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Conversations with creators and organizers of the arts scene in West Michigan, hosted by Cara Lieurance

Barn Theatre opens season with a tall tale of rural romance

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Barn Theatre School
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The musical opens the 2022 Barn Theatre season

A fresh cohort of talented apprentices, equity performers, and new and returning lighting, design, choreography and costuming professionals are back for the summer season of the Barn Theatre, which opens its 76th season with Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. A stage adaptation of the 1954 Hollywood musical, it's the story of seven uncivilized brothers and seven well-raised young women and how they form life partnerships in strife, comedy and romance.

Director Patrick Hunter tells Cara Lieurance that he wanted the show to be framed as an exaggerated tall tale, à la Paul Bunyan or Pecos Bill. He and lead actor Eric Morris have a friendship that goes back to their college days, and it makes their working relationship an easy and rewarding one. Each has acted for or directed the other in different shows. In Seven Brides, Morris plays Adam, the oldest and first brother to "go a-courtin'." His character's decision not to reveal to his sweetheart Millie that he still lives with six boisterous brothers comes back to haunt him, says Morris.

More behind-the-scenes conversation includes questions about memorizing back-to-back shows, how the Backstage Xperience program gives kids a crash course in show biz, and the famous Barnyard Dance sequence originally choreographed by Michael Kidd in the film. Hunter and Morris also pick out songs like "Wonderful, Wonderful Day" to listen to during the interview.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers opens Tuesday, June 28 and runs through July 10 at the Barn Theatre.

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