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Performing Art
Arts and Entertainment Friday, Dec. 11, 2015 5 years ago

Asolo Rep runs away to the circus in Hetty Feather

The popular 2014 London family-friendly, circus adventure will receive its American premiere in Sarasota in June.
by: Nick Reichert Arts & Entertainment Editor

The Asolo Repertory Theatre is going back to the big top with one of the most acclaimed and popular family shows to hit the London stage in recent years. 

"Hetty Feather," adapted by Emma Reeves from the popular children's book by Jacqueline Wilson, centers around the journey of a rambunctious, redheaded orphan named Hetty Feather as she runs away from the Foundling Hospital orphanage to search for her real family. Along the way she joins the circus and hits the hardscrabble streets of London. It's part Charles Dickens, part Orphan Annie, and part Cirque du Soleil. 

Running from June 3 through 26, this theatrical circus entertainment features a cast performing on silks, aerial routines and live music.  Enchanting audiences on London's West End theater district and touring across the United Kingdom since 2014, the Asolo Rep transfer will be the Olivier Award-nominee's American premiere. 

A 2015 Olivier Award-nominee for best family entertainment, "Hetty Feather" has captured audiences' imagination as it's played all across the United Kingdom for the last two years (Photo by Helen Murray).

"I have been producing theater in the West End and around the English provinces for 25 years and no other production of mine has ever had such fantastic reviews," says Kenny Wax, producer of "Hetty Feather." "We have now played two West End summer seasons, both hugely successful, and by the time we arrive in Sarasota, we will have toured to every major city in the United Kingdom. To have the opportunity now to bring our extraordinary show over to play at Asolo Rep is very special indeed, made even more exciting by Sarasota's historic association with the Ringling Brothers Circus. I don't think a story about a feisty little girl who wants to run away to join the circus could find a more suitable home in the U.S. in which to premiere."

All of the show's West End cast will appear in the Asolo Rep transfer including Phoebe Thomas as Hetty. The play will be a family-friendly contrast to a season that includes adult dramas and musicals such as "All The Way," "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," "Disgraced" and the world premiere of the Josephine Baker bio-musical, "Josephine."

The West End cast including Phoebe Thomas as Hetty Feather will transfer with the show at Asolo Rep and will run from June 3-26 (Photo by Helen Murray).

“It is very exciting to present the U.S. premiere of 'Hetty Feather,' a beloved U.K. theater sensation now completing a hugely successful run on London’s West End,” says Asolo Rep's producing artistic director Michael Donald Edwards. “We look forward to welcoming families and patrons of all ages to this coming-of-age story filled with music, circus magic, and a lot of heart.”

Tickets for "Hetty Feather" go on sale Friday, Dec. 11. The show's curtain times will be a little earlier than Asolo Rep's standard 2 and 8 p.m. showtimes with 2 and 7 p.m. shows on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. show times for Saturday and 1 and 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. In addition, Asolo Rep is offering a 15 percent discount for families of four. 

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