Theater group to reside at Greenbo

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 5, 2008

A new local theater group is taking advantage of the Greenbo Lake State Resort Park’s amphitheater.

The Red Lion Theatre Company is presenting two plays, “The Whole Town’s Talking” and “Bye Bye Birdie.”

Kory Helmick, the executive artist in residence for the Red Lion Theatre Company, said the group grew out of local theater performers who met at Ashland Community and Technical College theater productions. He said two or three years ago, there was a group of people who wanted to do community theater but there was no place for it.

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“As luck would have it, Greenbo was looking for someone to occupy their amphitheater and attract more people to the park,” he said. “So we forged a partnership. So we will be there for every summer as long as they want us.”

“The Whole Town’s Talking” will be June 26, 27, 28, and 29 at 8 p.m. and “Bye-Bye Birdy” will be July 10, 11, 12, and 13 at 8 p.m.

“The Whole Town’s Talking” is comedy of errors set in the glamorous 1920s. Mr. Simmons dislikes his daughter’s boyfriend and tries to set her up with his rather dull business partner. To make the man seem worldly, Simmons fabricates mementos of torrid love affairs including letters and postcards.

One of the romantic postcards is seemingly from movie star Lettie Lythe, who will be appearing in town to promote her latest film and is none too thrilled about the rumors running through the town.

The two businessmen try to straighten things out before it all goes horribly wrong and they are exposed as frauds. The play has two acts and is a full-scale musical.

“Bye Bye Birdie” tells the story of a rock and roll singer, Conrad Birdie, who’s been drafted into the army who is taking part in one final, national publicity spectacle before his induction.

Conrad will bid a typical American teen-age girl goodbye with an all-American kiss on national television.

Kim MacAfee from Sweet Apple, Ohio wins the honor. The arrival of Birdie in Sweet Apple causes people of all ages to swoon.

Helmick said that group chose the musicals to start off but will go also into non-musical plays.

“There are a lot of funny, straight plays out there,” he said. “It’s not boring stuff you just have to sit there and labor through.”

Cary Lyle, the resort park’s manager, said the amphitheater was built for events like these productions by a new theater group.

“I think it is absolutely a dream come true,” he said.

He said the park is one of only two in the nation to have its own University of Kentucky extension agents who deal with nothing but cultural events. And Greenup County recently formed a Growing with the Arts Advisory Council to find and develop programs at the park.

He said a meeting with the Red Lion Theatre Company led to the group setting up a residency at the park.

“This is exactly what Greenbo State Lake Resort Park was looking for,” Lyle said. “It is going to be a great partnership.”

He said the best thing is that the Red Lion casts locally and they are keeping prices low so everyone in the Tri-State can see the productions.

“It’s going to be great family entertainment,” he said.

Helmick said the group is thinking about a performance of Shakespeare’s Macbeth for the Halloween holiday during the park’s Haunted Trail. And when spring comes, maybe a performance of ‘The Who’s Tommy.”

General admission is $5. For seniors, students and groups of 10 or more, it is $3.

For more information, call 1-800-325-0083 or (606) 473?7324 or go to