By Stephanie Greer
Summer is here and July 4th is around the corner. Once again musket fire and early American music will share the cool mountain evenings with the sound of crickets and cicadas as Horn in the West opens this Friday, June 25th. After the 2020 hiatus, Boone’s classic Revolutionary War outdoor drama is back for its 69th year.
With sword fights and fire dances, romance and humor, Cherokee warriors, redcoats and trailblazers, Horn in the West has been a North Carolina tradition since 1952. It quickly became a major attraction, depicting the rugged life in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the challenges faced by those who fled there to escape tyranny and conflict. The drama also features Daniel Boone, the legendary explorer, and the rough-hewn mountain community whose courage and sacrifice helped to turn the tide of the American War for Independence.
Watauga County residents are invited to take advantage of a special ticket price of $5.00 per person on the first two opening nights, Friday and Saturday June 25th and 26th.
“It is very special to be able to share the history of the place where you grew up,” says Boone native Shauna Godwin, who debuts as Artistic Director and choreographer. “People are eager to get out and see performances, so I anticipate this will be an energetic season.” Ms. Godwin is a graduate of NYC acting school, The Neighborhood Playhouse; she has degrees in Theatre Arts and Dance Studies from Appalachian State University, and serves on the faculty of the Theatre Arts Department at Lees-McRae College.
Many members of this year’s cast and crew also call the High Country home. One of these is Robin Austin, in the role of “Preacher Sims.” Robin has a very special connection to Horn: his father, Ned Austin, portrayed the show’s original Daniel Boone in the early 1950s. Other local participants include Music Director Billy Ralph Winkler; Chorus captain, Lindsay Scarborough; costume designer Jennifer Helms; cast member Jenny Cole as “Widow Howard;” Scott Loveless as “Daniel Boone;” and Chris Morrow as “Captain Mackenzie.” The cast also includes students from Appalachian State University and Lees-McRae College, making this a genuine community experience.
“The Horn brings culture, historical awareness, and safe, family friendly entertainment to the High Country. It brings history to life in a way that makes it tangible and real,” says Jesse Winkler Hall, daughter of Music Director Billy Ralph Winkler. “I can’t imagine Boone without Horn in the West.”
The show will run through August 7 every night except Mondays. Gates open at 7:30 and the two-hour production starts at 8 PM. Prior to the show, visitors may also purchase a self-guided tour of the Hickory Ridge History museum consisting of five 18th and 19th century cabins offering a glimpse of pioneer life. “Understanding a bit about how people were living at the time will enhance the experience of the show,” says Shauna Godwin.
The Horn in the West amphitheater and Hickory Ridge History Museum are located in the heart of Boone, NC, on Horn in the West Drive, which can be accessed from US-321. For more information or to order tickets, go to www.horninthewest.com or call the Horn office at 828-264-2120.