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Buckhannon Community Theatre has a full slate of shows on tap for its 50th anniversary season

BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon Community Theatre is preparing a special event to commemorate its 50th anniversary this year as it readies several productions after being unable to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Risë Straight Hanifan, a director and volunteer with BCT, said the first of these performances will be “A 50th Golden Anniversary Celebration.”

“We’re going to be focusing on songs from the different plays we’ve done over the last 50 years,” Hanifan said. “Some of these are subject to change, but at this point, from the 1970s we’re going to be doing songs from ‘Annie Get Your Gun,’ ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and ‘Anything Goes.'”

Songs from “Brigadoon,” “Sound of Music” and “Kiss Me Kate,” will represent shows performed in the ’80s, while tunes from “Annie,” “Oliver” and “Li’l Abner” will represent performances from the ’90s.

The new millennium will include hits from “Cinderella,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,” from the 2000 shows and songs from “The Secret Garden,” “Into the Woods,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Shrek” and Rock of Ages” from the 2010s.  

“We will have pictures projected from shows past and also probably some clips of some straight plays that we did,” Hanifan said. “A straight play is one that’s not a musical, so there’ll be a few clips of those sprinkled throughout.”

“A 50th Golden Anniversary Celebration” will take place June 3-4 in the Colonial Arts Center on Main Street. The renovations to the historic theater are scheduled to be completed by the time the curtain rises in June.

From there, Buckhannon Community Theatre will quickly transition into more traditional productions.

“In the summer, we’re doing ‘Frozen Jr.,’ and then we are planning to do ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect,'” Hanifan said. “We wanted to do something for kids, which is why we’re doing ‘Frozen Jr.’ To be in that show, you have to be 18 years or younger, so then [‘I Love You, You’re Perfect’] is for the adult roles. Then we’ll be doing ‘Clue’ in the fall, probably around the first of November.”

Hanifan participated in BCT as an actor in the 90s in “A Christmas Carol” and came back in 2012 for the female version of “The Odd Couple.” In 2013 she became the treasurer of BCT, and now she is the fundraising director.

“I’m very excited to see the finished theater and to see how this can be a future home for BCT productions,” Hanifan said. “It’s a little bit nerve-wracking thinking about it, but they have been working hard, and to see it fully completed and all put together will be very exciting.”

Hanifan also encouraged the community to donate to BCT and help them arrange more performances.

“We’re always looking for sponsors or people who can donate to help offset the costs, because the cost of doing shows is growing,” Hanifan said. “We have to pay royalties, we have to hire directors and technical directors, and there are a lot of pieces that people don’t think about.”

Most of Buckhannon Community Theatre is volunteer-based.

“All of our actors are volunteers, and sometimes the directors, but when you want to get somebody with a lot of experience to direct shows, then that costs money,” Hanifan said. “We can’t do it without the support of the community and donations that people can give to us. We have some fundraisers planned, but just becoming a BCT supporter by giving donations is always, always welcome and appreciated.”

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