiday season returns with this sparkling production, and a beloved favorite of Barter patrons. Come and relive the sheer exhilaration of Scrooge’s experience. Witness his release from his small and selfish life to a life of giving, brotherhood and love. A spirited gift to treasure with family and friends, it guarantees you will leave wrapped in the warmth of the holiday spirit. NOV. - DEC.


Shows at Barter Stage II


“One of the funniest plays EVER…laugh out loud funny”


A riotous comedy by David C. Hyer

The state senator has died in a ridiculous gun accident, and it has made him a national hero. Everyone is searching for something. The local political party leaders are strenuously looking for someone to fill his senate seat. His ex-wife is looking for a bugler to play for his funeral. Bunny, the stripper, and a host of other zany characters are looking for love, votes, the right casket and a big purple squirrel named Mel. In this madcap comedy, love, politics and well, everything, are not what they seem. FEB. - MAR.



“Achieves vibrant immediacy…As relevant as if it were written today!”

George Orwell’s 1984

Adapted for the stage by Michael Gene Sullivan

Winston Smith is a cog in the giant machine of the State. Physically and mentally under the omnipresent eye of Big Brother, Winston has been caught struggling for scraps of love and freedom in a world awash with distrust and violence. With the brutal “help” of four Party Members, Winston is forced to confess his “Thought-Crimes” before an unseen inquisitor, and the audience -- which acts as a silent witness to his torture. This is a ferocious and provocative adaptation of one of the most prescient works of literature of the last century. MAR. - APR.

“In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

—George Orwell



 “A dazzler of great complexity and balletic elegance…

Leaves you wanting more.”


A play by William Luce

A portrait of the great John Barrymore, who with more than 50 films is considered one of America’s greatest actors. Each act begins with a stunning entrance onto a stage that the 60 year-old legendary actor rents to prepare for a comeback performance of Richard III. Barrymore jokes with the audience, spars with an offstage prompter, reminisces about better times and does delicious imitations of his siblings Lionel and Ethel. Barter’s favorite, Michael Poisson, will star in this tour de force. Written by the master of biographies for the stage, Luce’s other famous works include: The Belle of Amherst, Bronte, Zelda, and Lilliam.


“This is delicious stuff” – Pittsburgh Tribuine



“Riveting, powerful, outstanding…intelligently examines

the meaning of faith and the power of love.”


By John Pielmeier

A young novice nun is found with a deceased newborn infant in her convent quarters, and remembers nothing of the event. Was this an act of God? The court appoints psychiatrist Dr. Martha Livingston to assess the sanity of the nun accused of murdering her newborn. But when Mother Superior Miriam Ruth believes Agnes is “blessed” and “touched by God” in a mysterious way, the battle begins. Mother Superior wishes to protect Agnes’s fragile spirit, and Dr. Livingston wants to heal her shattered mind. Throughout this journey, there is a fierce examination of man’s conflicting needs for rational certainty and for mystery and faith. JUL. - AUG.



“Five Southern women who, through hilarious adventures, prove that friendships last forever.”


By Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, Jamie Wooten

Five unforgettable Southern women, whose friendships began many years ago on their college swim team, set aside a long weekend every August to recharge those relationships. Free from husbands, kids, and jobs, they meet at the same beach cottage on North Carolina’s Outer Banks to catch up, laugh and meddle in each other’s lives. These women increasingly rely on one another, through advice and raucous repartee, to get through the challenges (men, sex, marriage, parenting, divorce, aging) that life flings at them, including some hilarious and unexpected twists and turns. JUN. - AUG.


 “I love that I can’t always tell what is real, because

the real world is almost as odd as fantasy.”


(or Guy Friendly meets the Saint of Thieves)

By John Patrick Bray

In a cabin in Alaska, Guy Friendly, a Gulf War veteran and bee-herder, has just had his tooth stolen during a one-night stand. His best friend Todd, a pawnshop owner dressed as an astronaut, finds Friendly in a fevered state. Trapped by the snow, Todd has little choice but to enter Friendly’s fevered dream, to unravel the events of the night before – and the events of the Gulf War that led Friendly to becoming shut-in. An homage to Western movies, He-Man action figures, and that the Sesame Street Muppets’ Guy Smiley was in fact god. Friendly’s Fire discovers what lengths a man will go to preserve his friend’s sanity, and what lengths another will go to allow himself to remember his brother, who died in service. SEPT. - OCT.


“As history often proves, truth is much more exciting than fiction.”


Book and lyrics by Catherine Bush

Music and vocal arrangements by Ben Mackel

Taking a fascinating piece of American history and creating a musical, this journey explores the personal stakes for the men and women who lived through it. Set in the small East Tennessee town of Niota in 1920, the country is abuzz over the controversial 19th Amendment. The country was deeply divided over whether women should have the right to vote, and there was no guarantee the Amendment would be ratified by a majority of states. In the end, the ratification came down to a single state: Tennessee. And the Tennessee vote was decided by a single man: Harry Burn from Niota. SEPT.- NOV.




Barter is in the midst of negotiations on a new mystery thriller, which we are not yet allowed to announce. We know you are excited, as Barter has become known for our fall murder mysteries. We will announce this exciting addition to Barter’s 2016 Season as soon as we have finalized negotiations. Stay tuned for some heart pounding fun! OCT. - NOV.




by Joe DiPietro

When 29 year-old Nick Cristano announced his plans to move to Seattle, it was tantamount to a declaration of war. His Italian-American grandparents, with whom he has had Sunday dinner every week of his life, did not understand. With his parents and older sister having already moved to distant cities, Nick’s desire to leave for professional advancement makes no sense. To his immigrant grandparents, family is the center and the heart of life. Outrageous plans are hatched, hilarious games are played, a blind date is arranged, and stories of sacrifice and family are told to try to keep Nick from leaving. Resulting in a hilarious situation taken to an extreme, this show is shared and cherished by any family, and guarantees to make you love your family all over again.


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