A! Magazine for the Arts

Barter Theatre actors  listen as Katy Brown (center) announces the season.

Barter Theatre actors listen as Katy Brown (center) announces the season.

Barter Theatre announces 90th season lineup

December 26, 2022

Producing Artistic Director Katy Brown announced Barter Theatre’s 90th season. In 2023 Barter produces 12 titles featuring its resident acting company and welcomes audiences at both Gilliam Stage and Barter’s Smith Theatre.

In the spring of 2023, Barter produces “The Last Romance” by Joe DiPietro, “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare, and “Keep on the Sunny Side” by Doug Pote. The summer productions begin with “Footloose,” a musical based on the classic ‘80s movie, adapted by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie. The summer season continues with “Sense and Sensibility,” based on the novel by Jane Austen, “Skeleton Crew” by Dominique Morisseau and “Country Girls” by Stephen Brown.

In the second half of the year, Barter opens its fall rep with “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a play based on the novel by Harper Lee and adapted by Christopher Sergel. “To Kill a Mockingbird” is followed by a William Goldman adaptation of Stephen King’s “Misery,” as well as “Clue,” based on the Paramount Pictures Motion Picture and written by Sandy Rustin. Barter closes its 90th season with holiday productions of “Miracle on 34th Street” by Vern Stefanic and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by resident playwright Catherine Bush.

Tickets for Barter’s 2023 Season are available for purchase to the general public Jan 17. Subscribers may book tickets earlier, beginning Jan. 3.

Season Overview:


“The Last Romance” by Joe DiPietro (Gilliam Stage)

On an ordinary day in a routine life, 80-year-old widower Ralph decides to take a different path on his daily walk and discovers the beautiful-yet-distant Carol on a bench at a dog park. Relying on his boyish charm and a fictional dog named Rex, Ralph begins to woo Carol, thus embarking on a hilarious and heartwarming journey that proves it’s never too late for romance.

“Macbeth” by William Shakespeare (Barter’s Smith Theatre)

“Something wicked this way comes...” Returning home from battle, the victorious Macbeth meets three witches on the heath. Driven by their disturbing prophecies, he sets out on an ambitious path to take the crown – a plan that leads to murder and madness. Don’t miss this action-filled adaptation specifically tailored for Barter’s Smith Theatre.

“Keep on the Sunny Side” by Doug Pote (Gilliam Stage)

Come celebrate the original musical tale of America’s first family of country music. When A.P. Carter convinces his wife Sarah and his sister-in-law Maybelle to record with him at the Bristol Sessions, he has no idea he is about to change his life – and the world – forever. You’ll tap your toes to Carter Family favorites like “Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow,” “Keep On the Sunnyside,” “Wildwood Flower” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”


“Footloose” adapted by Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie (Gilliam Stage)

Enjoy the high-energy musical based on the ‘80s movie. When Ren and his mother leave Chicago and move to the rural community of Bomont, Ren finds himself at odds with most everyone, including the powerful Reverend Moore. As a result of a recent tragedy, Moore has convinced the town fathers to outlaw dancing. With the help of Ariel (Moore’s daughter) and Willard (his new friend), Ren convinces the Reverend to let teenagers dance again.

“Sense and Sensibility” based on the novel by Jane Austen (Gilliam Stage)

Playwright Kate Hamill gives a fresh, comic take on this beloved novel. This wildly theatrical adaptation follows two radically different sisters—sensible Elinor and emotional Marianne—in the wake of their father’s death, as they face wave after wave of dance partners, dinner parties and great loves amid an English society mad for gossip.

“Skeleton Crew” by Dominique Morisseau (Barter’s Smith Theatre)

What do you do when the industry that has supported you, your family, and your entire region threatens to close up and go away? “Skeleton Crew” is set in 2008 Detroit, where a small automotive factory is on the brink of foreclosure and the livelihoods of a tight knit family of workers hangs in the balance.

“Country Girls” by Stephen Brown (Barter’s Smith Theatre)

Megan hates country music singer Rick Montgomery, and she and her best friend Kimmy have decided tonight’s concert will be his last. The two teens hatch a plot to kidnap the country music star in this laugh-out-loud, offbeat comedy. Songs will be sung, shots will be fired, and the girls will discover that revenge ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.


“To Kill a Mockingbird” adapted by Christopher Sergel (Gilliam Stage)

Young Scout and her brother Jem live in the sleepy town of Maycomb, Alabama, with their widowed father, the lawyer Atticus Finch. Life is wonderful – until the facade of the seemingly peaceful town begins to crack when a young Black man is accused of a terrible crime. Driven by an unshakeable moral conviction, Atticus defends the man in a trial that sends waves of violence through the community.

“Misery” adapted by William Goldman (Barter’s Smith Theatre)

“Misery” follows successful romance novelist Paul Sheldon, who is rescued from a car crash by his “number one fan,” Annie Wilkes, and wakes up captive in her secluded home. While Paul is convalescing, Annie reads his latest book and becomes enraged when she discovers the author has killed off her favorite character, Misery Chastain. Annie forces Paul to write a new Misery novel, and he quickly realizes Annie has no intention of letting him go anywhere.

“Clue” by Sandy Rustin (Gilliam Stage)

Based on the iconic 1985 Paramount movie and classic board game, “Clue” is a hilarious comedy-meets-murder mystery. The tale begins at a remote mansion, where six mysterious guests assemble for an unusual dinner party where murder and blackmail are on the menu. When their host turns up dead, they all become suspects. Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock and Colonel Mustard race to find the killer as the body count stacks up.


“Miracle on 34th Street” by Vern Stefanic (Gilliam Stage)

It’s the story of the year when Macy’s Santa Claus claims to be the real Kris Kringle. When he is put on trial to prove it, it’s up to a little girl’s belief in miracles, a kindly lawyer and a lot of Christmas spirit to save the day. Join Barter for the musical of one of the most beloved Christmas stories of all time.

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Catherine Bush (Barter’s Smith Theatre)

It’s Dec. 24 in a busy airport, and newly-divorced gate agent Cheryl Dean is desperately trying to keep her Christmas spirit as she deals with a host of zany characters flying home for the holidays. An opinionated grandmother, a young man with big dreams, a champion turkey caller and more are stuck in the airport. People fall in love, get on each other’s nerves, and maybe even end up with the happiest Christmas they’ve ever had.

Barter Theatre, the nation’s longest running professional theater, is located in Abingdon, Virginia. The theater opened in 1933 during the Great Depression. Barter Theatre was designated as the State Theatre of Virginia in 1946. It exists today as one of the last year-round professional resident repertory theaters remaining in the United States.