WILSON, N.C. – Imagine three sisters who, while connected by bloodline, have no similar interests or aspirations. Now, add the many trials and tribulations that come along with a dysfunctional family dynamic. The result will be the hilarious dark comedy, “Crimes of the Heart” by Beth Henley, opening on the Barton stage April 17. The production, which runs through April 20 in Howard Chapel, has nightly shows Thursday – Saturday at 8 p.m. and a matinee at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. respectively. Tickets will be sold at the door -adult admission $8 and student admission $5.

“Crimes of the Heart” tells the story of the three Magrath sisters of Hazlehurst, Miss., who are waiting for news about their dying grandfather. While the family patriarch is approaching the final hours of life at the nearby hospital, the audience gains an insider’s perspective about the past lives of his granddaughters, each with distinctive personalities and idiosyncrasies. Babe is the youngest of the three sisters and is out on bail after shooting her husband in the stomach. Meg, older than Babe, has no love left for her hometown, but she is back home after a failed effort to break into the music industry. That leaves the oldest sister, Lenny, who is thirty, single, and facing middle age without a marriage prospect in sight. By the end of the play, the audience is rooting for the sisters, who eventually break the shackles of their past to embrace what lies ahead. In scenes that are both heart-rending and hilarious, these characters will charm the audience and leave a lasting impression.

“The New York Times” review of “Crimes of the Heart” concluded, “While the play overflows with infectious high spirits, it is also, unmistakably, the tale of a very troubled family. Such is Miss Henley’s prodigious talent that she can serve us pain as though it were a piece of cake.”

Wagner is equally excited about the local production on campus. “The play is being directed by Jessica Sharp in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Senior Seminar in Theatre,” said Wagner. “She is a very intuitive, wonderful student, and I am very proud of her. ‘Crimes of the Heart’ is a quirky southern comedy about three sisters, whose interactions are touching, poignant, and very funny.

The cast includes theatre veterans Zack Brown, Will Peck, Krysti Reuter, and Rose Stenbuck. New to the Barton stage are Brittany Creamer and Jennifer Sparks.

The production staff includes student director Jessica Sharp working with Bob Wagner, director of Theatre at Barton. Stage managers are Whitley Stanley and Elizabeth Stafford. Tiffany Pawlak is the house manager. Beth Scott is handling lighting design while Jonathan Butler is the props master and DJ Parris is the shop foreman.

For additional information or to purchase group tickets, please contact Bob Wagner at 252-399-6484 or email: bwagner@barton.edu.

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Questions? Contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations, at 252-399-6529 or email: kdaughety@barton.edu.

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