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Kentucky Chock Full of Outdoor Dramas this Summer

It may not be Hollywood, but Kentucky has a long history of summer outdoor theatrical productions. In fact, some of the shows have been running for more than a half-century.
 
The summer 2014 season features all the old standards like Stephen Foster and Shakespeare, but also brings Mark Twain and Willy Wonka to an outdoor setting near you.

For the second season, the Pike County amphitheater will host Blood Song: The Story of the Hatfields and the McCoys by Elkhorn City’s Artists Collaborative Theatre. The production presented in the actual region where the feud originated is scheduled to run weekends from July 25 through Sept. 1 at the Hatfield-McCoy Outdoor Theater in McCarr near Pikeville. Blood Song is expected to attract visitors eager to view local sites made famous by the clans from Kentucky and West Virginia who battled in the late 19th century.

“Last summer there was a steady stream of buses from Cincinnati, Lexington and Louisville” bringing visitors to see the play, said Tony Tackett, executive director of the Pike County Tourism Commission. He said organizers are expecting bigger crowds this summer, particularly during the Hatfield-McCoy Heritage Days festival Aug. 29-31.
 
The amphitheater, located in the heart of feud country near the Kentucky-West Virginia border, features bleacher-style seating, but patrons are welcome to bring lawn chairs. Tickets are available at the amphitheater. The $10 admission is cash only. For more information, visit hatfieldmccoy or call 606-432-2534.
 
Now in its 56th season, Stephen Foster – The Musical will be presented at My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown beginning June 14 and running through Aug. 16. There are also Saturday indoor matinees every week except the opening and closing. In addition to the award-winning drama inspired by the composer of “My Old Kentucky Home,” the park will also feature the production You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown from July 10 through Aug. 9. For more information, see stephenfoster or call 800-626-1563.
 
The Jenny Wiley Theatre at Jenny Wiley State Park in Prestonsburg celebrating its 50th season in 2014 and now features an indoor theater as well as the traditional amphitheater. The schedule includes: A Second Helping – The Church Basement Ladies Sequel, May 29 through July 18; Peter Pan, June 12 through Aug. 2; South Pacific, June 26 through Aug. 1; Feud Part 1: The Story of Johnse Hatfield and Roseanna McCoy, Aug. 21 through Sept. 19; and Feud Part 2: Firebrand – The Untold Story of Tolbert McCoy, Aug. 28 through Sept. 20. For more information, see jwtheatre or call 606-886-9274.
 
Kentucky’s oldest outdoor theater, now preparing its 65th season, offers a dinner and a show. This year’s drama at Danville’s Pioneer Playhouse includes: Whodunnit, Darling?, June 6-21; Mark Twain’s Is He Dead?, June 24 through July 5; The Wonder Team, July 8-19; Walking Across Egypt, July 22 through Aug. 2; A Visit from Scarface, Aug. 5-16; and Special Comedy Weekend – Etta May Returns! Aug. 21-23. For more information, see pioneerplayhouse or call 866-597-5297.

Once the place where you could watch Daniel Boone preside over a wedding in The Legend of Daniel Boone, Old Fort Harrod in Harrodsburg is now the home of The Ragged Edge Community Theater and its productions of The Sound of Music and James Harrod: The Battle for Kentucky. The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical will be presented June 12-22 and the play about the fort’s founder will be presented July 3-26. For more information, click here or call 859-734-3314. 

The nation’s oldest free Shakespeare festival is Louisville’s Shakespeare in the Park which turns 54 this season. Held in Old Louisville’s Central Park, the 2014 season will consist of eight productions totaling 56 performances over 10 weeks, three of which are Kentucky Shakespeare Professional productions.
 
The Louisville season includes: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, June 11-22; Henry V, June 25 through July 6; Hamlet, July 10-13; Love’s Labour’s Lost, July 31 through Aug. 3; As You Like It and Pericles, rotating Aug. 5-10; and King Lear and Women of Will, rotating Aug. 12-17. For more information, visit kyshakespeare or call 502-637-4933.
 
Nestled on the banks of the Licking River, the amphitheater hosting the Kincaid Regional Theatre in Falmouth is in its 32nd season. It will present Willy Wonka Jr. June 15-21 and All Shook Up July 5-26. See krtshows for more information or call 859-654-2636.

Kentucky Conservatory Theatre presents its SummerFest season at the Moondance Amphitheatre in Beaumont. The two shows are Twelfth Night, July 2-13 and Little Shop of Horrors, July 23 through Aug. 3. For more information, see mykct or call 859-935-1564

Dock Brown – Legend of an Outlaw continues in its 27th season at Pine Knob Theatre in Caneyville from June 7 through July 26. Also presented on alternate evenings will be Down in Hoodoo Holler on June 13 and 20, and July 11, 18 and 26. Running from June 27 to Sept. 27 will be Be Bop a LulaLucy and Ruth’s Diner (LARD) and Daddy Took the T-Bird Away. For more information, see pineknob or call 270-879-8190.
 
Twilight Cabaret Productions in Mayfield will produce Eugene Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano at Kenlake State Resort Park on June 20 through July 26. There is a pre-show dinner option as well. The production company will also present Shakespearean Ladies on Sept. 7. For more information, see twilight or call 270-436-2399.
 
From Kentucky Tourism

Photo: Blood Song, an original play about the feud between the Hatfield and McCoy clans of Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia will return for its second season in Pike County. (Photo by Kathy Castle Gullett/Hatfield & McCoy Arts Council)