Now that the dust has settled from Antigone (literally: we struck the set this past weekend,) the MET company propels itself into another original production: “The All-New Grand Ole Hee Haw Hootenanny Jamboree!” a comedic satire influenced by the 1970s TV show Hee Haw with a signature MET twist to help bring out “the Fredneck in all of us.”

This rehearsal process has been a huge collaboration between both actors and musicians to create a show that’s guaranteed to be new, exciting, and hilarious every single night.  The cast gathers together for several hours and to brainstorm ideas for sketches and characters that fit the theme of the show.  Co-director Tad Janes* breaks the cast off into groups of two or three to take some time on their own to play with the ideas discussed and essentially “pitch” a sketch to the group.  Along with original sketches, which will potentially change night-by-night, the show features musical numbers as well.  Silent Old Mountains is the Frederick-based band giving these original songs their folksy, string-pluckin’ backbone.  I took the opportunity to drop in at rehearsal last week to snap some shots of the cast collaborating:

(L to R) Reiner Prochaska*, Mak Nichols*, and Allison Lepelletier* share a laugh as Joann Lee* pitches her idea for the “Largest Cucumber Contest” sketch.

(L to R) Joe Jalette, Thom Huenger*, and Samuel Whalen try out their “Sheet Cake of Death” sketch for the cast.

Co-director Tad Janes* listens while stage manager Devin Gaither* takes notes as Ashley Hall* pitches her “Auntie Gone” sketch idea.

The All-New Grand Ole Hee Haw Hootenanny Hoe Down Jamboree opens Thursday, 5/10 and runs Thursdays – Saturdays at 8pm, and Sunday 5/13 & 6/3 @ 7pm and 5/20 & 5/27 @ 2pm before closing on June 3rd. Thursday, 5/10 is our $5 Preview night, all tickets are $5 – no reservations/cash only at the door an hour before the show, so c’mon down, y’all!

* – indicates MET company member

Maryland Ensemble Theatre