West Virginia Public Theatre hosts the world premiere of Storming Heaven: The Musical.

Carrie Bishop is a coal mine nurse in early 20th century Appalachia, the time of the West Virginia Mine Wars. She’s in the middle of a love triangle between herself, her husband—the mine preacher—and a union organizer, and she struggles to find empowerment as a woman in a time when women were told how to behave. Storming Heaven: The Musical centers around Bishop, the coal miners’ fight for basic human rights, and the Battle of Blair Mountain.

Storming Heaven: The Musical is based on West Virginia writer Denise Giardina’s 1987 novel, Storming Heaven, and has been adapted for theater by Katy Blake and Peter Davenport. West Virginia Public Theatre will stage the show’s world premiere at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, in the WVU Creative Arts Center.

The action and drama in this production are heightened with Appalachian mountain–style music, with some influence from Broadway. The songs were created by the award-winning country musician Tracy Lawrence and songwriter and producer Flip Anderson in cooperation with the playwrights. Davenport and Blake worked with book author Giardina to portray this story as authentically as possible.

The musical will run June 6–16, and tickets are available on the West Virginia Public Theatre website.

The final performance, on Sunday, June 16, will be followed by a post-show discussion and presentation by Giardina. All are welcome to attend the discussion at no charge; however, those who are interested are encouraged to attend that showing and to stay at the end of the show.

The West Virginia Public Theatre next production is The 39 Steps, June 26–30, and it will be the theater company’s final show for this summer season.

Photo courtesy of West Virginia Public Theatre.

Jenny Corona
Written by Jenny Corona
New South Media summer 2019 intern Jenny Corona was raised in both Wheeling, West Virginia, and New York City. She is studying interactive design for media at West Virginia University and is interested in all kinds of art, media production, and creative writing. She practices photography, music, and illustration in her spare time and dreams of one day traveling the world. She has her own apartment with her pet parakeet, Banana.