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‘Bells Are Ringing’ at Southern Virginia

June 10, 2015

I’m as much a fan of cordless phones and instant messaging as the next person — partially because I have a habit of tripping over cords in general, but also for the obvious convenience of the thing — but taking a step into the 1950’s and the world of answering phone services and phone booths in “Bells Are Ringing” wasn’t only refreshing but delightful.

Of course, there are a few mix-ups that could be prevented by the invention of instant messaging and cell phones, and by “a few” I mean all of them, but that’s part of the charm of the story. These characters have to get out of their scrapes without caller ID and Google, and they do so through hilarity, sincerity, and, well, a lot of singing.

“Bells Are Ringing” features some of the most quirky and fun musical numbers that I’ve heard at Southern Virginia and is so well suited to the talent that we have here. From the very first number, the adeptness and skill of the ensemble is apparent, and numbers like “Better Than A Dream” seal the deal: this is one great show.

And it’s not made any less by the quality of its secondary characters. The ensemble members have taken it upon themselves to create personalities for every one of their characters, and folk like Heidi Glauser’s Gwynne Smith and John-John Leake’s Carl contribute to the play’s charisma.

The talent onstage is complemented by the beauty of said stage. The set embraces the era and creates just the right ambiance for the quirky, unique show. The accordion-like pullout walls add a neat layer of dimension, and, to put it frankly, it’s just awesome. Go see it.

Needless to say, the hard work invested in this play in the past three and half weeks (yes, you read that correctly: three and a half) by the nearly 30 cast members, the crew, and all the other contributors seems to have been very much worthwhile.

If two sold-out performances are any indication, this is a play you won’t want to miss, so be sure to buy tickets for this week’s Thursday or Saturday performance (Friday’s already sold out), or both. That’s cool, too.

Tickets for “Bells Are Ringing” are $10 for the general public and $7 for Southern Virginia faculty, staff and students. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 540-261-8464, or at the door prior to each performance.

For more information, check out this news article.

(Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16. Photos by Leigh Stoddard.)

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