uac062012001.jpg To say that Tom Quaintance, the artistic director of the Cape Fear Regional Theatre, is excited about the upcoming season at the CFRT is something of an understatement. Quaintance, who is going into his first full season as the artistic director, has been diligently working on putting the upcoming season together, and it’s one he believes is going to live up to the theatre’s new motto: Great stories told here.

“The vision for the new season came from working through the theme of the season — the whole idea of telling great stories on our stage,” said Quaintance.

To that end, he pulled together a play selection committee of people from within the community to help choose the plays for the upcoming season. The committee was comprised of members of the board, actors and other supporters of the theatre. Their mission was to take about a dozen plays chosen by Quaintance and then whittle the list down to fi ve for the upcoming season.

“We spent a lot of time talking about how these plays worked together to tell great stories in our community,” said Quaintance. “It is very important that the community feels a real ‘buy-in’ to this season. I wanted the community to know that these plays were not chosen independently of one another, and made a great effort to show a great breadth of appeal for the many different parts of the community. These plays all have different styles, and will have a vast appeal community-wide. The group was great, in that it gave me the opportunity to bounce ideas off people and to get their opinions.”

Quaintance is all too aware that he is the new kid on the block, and wanted to ensure that the community shared his vision for the theatre.

“We have had a very strong reaction from the community about the upcoming season,” said Quaintance. “They have expressed a lot of excitement about the selection of plays. I was very concerned that they didn’t see me as an outsider doing the selection of the plays — I did not want the season to be about me, but rather about the community, and on building on our position as one of the cultural leaders in the community.”

The following plays comprise the 2012-2013 CFRT season:

Jesus Christ Superstar

Sept. 21 - Oct. 7, 2012

Since its Broadway debut, this spectacular musical phenomenon has thrilled millions of theatergoers worldwide mesmerizing them with its passion, captivating them with its story and entrancing them with its anthemic title song. Quaintance is very excited about this show. He has wanted to do a production of this show since he was in graduate school. He noted the timing was perfect because he wanted to do the show during an election year.

Legally Blonde: The Musical

Jan. 24 - Feb. 10, 2013

06-20-12-cfrt-logo.jpgQuaintance calls this a “big, bold show” that will be appreciated purely for its entertainment value. Based on the hit movie of the same name it’s so much fun it shouldn’t be legal! Sorority star Elle Woods doesn’t take “no” for an answer. So when her boyfriend dumps her for someone “serious,” Elle puts down the credit card, hits the books and sets out to go where no Delta Nu has gone before: Harvard Law. Along the way, Elle proves that being true to yourself never goes out of style.

The Parchman Hour

March 8 - 24, 2013

According to Quaintance, this show may be the most important show staged this year. The show, written by North Carolina native Mike Wiley, chronicles the first months of America’s civil rights movement when waves of young people, mostly college students, rode buses into the heart of the Deep South. Many were brutally attacked, arrested and imprisoned in Mississippi’s notorious Parchman Farm Penitentiary, where they invented an ingenious pastime to help them endure, a live variety show inspired by programs then popular on radio and television. Jokes, stories, singing and Bible readings sprang from every cell. This nightly event became known as The Parchman Hour. The play commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders’ journey from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans, La., during the heart of the Civil Rights era. The Parchman Hour embodies CRFT’s deepened focus on bringing its audiences accessible but challenging works that stimulate discussion even as they entertain. Quaintance sees this as a show that will generate conversation in Fayetteville.

Pride and Prejudice

April 19 - May 5, 2013

Jane Austen’s most popular novel, in this theatrical adaptation by Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan. Mrs. Bennet will stop at nothing to obtain advantageous matches for her five middle-class daughters. As always, the CFRT will continue the tradition of staging The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, with school performances Dec. 4-14 and public performances Dec. 6-16.

The Classic Theatre Series Production will feature Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at FSU’s Seabrook Auditorium Feb. 28 - March 3, 2013. This show teams the CFRT with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, a partnership Quaintance is excited to explore.

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