Pioneer Playhouse of Danville will open for its 72nd season under the stars on June 11 with Clue: On Stage, a zany adaptation of everyone’s favorite board game and cult classic movie.
“We’re so happy to be back to doing a full season,” says artistic director, Robby Henson, son of Col. Eben C. Henson, founder of Kentucky’s oldest outdoor theatre. “Last year we had an abbreviated season, but this year, we’re back in full swing.”
Rehearsals on the historic stage have been underway since Memorial Day weekend, and much of the cast are familiar faces to those who attend Pioneer Playhouse shows regularly. Patricia Hammond and Daniel Hall Kuhn are two actors who have been traveling to Danville each summer for almost twenty years.
“Both Pat and Daniel have big followings here. Our patrons love seeing them on stage,” says Heather Henson, sister to Robby, and managing director of the theatre her dad started in 1950. “We also have Erika Lee Sengstack coming back for her seventh year, and Jessa DeLuca is on her third year with us. Also, Giancarlo Herrera, a terrific young actor from a few seasons ago has returned as well.”
“To say that Clue is a complicated show, is a big understatement,” adds Robby Henson, who is also directing the first show of the 2021 summer season. “Having such an incredibly strong cast makes a huge difference.”
Clue: On Stage is a relatively new play. The board game, which was originally created in England in the 1940’s under the name Cluedo, has been hugely popular throughout the world and through the decades. Clue was made into a movie in 1985 with big names such as Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Lesley Ann Warren, and Eileen Brennan, and Christopher Lloyd. The movie continues to be a cult classic today. There is also a musical version of the game.
“We read this fairly new stage adaptation, and we just knew it was perfect for the Playhouse,” says Robby Henson. “Lots of energy, lots of mistaken identity, lots of silly characters running around trying to figure out what’s going on and who’s the murderer.”
“Our audiences are going to love it,” adds Heather Henson. “It’s perfect for the times. Everyone needs to get out and laugh about now.”
And Robby Henson would like to emphasize the word out.
“My dad built a huge outdoor amphitheater and dining patio, and it’s the reason we were able to open for a short season last summer; it’s the reason we’re confident about opening for a full season this year,” Robby says.
“We’ve been doing theatre outside and under the stars for 72 years, and we’re still going strong, even during a pandemic,” adds Heather. “I guess we’re doing something right!”
Clue: On Stage runs June 11 through July 3, nightly, Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8:30 pm. A delicious home-cooked BBQ dinner is available before the show at 7:00 pm in the outdoor courtyard. Dinner and show is $35 per person; Show only is $20. Pioneer Playhouse is located at 840 Stanford Road in Danville, KY. A full schedule of plays and information can be found at pioneerplayhouse.com or by calling the box office at 859-236-2747.
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