Heritage Theatre Festival Exits With a Bang With Season-Ending 'Red, White and Tuna'

July 21, 2009 – Heritage Theatre Festival will close its summer season with the irreverent comedy "Red, White and Tuna."

The latest installment in Joe Sears and Jaston Williams' internationally acclaimed "Tuna" series, set in the tiny Texas town of Tuna, "Red, White and Tuna" relies on two actors to bring to life an entire town of characters (23 in all), in a joke-a-minute evening.

Directed by Heritage producing director Robert Chapel, "Red, White and Tuna" opened Tuesday in the Helms Theatre. The show will continue through Saturday and return from July 27-31 and on Aug. 1 and Aug. 4-8. A post-show talk-back with cast members will be held on Aug. 4.

A lot has happened since Heritage audiences first met the twisted townspeople in the show "Greater Tuna" back in the late 1980s. Yet some things never change, and Tuna is one of them. This time around the citizens are atwitter about the upcoming high school reunion, not to mention the modest 4th of July festivities.

In "Red, White and Tuna," actors Evan Bridenstein and John Paul Scheidler leap from persona to persona, bringing to life a vast array of characters including trigger-happy Didi Snavely, would-be reunion queen rivals Pearl Burrus and Vera Carp and many more.

The show's rapid-fire humor has one defining characteristic: It spares no one.

"The show is totally irreverent, and it makes fun of everyone in our society without playing favorites and in a way that is not at all mean-spirited," Chapel said.

Chapel is closing the season he began with the acclaimed production of "Oliver!," which featured a cast of 44, and for him, the productions could not be more different.

"It has been so much fun to work with two very fine actors in a tremendously collaborative environment," he said. "Both came in having really done their homework. I've come up with a lot of ideas and they have come up with just as many themselves and included them in the context of the show. These two shows have been completely different directing experiences for me and I've loved them both this summer."

Meanwhile, on the Culbreth Theatre stage, "Little Shop of Horrors" continues through Aug. 8.

For ticket and schedule information or to order tickets, visit www.uvahtf.org or call the box office at 434-924-3376.