Arts/Entertainment

Quality Hill Playhouse Closes Its Season with a Hit

Quality Hill Playhouse brings popular songs from the ’60s and ’70s back to center stage with its latest revue. 

Quality Hill Playhouse’s “The Dawning of Aquarius” delves into the music of the ’60s and ’70s in its last revue of the season. Extended by popular demand, performances now run through Aug. 14th.

The show takes audiences through the evolution of American popular song over the two decades, beginning with the romanticism of the early ’60s as heard in The Beatles’ “Yesterday” and Connie Francis’ “Where the Boys Are.” Later political turmoil is reflected in Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and Aretha Franklin’s anthemic “Respect,” and the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival and Elton John mark the beginning of the rock era.

Photo by Larry Levenson

Although combining twenty years worth of music into a single production is a tall order, Quality Hill Playhouse pulls it off with aplomb. The intimate 153-seat theatre ensures everyone feels at the center of the excitement, and the vocalists exude warmth and charm as they take on solos and come together for group numbers.

J. Kent Barnhart, the Playhouse’s producing artistic director who conceived and directs the production, pulls double duty as the show’s pianist and emcee, offering cultural insight into songs and infusing “The Dawning of Aquarius” with his considerable wit and charm.

Most of the nearly 30 songs included will be familiar, but a few lesser-known gems are also spotlighted. And whether the songs are favorites or being heard for the first time in years, audience members appear delighted by the revue, which clocks in at around two hours with an intermission (and has been selling out, necessitating the extended run).

Though the show closes the 2015-2016 season, Quality Hill Playhouse gears back up with a new batch of musicals and cabaret revues Sept. 30, beginning with “Barry, Bette and Broadway,” featuring classics from the ’70s and ’80s.

Tickets start at $36 with discounts available for students, seniors and groups. To purchase tickets, call 816-421-1700 or visit www.qualityhillplayhouse.com/.