Heritage Theatre Festival getting ready for auditions

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Heritage Theatre Festival is coming back for its 45th year, and this season will explore the concepts of connection and community from several angles.

This summer's festival will kick off June 28 with the Tony-nominated musical “Million Dollar Quartet. Then there will be Kate Hamill's romantic adaption of Jane Austen's “Pride and Prejudice” and Robert Harling's “Steel Magnolias.”

The season will end with Eleanor Burgess' “The Niceties,” an explosive look at how people think and talk about race, history and power.

“We did not set out to create this season around a unifying theme,” said Jenny Wales, the festival's artistic director. “But I was struck by the way themes revealed themselves through our choice. What we found is that this season is very much about community and connection, both of which are integral in our continued work to bridge the gaps between us, and to move forward as a university community and as part of the larger community here in Charlottesville. Each play addresses community in its own way while creating dynamic theatrical experiences that will bring people together to laugh, to think, to feel, and to engage with one another.”

“Million Dollar Quartet” takes viewers to Dec. 4, 1956, when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis got together at Sun Records in Memphis for a jam session featuring megahits like “Whole Lotta Shaking Going On,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Folsom Prison,” and “Hound Dog.”

“Pride and Prejudice” follows Lizzy Bennett who does not want to get married but her resolve is tested by Mr. Darcy in a sweeping tale.

“Steel Magnolias” takes place inside Truvy's beauty salon in Chinquapin, Louisiana, with lessons on sacrifice, love, and the importance of building friendships and memories.

“The Niceties” follows Zoe, an African-American student, who meets with a white professor to talk about a paper about slavery's role in the American Revolution, becoming a conversation on race, history and power.

Auditions for the festival season will be held Feb. 23 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and Feb. 24 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the University of Virginia Drama Building.

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