The Gilbert Theatre is kicking off another exciting season this year, with some big changes and big shows debuting.  

The shows this season span a wide range of genres. Young Frankenstein is on stage through Oct. 4 and promises to deliver a quirky and entertaining time for the audience. 

There is truly something for everyone at the Gilbert
this season. 

“The Gilbert has a strong tradition of presenting material that is edgy and outside-the-box — so to speak,” said Robyne Parrish, the artistic director and co-education director at Gilbert Theater. 

Young Frankenstein is dark and satirical — in keeping with our Gilbert vibe. But it is still a fun musical that can be enjoyed by the whole family! It’s a Wonderful Life is of course a family favorite, but it deals with many dark issues and is a wonderful character study of what it means to be human and the exploration of the human condition, at its very core, is one of our biggest objectives when selecting plays. Titus Andronicus is one of Shakespeare’s bloodier plays and the Gilbert does not shy away from such material. Many of our shows this season have strong roles for women: Hedda Gabler, Women of Manhattan and the Vagina Monologues... Women of Manhattan is a wonderful dark comedy by one of my personal favorites…It has a Sex in the City feel to it - and like Vagina Monologues — deals with the struggles women face on a day to day basis.”

With a lineup like that, it is hard to pick a favorite because each show is
special in its own way, but one that is near and dear to Parrish’s heart is the
 holiday production.

“This season is jam packed with amazing shows. Probably the most exciting for me is to see how It’s A Wonderful Life turns out as we will be bringing this show to the community for the first time in Fayetteville history. After 10 years of A Christmas Carol, it was time for a change and the audience was polled to see if they, too, would like a new experience. They chose It’s A Wonderful Life hands down. I am also personally directing this show. I am familiar and in love with the film and can’t wait to see the stage version come to life. Ken Griggs will grace the Gilbert stage for the first time in the role of George Bailey,” said Parrish.

With such varying productions it will be intriguing to see how the directors choose to use and interact with the unique space that the Gilbert Theatre offers. 

“The intimate space provides the audience with a most personal experience. You feel as though you are enjoying a play right in your own home. With no wing or fly space to speak of, we have to put on our thinking caps and get extra creative which always leads us to make exciting choices in regards to staging and scenery.  This generally produces innovative, edgy and never seen before theatrical elements and design,” Parrish explains. 

The change to the holiday play this year is exciting for the entire community. Despite the change in tradition, Parrish thinks that it will be easy for local audiences to emotionally identify with It’s a Wonderful Life

“I think it will be exciting for our audiences to see these well loved films come to life on stage. Alive and in color! It’s a Wonderful Life in particular is probably something most of our Fayetteville community can connect with. Bedford Falls is a small town with local business struggling to keep afloat and the whole town has to come together to ensure
the success of such a lifestyle. I think we can all see the connections in this,”
Parrish said. 

For more information, visit www.gilbertheater.com

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