Theatre at Barton Opens a New Season with “Crimes of the Heart”

WILSON, N.C. – Picture this: three sisters, who share nothing at all in common, reunited after a dreadful event. They struggle to cope with the frustrations and pitfalls that are ever so common in a dysfunctional family. This dark Southern comedy, “Crimes of the Heart” by renowned playwright Beth Henley, opens to the public on Thursday, Aug. 28, in Kennedy Family Theatre on the campus of Barton College. The two-night production continues Friday, Aug. 29, with both performances beginning at 7:30 p.m. An invitation-only preview of the performance will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 27.

At the heart of this contemporary classic are Meg, Babe, and Lenny MaGrath, three sisters from Hazlehurst, Miss., who live strikingly different lives. They are called home to be close to their family’s dying patriarch, and, together, they must contend with recent events that conspire to topple the already dysfunctional lives they lead. Past resentments bubble to the surface in connection to the cadre of intriguing characters and awkward situations they confront … all while coping with this latest incident that has disrupted their lives. While each sister is forced to atone for her own “crimes,” audience members will find themselves cheering for the women in scene after heartbreaking and hysterical scene.

“Crimes of the Heart” is a co-produced with “Theatre Raleigh/Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy” and is an encore presentation of the Raleigh theatre company’s stellar 10th season finale. Adam Twiss, director of Theatre at Barton, lauds the successes that such a partnership brings to Barton College and the Wilson community.

“Since opening our new theatre in 2009, Barton has had the great fortune of working closely with incredible Broadway and regional talent,” he says. “We have been able to mount world and regional premiere plays and musicals, as well as star-studded concerts right here in Wilson!”

The cast includes Maigan Kennedy, Jennifer Avery (Actors Equity Association), Dana Zihiman Harshaw (Actors Equity Association), Jesse Gephart, Sandi Sullivan, and Adam Poole. The show is directed by Jeffrey Meanza with scenic and lighting design by Chris Bernier and costume design by LeGrande Smith.

General admission is $12 for adults, $9 for seniors, military, and alumni, and $7 for non-Barton students. Tickets are free for Barton College students, faculty, and staff, and are available at the door (or in advance at with a valid Barton ID.

“Crimes of the Heart” is for mature audiences, due to adult subject matter and language.

For additional information, please contact Twiss at (252) 399-6484 or