FAYETTEVILLE >> Totem Pole Playhouse, located in Caledonia State Park, is looking forward to its 65th anniversary summer season productions, with renowned actors in lead roles.
Starring in the opening play "The Nerd" will be Eric Szmanda, the last remaining original cast member of the long-running CBS series, "C.S.I., Crime Scene Investigation." "The Nerd," playing May 29 through June 14, is about an unexpected guest who turns out to be a bumbling oaf with no social sense, little intelligence, and even less tact.
Internationally acclaimed baritone, Ben Davis, who received a Special Tony Award Honor for his work in Baz Luhrmann's Broadway production of "La Boheme," will lead a cast of 25 in the Broadway musical, "Shenandoah," from June 19 through July 5, featuring a seven-piece orchestra. Based on the film starring Jimmy Stewart, it follows a strong willed Virginia farmer trying to keep his family neutral as the Civil War rages around them.
Acclaimed stage and television actor Granville Van Dusen will present his one-may play "Memoirs of Abraham Lincoln," July 10 through 26 at Gettysburg College's Kline Theater. This performance will mark Van Dusen's final performance of the play, coming full circle and ending where it all began.
For the first time on Totem Pole's stage will be the long-running Broadway musical, "Grease." Playing the only adult role in the show, Miss Lynch, will be Joyce DeWitt of the classic television comedy series "Three's Company." The musical features a young cast of 19, starring Broadway actors Alex Aguilar and Megan Campanile as 'Danny Zuko' and 'Sandy Dumbrowski' in the roles made famous by John Travolta and Olivia Newton John in the movie version of the musical. The show will run July 31 through Aug. 16.
A special tribute concert, Lovesick Blues, will offer eight shows from Aug. 18 through 23 and feature the music of country western singing legends Hank Williams Sr. and Patsy Cline. Totem Pole audience favorite Robbie Limon will portray Williams and Denise Patton, who worked on last season's "Ring of Fire" will return to play Cline. The duo will be backed by a six-piece band.
There will be a new venue this December for the theatre's annual presentation of "A Christmas Carol." After returning to Capitol Theatre last year from a 10-year absence, "A Christmas Carol" will be performed for the next four years in Gettysburg College's Majestic Theater, 25 Carlisle St., Gettysburg.
"Emotionally it was a difficult decision ... to make," said Rowan Joseph, Totem Pole's producing artistic director, "but the production just grew so much in size and scope beyond the space at the Capitol, especially the backstage area."
Joseph explained also that Actors' Equity Association granted a one-time waiver last year to allow the production to proceed but was not willing to do so again this year. "The staff and management at the Capitol were absolutely wonderful," Rowan said. "Our production has simply grown too big for the Capitol's stage."
• For subscription or single tickets to any of the shows, visit www.totempoleplayhouse.org or call the box office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at 352-2164, Ext. 1.