Theater Notes: Big Britches Productions forms in Bingen

BINGEN Theater was transformed for the early-summer production of “Chicago: The Musical,” will be home to the Gorge’s newest theater company, Big Britches.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
BINGEN Theater was transformed for the early-summer production of “Chicago: The Musical,” will be home to the Gorge’s newest theater company, Big Britches.

Bruce Ludwig and Julie Hatfield, fresh from Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association’s musical “Chicago,” in June, have struck out on their own to form a new theatrical production company called Big Britches Productions. Ludwig directed “Chicago,” and Hatfield was its producer and primary publicist. “Audience members kept asking what we were going to do next, and we realized we wanted to take a chance and attempt something ambitious,” said Ludwig. Hatfield added, “We knew full well that we may be too big for our britches, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”


SPOON River Anthology continues through this weekend at Stonehedge Gardens, a production of Plays for Non Profits. Jameson Cannon, right, Jason Carpenter and other cast members play multiple roles. Tickets at Waucoma Books and online at


A teenage cast presents “Macbeth” Friday, July 27 with two performances: 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Due to some violent language and subject matter, the play is recommended for children age 10 and over. Both performances are free.

Big Britches plans to bring three shows a year to Bingen Theater. “We want to produce entertaining crowd-pleasers, such as well-crafted comedies and satisfying dramas,” explained Ludwig. Their first show will be Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” (Female Version), which will open Feb. 8, 2019 for three weekends.

Auditions will be this September, with rehearsals beginning in mid-November. One striking element of Big Britches is its commitment to pay its production team, including performers and crew.

“We’ll be offering a small stipend, with an additional bonus for successful shows,” said Hatfield. “Our goal is for Big Britches to benefit our communities, our audiences and our artists.”

Currently the best way to contact Ludwig and Hatfield is through Big Britches Productions’ Facebook page.

Teen players perform ‘Macbeth’

Columbia Center for the Arts and CCA Children’s Theatre will present two free performances of Shakespeare’s tragedy “Macbeth” on Friday, July 27 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the CCA Theatre.

Directed by CCA’s Artistic Director Sullivan Mackintosh, the performance is the culmination of a 3-week summer teen theatre intensive. The young actors and stage crew chose “Macbeth” as their final project, and have delighted in the challenges of learning and performing Shakespeare’s Scottish play. Starring in the play are Avery, Audrey, Lara, Sofie, Hanna, Raven, Zora, Alex and Devon.

Asked how one stages “Macbeth” with a young troupe, Mackintosh said, “Carefully.

“It’s interesting because it is such a young group to do this play with and super focused, a lot of same students who were in the play last year. It is cut down in length, but there are a lot of tips and tricks to performing an abridged version. It’s all still Shakespeare’s language,” Mackintosh said.

“We are doing a lot of conceptual stuff with the violence, engaging the audience’s imagination to create the super-creepy factor in ‘Macbeth’,” she said.

Mackintosh has help from Zach Barbour with sound and lighting.

The performances are free and open to the public, and runs about one hour and 15 minutes. Due to some violent language and subject matter the play is recommended for children 10 and over.

‘God of Carnage’ dates

Dates have been set for Judie Hanel Presents’ next production, “God of Carnage,” Oct. 20, 21, 27, and 28 at 7:30 p.m. at RiverDaze Café.

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