‘We’re still here!’


The cast of JWT’s production of “Shrek –The Musical” enjoys one final rehearsal before opening the show on Thursday, June 11, to a sold out house.

Mayor of Prestonsburg Les Stapleton, Jenny Wiley Theatre Executive Director Martin Childers, and Park Manager of Jenny Wiley State Resort Park Julian Slone all have one thing in common—they want the public to know Jenny Wiley Theatre is still open and active in Prestonsburg. The theatre has been entertaining and enriching the community for 50 years, and the amphitheatre location remains in Jenny Wiley State Resort Park in Prestonsburg, in addition to a more recently added location in Pikeville. This summer, Jenny Wiley Theatre is home to family-friendly entertainment in Prestonsburg including Shrek: The Musical (opening June 11), Little Shop of Horrors (opening July 2) and East Kentucky Dance Under the Stars on June 15-16.

“We’re still here,” says Childers. “We keep hearing from folks that say they didn’t know we were still open in the park. But we have not, nor do we intend, to ever leave the amphitheatre in Prestonsburg. We have two huge productions this summer. We hope to put this misinformation to rest once and for all and ask everyone to support the theatre by attending in both locations. We can’t imagine east Kentucky without Jenny Wiley Theatre and the best way to support us is to see a show and speak positively about our efforts.”

One important local figure is already ready to speak positively about Jenny Wiley Theatre: Les Stapleton, Mayor of Prestonsburg. “It [Jenny Wiley Theatre] gives us some additional entertainment here in town,” Stapleton explains, “And economically it brings people in to see the show, and it pays dividends to the city by bringing people in.” Stapleton adds that the theatre is a key building block of the local tourism industry, stating, “A lot of tourists come in to see the show at the theatre and once we get them into town we try to get them into other things like mountain biking, hiking, and downtown shopping. We try to build on it.”

Another person who is well placed to assess the impact of Jenny Wiley Theatre on local tourism is Julian Slone, Park Manager of Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, where the theatre is located. “Of course the tourism potential is huge. It’s a huge draw,” Slone says, referring to Jenny Wiley Theatre, adding, “The economic impact on the community is good. It brings people to the park; people eat in our dining rooms and stay in our lodge rooms. It provides another activity for our summer guests to enjoy while they’re here.”

Summer tourists and locals alike can enjoy upcoming events Shrek: The Musical and East Kentucky Dance Under the Stars. Shrek: The Musical opens June 11 and runs through August 11 at Jenny Wiley Theatre in Prestonsburg. Based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film, Shrek is a TONY Award-winning fairy tale adventure. This show has laughs for the whole family and brings to life all your favorite characters, including the wise-cracking donkey, the feisty princess, and of course, the grumpy but lovable green ogre Shrek.

Presented by Dance Etc., The Dance Gallery, UPike Dance Team and UPike School of Dance, East Kentucky Dance Under the Stars is showing June 15-16 at Jenny Wiley Theatre in Prestonsburg. This showcase of local and regional dance talent also tells funny story. When a family disagrees on where to go this summer, the father decides to try to please everyone and they head off on a four-destination vacation! This two-day event offers a fun “vacation” through dance for audiences.

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