It's a coming-of-age adventure set to music. A revival of the musical play Hitchin', written by Ned Heavenrich of the Brownsmead Flats, will be thumbing its way across the stage at the Clatsop Community College Performing Arts Center over two weekends in February. The six performances are sponsored by Partners for the PAC as a fundraiser to keep the facility operating as an affordable performance space for the community.
Hitchin' had its debut at the PAC in 1997 and was warmly received by sold-out houses. It had an encore at the Performing Arts Center in 1999 and also had a successful run at the River Theater in 2004. It was written by Heavenrich as he thought about his own coming-of-age following the death of his father and in the midst of his teenage son's striving for independence.
Hitchin' tells the story of a young man's adventures, the colorful characters he encounters and his trials and growth as he hitchhikes from the Midwest to the West Coast during the upheaval of the early 1970s. The music was composed by Heavenrich, Robert Stevens and Dan Sutherland of the Brownsmead Flats, and the popular group serves as the orchestra for the musical play, joined by Janet Bowler on flute.
Walter Newman is a clothing store owner and workaholic whose 20-year-old son, Matt, is getting ready to leave the house to "find his own path." Walter finds his journal from his days on the road, and the journal's entries come to life on the stage. Walt (as he was known then) meets Lulu, a fellow hitchhiker who knocks his socks off and heads on down the road; Mary and James Erickson, a farm couple whose oldest son was killed in the Vietnam war, and whose other sons are now estranged, with the marriage suffering; Howie, a hippie gypsy and former Peace Corps volunteer who keeps a load of pot in his Deadhead VW van; Jack, a draftee at an air force base in North Dakota who's not especially eager to go to Vietnam; Edna (named for Edna Packard, who played the original role as Ethel), an older widow who invites Walt to her house in the middle of nowhere to reminisce on her life; Marian, Georgia and Debbie, three lesbians on a camping trip; and Sylvester, a bat-swinging hitcher who's headed "towards his destination." The play ends with Matt leaving, Walter still leery and the cast singing Isn't It Exciting!
The cast for Hitchin' includes Jordan Okoniewski, Sandi Hilton, Bob Goldberg, Stephen Shannon, Sara Drage, Destiny Lish, Lenny Noller, ChrisLynn Taylor, Eddie Knick, Luke Hanflin, Lori Honl, Stephanie Rowe, Bree Heavenrich, Amy Coughlin, Jonathan Osborne, Dave Bergquist, Daric Moore, and Emily Honl.
Staging and honing the Hitchin' revival are Jayne Osborn (director), Allison Wilski (music director), Marco Davis (choreographer), Bob Goldberg (production manager), Ned Heavenrich (assistant production manager), Amy Coughlin (stage manager), Carol Newman (house manager), Josef Gault (sound and lighting manager), Craig Shepherd (set design), John Fenton (set construction manager) and Lenna Smith (costumer).
The Partners for the PAC production of Hitchin' is made possible by a generous grant from the Clatsop County Cultural Coalition and the Oregon Cultural Trust. The PAC Partners are working to raise operating funds to keep the PAC open in 2013 for the community and a consortium of non-profit user groups.
Partners for the PAC includes North Coast Symphonic Band, North Coast Chorale, North Oregon Symphony, Astoria Music Festival, North Coast Big Band, Little Ballet Theatre, Clatsop Community College Foundation, Kim Angelis & Josef Gault, and Dave Drury Guitar Studio.
Clatsop Community College Performing Arts Center (View)
588 16th Street
Astoria, OR 97103
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