Jun 7 – Aug 12
Barter Stage II
A Barter Audience Favorite
By Ross Carter
It’s l’amour, y’all! Country music meets opera in the most unlikely, unbelievable and undoubtedly the most popular play to ever come through Barter’s Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights. A struggling opera singer has a dream: to sing the lead in Carmen. Her agent thinks she’s found the answer! But she finds herself singing at a state fair with a country music band called the Car Men —agents clash, people panic, and the singers erupt at the worst of possible moments in one of the funniest musicals you will ever experience.
FUNNY LITTLE PEOPLE
If music be the food of love, play on!
— Duke Orsino, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
There’s a lot to love about this world premiere musical comedy: from the clever songs and writing, to the hilarious and brilliant conceit of bringing together the two seemingly disparate worlds of opera and country music, to the outright joy and silliness of watching people fall in and out of love.
But I think my favorite thing about Madame Buttermilk is that, although set in the present day, it feels like it comes from another time. It is a musical that hearkens back to the Golden Age of musical theatre where shows like Oklahoma, On the Town, and Show Boat celebrated America during a time when America needed something to celebrate (in the midst of World War II).
And at the heart of this gentle, fun musical comedy is a most optimistic message: that even though we may come from different worlds (opera lover or country music lover), we are more alike than we are different. We are not so easily and conveniently stereotyped, but in the end share a commonality—we’re all just a bunch of funny little people chasing our funny little dreams.
Shakespeare often used to set his love stories in a forest, because there’s magic in a forest—anything can happen. The same can be said of a state fair, which is where we find ourselves tonight. And I hope that as you get on this ride and ask yourself, “What is this? Is it country? Is it opera?,” that you’ll eventually throw your hands up and say, “Who cares??!! It’s l’amour, y’all!”
Cast & Credits
Carly Speranza: Hope Quinn
Kit McCandless: Paris Bradstreet
Connor Duke: Justin Tyler Lewis
Ford Fairlane: Rick McVey
Dody: Hannah Ingram
Beemer Wilson: Zacchaeus Kimbrell
Jan Swaggart: Katherine Lyle
Art Flannagan: Andrew Hampton Livingston
THE CAR MEN BAND
BG “Booger” Bugati (Vocals, Car Horn): Nick Koesters
Guitar: Travis Welch
Bass: Glenn Diamond
Fiddle: Nicole Misterly
Conductor/Keyboards: Dishon Smith
Rehearsal Stage Manager: Sara Douglas
Director: Nicholas Piper
Music Director: Dishon Smith
Set Designer: Derek Smith
Costume Designer: Ashley Campos
Lighting Designer: Camille Davis
Sound Designer: Tony Angelini
Wig & Makeup Designer: Whitney Kaibel
Stage Manager: Cindi A. Raebel
Assistant Stage Manager: Victoria L. Sutton
Joe & Donna LeVine
National Endowment of the Arts