Violet, the poignant, uplifting award-winning musical that took Broadway by storm, opens June 7 at TheatreSquared (477 W. Spring St., Fayetteville) and runs through July 2. Tickets, from $20-$54, can be purchased by calling (479) 777-7477 or by visiting theatre2.org.
Part of the secret to Violet’s success is its flawless pedigree. The music is by Jeanine Tesori, composer of the Broadway hits Fun Home, Caroline, or Change, and the current critical darling Kimberly Akimbo. Brian Crawley wrote the book based on a Southern gothic short story by Doris Betts, “The Ugliest Pilgrim.” Violet won the Lucille Lortel, Obie, and Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Musical and was a five-time Tony nominee.
It’s 1964. Violet, a young woman whose face is disfigured by a childhood scar, hops on a Greyhound bus traveling across Arkansas towards a miracle in Tulsa—the healing touch of a TV evangelist who will make her beautiful. Along the way, she befriends two GIs, and it turns into the journey of a lifetime.
Eddie Egan, Kelly Felthous, Ramone Nelson | Photo: Wesley Hitt
“Tesori has created music that lifts the spirit and engages your whole being,” says the New York Theatre World, while the NY Post writes that the play "bursts with life and energy, humor and tenderness. As for the score, it's simply one of the best of the past 20 years."
“What draws me to Violet is that it offers up a vision of humanity that centers around kindness and hope,” says director Aimée Hayes, who returns to T2 after directing Matilda: the Musical, Detroit (2016), and co-directing Shakespeare in Love. “These characters are complicated, yet they allow each other to be that. One of my favorite lyrics says, ‘If I tell you my heart has been opened wide/ If I tell you I'm frightened/ If I show you the darkness I hold inside will you bring me to light.’ The character of Violet holds a lot of resentment and distrust because of a disfiguring accident when she was a child. During the course of the play, she makes friends for the first time while pursuing her dream of being healed. She grows to understand we are each imperfect but that most people are trying to connect, hope, and be a part of the world the best they can.”
Joining Hayes on the creative team are Kim Powers, scenic designer; Asa Benally, costume designer; Minjoo Kim, lighting designer; Brendan Connelly, sound designer; Lisa Auten, music designer; Heidee Alsdorf, choreographer; Emely Zepeda, stage manager; Amber Holley and Harlie Gann-Egan, assistant stage managers; Anna Kathryn Darling, wig designer; and Kelsey Blotter, assistant costume designer.
The stellar cast includes Kelly Felthous as Violet; Ramone Nelson as Flick; Eddie Egan as Monty; Piper Wallace as Young Vi; Alex Campea as Father and Sara Sevigny, Thatcher Reckner, Reece Edwards, Vince Teninty, Claire Fossey, Kai White, Bryce Kemph, Alex Horn, Maranda Seawood, and Markell Cox in the ensemble.
“This is a quintessential TheatreSquared show,” said Executive Director Martin Miller. “Our audiences are going to absolutely love it. It’s so full of wonderful music, deep characters you care about, unexpected joy, and conflict—and much of it takes place here in Arkansas. I can’t think of a better way to close what’s already been a really exciting season.”
For Hayes, the show’s message has the potential to be life-changing—and for T2 audiences, she’s hoping it will be.
“The message in Violet is inspiring,” she notes. “Let's be our best selves. Let's reach out to each other. Let's let love lead the way. We can bring each other ‘to light.’”
Performances of Violet are scheduled from June 7 until July 2, with 7:30 pm performances Tuesday through Saturday and 2:00 pm matinees on Saturday and Sunday. The play is in the West Theatre at TheatreSquared, 477 W. Spring Street, in downtown Fayetteville, Arkansas. Tickets range from $20-$54. All fees are included, with no additional charges at checkout.
Subscription packages for TheatreSquared include full seven-play packages starting at $199, with four-play flex packages starting at $128. Benefits for season ticket holders include savings of up to 20% on every show, free unlimited exchanges, discounted reserved parking, and same-day discounts in The Commons Bar/Café and other T2 Restaurant & Hotel Partners.
Through T2’s Lights Up! For Access program, with lead support from the Walmart Foundation and the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, SNAP benefit recipients can purchase $1 tickets, while students and patrons under the age of 30 can purchase $10 tickets. Fully subsidized, free tickets are also available for clients of a number of local community service organizations. For more information, visit theatre2.org/lights-up.
Subscription packages and single tickets can be reserved by calling TheatreSquared at (479) 777-7477 or by visiting theatre2.org.
TheatreSquared’s signature offering of bold new plays in an intimate setting has driven its growth to become the state’s largest theatre, offering more than 350 performances annually in an intimate setting. Its pioneering work has been recognized with the 2022 Obie Award and critical acclaim from The New York Times (“Best Theater of 2020” list), The New Yorker, and The Wall Street Journal. The playwright-led company is one of mid-America’s leading laboratories for new work, having launched more than 70 new plays. Notable collaborators have included Candrice Jones, Bryna Turner, The Kilbanes, Sarah Gancher, José Cruz Gonzales, Mary Kathryn Nagle, Qui Nguyen, Mona Mansour, Amy Evans, and many others. TheatreSquared’s home—winner of the 2021 International Architecture Award—is a cultural landmark. Offering far-reaching access and education programs and an open-all-day gathering space, the Commons Bar/Café, TheatreSquared remains rooted in its founding vision, that “theatre—done well and with passion—can transform lives and communities.”
Major funding for the TheatreSquared Season 17 is provided by the Walton Family Foundation; the Walmart Foundation; the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation; the Windgate Foundation; the Shubert Foundation; the Tyson Family Foundation; the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage; the National Endowment for the Arts; Bob and Becky Alexander; Jane Hunt; Margaret and Dick Rutherford; the Francis Lee Scott Estate; Barbara Shadden; the John & Robyn Horn Foundation; Todd Simmons and Melissa Hall Simmons; and Simmons Foods.
Marketing support for TheatreSquared Season 17 is provided by Experience Fayetteville, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Fayetteville Flyer, 3W Magazine, CitiScapes, KUAF, 5NEWS, MailCo USA, and NWA Daily.