Roll on down the BIG RIVER with Carnegie’s newest production

The Carnegie Visual & Performing Arts Center will honor and celebrate one of America’s most beloved authors with its season opener of BIG RIVER | The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain may have infamously described Cincinnati as 20 years behind the times, but the Carnegie is both timely and appropriate with its revival of the 1983 musical adaptation of Twain’s most famous novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

A quick review of high school English reminds us that Huck Finn tells the tale of an irrepressible young boy living the dream on the riverboats of the mighty Mississippi River, helping his slave friend Jim escape to freedom, and having quite the adventure along the way.

The musical version, scored by legendary country music writer Roger Miller, stays true to the original story, and the Carnegie’s cast showcases some of Cincinnati’s brightest young talent. There are 11 actors under the age of 22 in this show, and the young man playing the title role is recent Sycamore High School grad and incoming Wright State University freshman Zack Steele, recognized as the “Outstanding Supporting Actor” at the 2009-10 Cappies Awards (honoring local high school theatre) and winner of the city-wide Overture Awards scholarship for college-bound musical theatre students.

Local actor Bill Harnett plays Mark Twain, reprising this character from his run on the Showboat Majestic in “Mark Twain Tonight!” The cast and crew are directed by sensational duo Dee Ann Bryll and Ed Cohen, who have won many awards regionally for their talent and directing skills.

“We feel privileged to be working at The Carnegie with BIG RIVER and a super cast that combines some of the area’s best local talent with six of CCM’s students. To us, BIG RIVER is the quintessential American summertime musical, and we’re excited to bring this unique version of Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” to The Carnegie’s audience,” the team said.

During the season there will be performances that are accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing through closed captioning and interpretation services offered by the theater free of charge. This is made possible through a collaboration between The Carnegie and the Sign Language Interpreting & Deaf Studies programs at the University of Cincinnati. Captioning has been offered for major theatrical performances at The Carnegie since 2006 thanks to the support of volunteers.

The interpretative performances of BIG RIVER will take place on Saturday, August 21 and August 28.

BIG RIVER opens this Friday, August 21 and runs weekends (Friday Saturday and Sunday) through September 4th. Friday and Saturday evening performances will take place at 7:30pm, and Sunday matinees will start at 3:00pm. Tickets cost $26 for adults; $23 for Carnegie members, Enjoy the Arts members, or WVXU Perks Card members; $21 for groups of 10 or more; and $19 for students. Those looking to take part in a particularly interesting social outing can take part in the tweetup scheduled for the performance on Friday, August 20.

The Carnegie Visual & Performing Arts Center is located at 1028 Scott Boulevard in Covington, Kentucky. Tickets can be purchased online, or by calling the center’s box office at (859) 491-2030.

“All of us contain music and truth, but most of us can’t get it out” – Mark Twain

  • If you join us for the tweetup on August 20th, don’t forget to mention “big river tweetup” to get your tickets for $19.