Theatre at Barton Presents “Violet”

WILSON, N.C. – The hauntingly beautiful musical, “Violet,” based upon “The Ugliest Pilgrim,” short story by N.C. native Doris Betts, with music by Jeanine Tesori and libretto by Brian Crawley, will open on the Barton stage Thursday, March 12, at 8 p.m. in Howard Chapel.

“We join Violet, a young woman from the mountains of North Carolina, on her journey of self-discovery and personal redemption,” shared Adam Twiss, assistant professor of theatre and director of Theatre at Barton.  “The people she meets, from the soldiers on their way to Vietnam, to the television evangelist she seeks out to heal her of a disfiguring scar, weave a colorful and vital tapestry of life, fulfilled destiny, progress and, ultimately, peace.”

The production, which runs through March 15 in Howard Chapel, has evening 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 is $8 and student admission is $5.  To reserve tickets in advance, please call Carol Sabella at 252-399-6483.

The “Violet” company, directed by Twiss, includes native N.C. actors Melvin Tunstall III and Nina Gunnel, courtesy of K.D. Kennedy and family.  And, Raleigh lighting and scenic designer Chris Bernier returns for Barton’s spring production. Local and student talent include: Jonathan Butler, Joe Jones, Jane Kolunie, Rodney Lippard, Jeremy Lowe, Wesley Pridgen, Krysti Reuter, Rose Stenbuck, and Hollie Woodruff.  The choir includes Joe Amara, Janeka Battle, Matt Bissette, Rhea Booth, Miranda Carter, Charlie Healy, TJ Hinnant, Bethany Horner, Emily Jamieson, Natalie Mattox, Sam Pounds, Krysti Reuter, Chris Rugerro, Nathanael Shelton, Jennifer Stancil, Whitley Stanley, and Lisa Ward. Musicians are Ted Brna, bass; and Daniel Peterson, keyboard; Chris Ruggero, guitar; and Brindin Taylor, percussion.

The musical director is Mark Peterson and the choreographer is Trish Bradshaw. Stage manager for the production is Christopher Wallen, accompanied by assistant stage manager Alisha Rhinesmith.  Assistant director is Whitley Stanley, sound is by Phil Valera, sound and lighting technicians are Matt Smith and James Duncan, and costumes are by Tammie Knoll.

“I am especially proud of the many individuals who have contributed to this production, including students, faculty, and visiting artists from varying disciplines,” added Twiss.  “They love the story, they love the music but, in many ways, they simply want to be part of a very special event. As we move closer to completion of the Lauren Kennedy and Alan Campbell Theatre, we find ourselves in the position of bidding a fond farewell to Howard Chapel, the borrowed home of Barton Theatre for several generations.

“I cannot think of a more poignant, joyful and fitting show to present as our final mainstage Chapel production,” Twiss concluded.  “I hope you will join us to say goodbye… and we can all look forward to the grand opening of our new theatre in September!”

For additional information about the Barton theatre program, please contact Adam Twiss at 252-399-6484 or email:


Questions?  Please contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations, at 252-399-6529 or email: