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Arts & Culture

Southern West Virginia Outdoor Theatre Returns After Pandemic Shutdown

Theatre West Virginia prepares the Cliffside Amphitheatre for summer 2021 shows.

The show will go on at Theatre West Virginia in Grandview.

This season, performers will carry on a West Virginia tradition after last year’s pandemic shutdown.

"We are socially distancing and selling 519 at night out of 1,260 seats at Cliffside Amphitheatre at Grandview," Theatre West Virginia executive director Scott Hill said. "We are spreading it out and each night, after seating our guests, we allow them to move around to an unoccupied seat if they want more distance."

Summer 2020 was the first time Theatre West Virginia didn’t put on a show at Cliffside Amphitheatre since its inception more than 60 years ago, according to a news release.

The first performance for the 2021 summer season is “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll.

This show features 22 children, below the age of 18, from the Children's Academy, another tradition brought back for the 2021 performances.

There are a few more showings of this modern update on a classic that runs through July 3.

After that, the theater will see the return of “Honey in the Rock.” The drama depicts the violent conflicts of the American Civil War as West Virginia split from Virginia to become a state. That show opens July 8.

Theatre West Virginia will also perform the Shakespeare play “Romeo and Juliet” for the first time beginning July 11.

This season is the first time the outdoor acting and performance tradition takes the stage in America's newest National Park, in the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve near Beckley.

Hill said a recent show had 12 different states represented.

"The new designation of national park has made a difference," Hill said. "It seems that we are getting more guests from different states and this is with only four shows in the book. I believe this is a positive upward trend."

Others on the lineup include Tarzan, and West Virginia native and season six winner of NBC TV’s “America's Got Talent” Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. and his special guests Voices of Classic Soul, featuring the former lead singers of The Temptations, The Platters, The Drifters and The Four Tops.

Most performances begin at 7:30 p.m. under the stars.

Tickets are available for all performances online at Theatre West Virginia website. You can also get tickets at the Cliffside Amphitheatre Box Office beginning one hour before each show, while they last.

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