Theatre opens 41st season

Actors (from left) Jim Chovick, Adam Daniel and Dagmar Krause Fields will star in Scripps Ranch Theatre’s upcoming production of the “Foxfire.” (photo by Ken Jacques)

Theatre opens 41st season

Scripps Ranch Theatre’s (SRT) upcoming production of “Foxfire” will offer playgoers a heartwarming, sometimes serious, sometimes funny story of life, love and values that celebrates people of the eastern mountain country and even a little of its music.

The play will run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 6-Oct. 6 at the Legler Benbough Theatre on the campus of Alliant International University. This is the first production of Scripps Ranch Theatre’s 41st season.

Set in Southern Appalachia, “Foxfire” tells the story of Annie Nations, a 79-year-old widow, living alone on her mountain farm accompanied only by memories of her late husband, Hector. Challenging her peaceful existence are an aggressive real-estate developer who wants to build a vacation resort on her land, and a son who returns home with two children because his wife has left him.

The story revolves around Annie’s struggle to decide her future and is enhanced with flashbacks to her life with Hector. The jilted son is a professional musician and the play includes a live, full-band performance of what director Ted Leib described as a mountain/bluegrass-influenced country music.

It’s not a musical, but it’s a play with music,” Leib said.

Written by Hume Cronyn (yes, the actor) and Susan Cooper, the play was first produced at Canada’s Stratford Festival in 1980. The 1982 Broadway production starred Jessica Tandy, the late Cronyn’s wife and fellow actor.

SRT’s production will feature Dagmar Krause Fields as Annie Nations; Jim Chovick as Hector; Adam Daniel as Dillard; Maria Hotovy as Holly Burrell; Bob Himlin as real estate developer Prince Carpenter; and Pete Zanko as Doctor.

Leib and SRT artistic director Jill Drexler met years ago while acting in a production of “Foxfire” at a theater in Vista. Familiar with the story, when Leib joined a group choosing the theater’s season lineup, he suggested the play as a good fit for local audiences.

“Music makes ‘Foxfire’ good for Scripps Ranch Theatre. You don’t see a lot of plays that have full music performances in them that aren’t true musicals,” Leib said. “Another factor is the story. It’s a story about getting older; the old ways being replaced by the new. Gentrification if you will. That’s something that a lot of people can relate to, especially here in San Diego.”

Leib noted that the play is a co-production with Oceanside Theatre Company. Following it’s run at SRT, the same actors, crew and sets will move to Oceanside’s Brooks theater for a five-week run there.

Scripps Ranch Theatre is on the campus of Alliant International University, 9783 Avenue of Nations. “Foxfire” begins its run Sept. 6 and will play Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Oct. 6 (no show on Sept. 8). To reserve seats, call (858) 578-7728. For ticket price information, visit scrippsranchtheatre.org.

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