Originally published Friday, May 4, 2018 at 05:59a.m.
Prescott Center for the Arts is putting on “Big River,” directed by Catherin Miller Hahn on the main stage as well as “Sitting Pretty,” directed by Nancy Dunham for Readers Theatre.
Hahn said she’s always wanted to direct “Big River” ever since she first saw it in 1985. Written by Roger Miller, it’s a satirical musical based on Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” and having a resurgence all across the country, she said.
“I think it’s resurging because of some of that racial divide that we have now,” Hahn said. “People are bringing it back to remind each other and everyone about equal rights for everyone.”
Opening night is Thursday, May 10, and the show runs through Sunday, May 13, that weekend; from Thursday to Sunday, May 17-20; and Thursday to Sunday, May 24-27. Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. for Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows, and 2 p.m. for Sunday shows.
The show itself is very simplistic with the band right in the middle of the stage in the river with all the action happening around them, Hahn said.
“Everything that happens on the river is the way life should be where people respect one another, love one another,” she said. “What happens out here … is the real world, the land. The way people really treat each other. The band was the core of telling that story because it tells it musically.”
Tickets are $18 for youth and $25 for adults for 7:30 p.m. shows, and $16 for youth and $21 for adults for 2 p.m. shows. All can be purchased online at www.pca-az.net.
Hahn mentioned PCA Executive Director Robyn Allen wanting a little more diversity on the stage. This play opens the doors to the African-American community, she said.
“We’re getting a little more of that every day with people moving in,” Hahn said. “I wanted to open the doors and let everybody see that we encourage them to come out, the Asian culture, the Hispanic culture and the African-American culture. That opens up all these plays that we can do. We can’t just always do white plays all the time.”
Also beginning this week is the Reader’s Theater show “Sitting Pretty,” which started Thursday, May 3, and continues through Saturday, May 5, on Stage Too, in the alley behind the Prescott Center for the Arts, and at the Prescott Valley Public Library, 7401 E. Civic Center, May 5.
It’s a staunch readers theater, said director Nancy Dunham. The only movement in the production at all is a set of characters standing up to move to the front set of seats and later moving back, Dunham said.
Dunham said she enjoys being able to work with the actors in the setting of a readers theatre because in the short time frame between rehearsals and putting the show on, the characters and their development flowers.
“What I like about readers theatre the most is, as an actress, it’s all about the acting,” she said. “You can have a 20-year-old play a 60-year-old and vice versa because you’re given the written word.”
Admission to Reader’s Theater is free and donations are accepted at the door for the performance. For more information, visit www.pca-az.net. The Prescott Center for the Arts is located at 208 N. Marina St.
By Jason Wheeler, follow him on Twitter @PrescottWheels, reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037.