Celebrating the American Musical at Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre

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Celebrating the American Musical at Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre
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Surprising Sophistication

Go Blue Ridge Travel celebrates the surprising sophistication of the arts, music and theatre in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Kicking off the summer will be the Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre opening June 11th in Winchester, Virginia. 

Founded in 1984, Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre (SSMT) is a professional non-equity company under the artistic direction of Tom Albert. Founding Artistic Director, Harold Herman officially retired this spring.  Albert has been with SSMT since its inception in 1984, serving as musical director for over 65 productions.  

“The theatre was established to give Shenandoah theatre students an opportunity to experience professional theatre before going out to start their own careers in that field. Here, they have the opportunity to work with professionals who have already established their careers. It was also established in an effort to provide affordable, professional theatre for families in and around our community.” says Elizabeth Albert, Associate Managing Director.


Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre produces four Broadway musicals each summer in the beautiful 630-seat Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre on the campus of Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA. Eleven performances are given of each musical over a two-week period drawing audiences from a 150-mile radius with groups traveling in from as far away as Ohio and North Carolina.

“The Directors chosen for the SSMT are a good mix of Shenandoah Conservatory faculty, alumni, and one from outside the university entirely, which makes for a great experience for the company.  They get to work with different people who have different styles, and who may or may not know their work outside of SSMT, giving them a true professional experience.” said Albert.  

Opening June 11th, the season will showcase four musicals:

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum 

Jonathan Flom, director 

Thomas Albert, musical director 

Edward Carignan, choreographer

The Addams Family 

Carolyn Coulson, director 

Karen Keating, musical director 

Edward Carignan, choreographer 

The Wiz 

Edward Carignan, director/choreographer 

Matthew J. Pool, musical director 

The Music Man 

Robin Higginbotham, director 

Robyn Schroth, choreographer 

Karen Keating, musical director.

“SSMT has made a number of changes this year to be more audience and family friendly, said Albert. “We are adding more matinees since evening performances begin at 8 pm. Ticket pricing was revised to be simpler and to allow more families to attend.  The youth pricing in particular was purposefully as inexpensive as we could get and the age range was expanded to allow for more teens to take advantage. The arts should be an experience for all ages.”

“The musicals this year begin with “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” which has a dry sense of humor to “The Wiz” which is a non-traditional rock and gospel approach to The Wizard of Oz. For a farce experience, join “Charles Addams kooky, spooky cartoon family in The Addams Family”. Of course, “The Music Man” is a classic,” added Albert.


“Although music has been a part of theater since ancient times, the musical theater we know and love today was born in the United States. America can lay claim to being the nursery of a unique form that used song and dance as a means of furthering the action of the text or revealing information about a character, ” quoted from Sheri Leblanc Musings 

Book your tickets today – Single tickets: Adult $30, Senior (63 and over) $25, Youth (16 and under) $15.

Go Blue Ridge Travel’s new website has created a new travel experience category called “Surprising Sophistication”. “The level of professionalism in music, dance, and theatre as well as the visual arts is one of the most misunderstood experiences here in the valley,” said Nancy Craun, founder and owner. “Because this part of Virginia and West Virginia offers an affordable lifestyle to both singles, newly-weds, families, and retirees, we have top talent deciding to move here. Between our universities and our private non-profit art organizations, the valley can easily compete with the metropolitan areas within the hustle, cost, and stress.

Reach out to your backyard and plan to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley this summer. Visit Go Blue Ridge Travel and use their itinerary planner to plan your summer fun in the Virginia Mountains.