Kentucky Arts and Culture
Taking to the Stage for the 64th Time
The show will go on again this weekend at Danville’s Pioneer Playhouse. The outdoor theater is beginning its 64th year of operation this summer. Managing Director Heather Henson admits it’s difficult to keep this type of theater business going in this day and time. Henson says her mother, Charlotte, is a driving force behind ‘Pioneer Playhouse.’
“She ran the theater along side my dad for many years. We lost dad eight years ago. My mother is the backbone. She keeps us going. She keeps things going. And we just feel Pioneer Playhouse is a part of Kentucky. It’s a part of the community and we just don’t want to see the doors close,” said Henson.
Kentucky’s oldest outdoor theater will open with ‘Deathtrap.’ Henson says the comedy-thriller is a change of pace for an opener at the central Kentucky theater.
“It’s a thriller and it really is kind of an edge of your seat, you never know what’s gonna happen next, you’re gasping. Who’s gonna be killed next on the stage. And usually we do something very light and farcical for our first show, but this it is serious, but it’s a comedy as well, a little scarier,” added Henson.
Pioneer Playhouse attracts actors and actresses from cities like New York and Los Angeles to come spend the summer in central Kentucky. In a day when video is viewed in many different ways, Heather Henson says live acting remains popular.
“People are interested in connecting in kind of a different way and kind of being nostalgic and so they’ll think, oh there’s that Pioneer Playhouse that’s been out on the edge of Danville for ever. Let’s go check it out. And once we get one person who has never come to a theater before, they’re really hooked. I mean they’re fascinated by live theater,” explains Henson.
The other shows this summer at Pioneer Playhouse are ‘Tamed’, ‘Search for Tinker Doyle’, ‘Moon Over Buffalo’, ‘Cockeyed’, and comedian ‘Etta May’.