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Celebrate American History as ‘Horn in the West’ Opens for the Summer This Weekend

Horn in the West

By Jessica Isaacs

The nation’s oldest Revolutionary War drama opens this weekend for its 64th celebrated season in the High Country, offering special discounted rates for local residents for the first two performances of the summer.

Since its premiere in 1952, audiences have been enjoying Boone’s own “Horn in the West.” The show tells the tale of pioneer and explorer Daniel Boone, easily one of the nation’s most recognizable folk heroes, and the Revolutionary War in western North Carolina.

The drama returns for the season on Friday with more than 45 professional and university actors, singers, dancers, stage combatants, designers and technicians who bring the American Revolution to life. Both entertaining and educational, the annual performance series is a celebration of regional culture and American history made possible by the Southern Appalachian Historical Association.

Told in part by Boone, who alternates between character and narrator, the story chronicles the experience of British loyalist and physician Dr. Geoffrey Stuart, who has come to America for research and brought with him his wife, Martha, and son, Jack.

Unintentionally, the Stuarts become entangled in the conflicts leading up to the War for Independence when Jack fights against control of the Crown alongside a band of rowdy North Carolina colonists in the early 1770s. Forced to flee west with the rebels, who were overpowered by the forces of British Governor William Tryon, the Stuarts soon become a significant part of a secluded mountain settlement.

After narrowly avoiding conflict with the neighboring Cherokee Indians, Stuart is inevitably caught between his son and his country when the Overmountain Men and the Loyalists convene at the Battle of King’s Mountain, which marked a watershed in the Revolutionary War.

A new face from Mississippi, Christopher Miller, will play the coveted role of Daniel Boone this year.

Director Teresa Lee, now in her second year with the show, said the cast and crew have been working diligently to get ready for opening weekend.

“It’s hectic and it’s a labor of love, of course. It’s two fast and furious weeks from when the actors get here and the technicians arrive,” Lee said. “We work efficiently and very joyfully. We have had a great time getting everything ready for the 64th season and we are very excited — we’ve got some great actors this year and some wonderful singers, dancers and fighters for the battle scenes.”

Lee said guests can expect to recognize some “old gems” of the show, as well as some new things.

“It’s great for locals to come and celebrate their heritage,” Lee said. “It’s also special for people from off the mountain to come and hear the story of the people that settled the area — there’s something for everybody.”

Lee said she’s ready to see the audiences filling up the amphitheater to see the show.

“These are beautiful nights under the stars — it’s a gorgeous setting and you should come on out to the Daniel Boone Park if you’ve never been,” she said. “I’ve lived in Boone for 27 years and I still run into people who say they’ve never been to Horn in the West. If that’s the case, now would be a great time to come check it out.”

“Horn in the West” will run Tuesdays through Sundays until Aug. 8 at the Daniel Boone Amphitheatre, 591 Horn in the West Drive. Gates open at 7:30 p.m. for each 8 p.m. performance.

Watauga County residents can enjoy the show for just $10 each during opening weekend on Friday and Saturday nights.

Learn more about “Horn in the West” and buy tickets online or call 828-264-2120.