Flashback Theater Co. continues its popular SomerStage series this year, bringing the magic of live theater to the great outdoors — that is, the Joe Ford Amphitheater at Rocky Hollow Park in Somerset. Audiences will remember 2021’s duo of park performances — “The Dollmaker,” based on the beloved work by local product Harriet Simpson Arnow, and Christopher Fry’s dark comedy “The Lady’s Not For Burning.” 

This year, Flashback proudly presents The American Parade, the latest work by Somerset’s Steve Cleberg, recently retired drama program director at Somerset Community College. Cleberg’s works such as Radio Suspense Theatre and Tin Pan Alley Tavern have delighted local audiences for years, and this biting comedy about art and the people who create it will run July 21-31 at Rocky Hollow Park, with pay-what-you-can pricing.

“It’s kind of poking fun at theater people a little bit; it’s also breaking down some of the conventions of theater a little bit,” said Flashback’s Producing Artistic Director Sommer Schoch. “That’s kind of a nice piece for people who are not typical theater audiences. It allows them to develop their own understanding, and introduces them to the idea of going to see a show.”

The American Parade, written by Steve Cleberg, is an adaptation of Moliere’s The Misanthrope. In Moliere’s work, Alceste explains to Philinte that he hates mankind because there is so much hypocrisy, deceit, and false flattery in the world that he can’t find a man who will speak the truth openly. He asserts that all people should be completely frank and honest with one another. But when his lover, Célimène starts being open and honest, it’s more than he can take. The American Parade takes a similar approach as Allen, a painter, tells his actor friend, Phillip, that he wants people to be honest about how they feel about his war painting. Allen is not prepared for the onslaught of honest opinions of the New Yorkers he is surrounded by, including that of his love interest, Celine. 

Cleberg began work on this adaptation at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and has referenced a similar pandemic by setting his version of the play during 1918, at the height of the Spanish Flu. In addition to the pandemic, other influencing factors from the 1918 era are reflections of our own time: questions of censorship, female empowerment, and the balance of politics and artistic interpretation all play a role in the story. The mirrored events between the two time periods make this a relatable piece for audiences to enjoy.

Pairing with the SomerStage production is the return of a Junior Cast. FbTC’s junior cast program allows young actors to have an opportunity to observe and work with the adult cast on blocking, character work, and how the rehearsal process works in the professional theater world. The Junior Cast will have one performance to conclude the run of the show. 

The adult cast of characters includes: Keifer Adkins, Tyler Fish, Brian Herrmann, Bailey Patterson, Stephanie Phillippi, Martha Pratt, Alexia Van Noy, Tiffany Warren, Steven Wilhelm. Junior cast includes: Maddie Baxley, Taylor Blevins, Shelby Holmes, Ian Muse, Gunner Richardson, Sloan Smith, and Emma Wilson.

The American Parade  is directed by FbTC’s Producing Artistic Director, Sommer Schoch. Assisting Schoch is Thomas Alvey, who will be overseeing the Junior cast as Assistant Director. Schoch’s extensive directing credits on prior Flashback shows include: Rosies: The Women Who Riveted the Nation, And the Tide Shall Cover the Earth, and Pirates of Penzance. Schoch’s history shows a commitment to producing locally based and sourced work, with a flair for whimsy.  The comedic writing of The American Parade, sprinkled with dramatic moments, is sure to have audiences thinking about it long after the show’s curtain call. 

Dates and Times

Thursday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 31 at 6:00 p.m. (Junior Cast Performance)

Ticket Prices

Pay what you can, or choose a suggested ticket price:
$20 – Our tickets typically cost $20 to cover our regular production costs.
$15 – This is the typical price of a student ticket for a Flashback production.
$5 – A $5 donation is often suggested for Flashback improv events.

Tickets may be purchased online (www.flashbacktheater.co/events), in person at 400 East Mt. Vernon St, Somerset, KY 42501, Tuesday through Friday 11-5, or be reserved in advance by calling the box office at (888) 394-FbTC. Advance ticket sales end online 2 hours prior to showtime. We accept all major credit cards. Exchanges may be made at no cost up to 24 hours prior to the ticketed performance by calling the box office.

This event is an outdoor event and will be subject to weather. If a cancellation occurs due to weather, you can present your ticket for any following performance and it will be honored. Alternatively, you can request your ticket to be converted to a donation or refunded by calling the box office during regular box office hours.

FbTC is thankful for all sponsors and would like to recognize 2021-22 Season Spotlight  

Sponsors: ABA, LLC, The City of Somerset, M&W Printing, and Kentucky Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet and Footlight Sponsors: David Daring Rentals and SPEDA for their continued support of FbTC’s production of theater that speaks to the soul.  This production is brought to you in partnership with Title Sponsor: Midland Farms Fuel and Convenience Artist Sponsors: Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital Residency Programs, Somerset Community College, EHA CPAs, Joy & Mark Brenzel.