By Tzar Wilkerson
The 68th Season of the Southern Appalachian Historical Association production of Kermit Hunter’s outdoor drama, “Horn in the West”, is set to begin this Friday. The production is the longest-running Revolutionary War outdoor drama in the country, and this year’s performances will make improvements on the tried-and-true formula of the show. While the drama’s musical numbers have traditionally been sung a cappella, the addition of instruments to this Summer’s performances puts a new twist on the songs.
Horn in the West brings to life the famous frontiersman Daniel Boone and the hardy mountain settlers of the Blue Ridge Mountains in their struggle to preserve their freedom during the years before and during the War for Independence. The drama highlights those settlers who came to the region seeking freedom and escape from British tyranny. Dr. Geoffrey Stuart, a prominent British physician, comes to the Colony of Carolina to study the dreaded disease smallpox, bringing his wife, Martha, and their teenage son, Jack. Through hardship and danger, house-raising and romance, the ties that bind the Stuart family and the small pioneer community grow. Dr. Stuart finds himself a respected leader in this hidden mountain community but has to resolve his conflicted feelings of loyalty to the Crown and his family’s sympathy for the Regulators and their fight for American independence.
Dr. Kermit Hunter (1910 – 2001) was an American playwright primarily known for writing historical dramas. He received an undergraduate degree from Ohio State University. In 1940 he began serving in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and being awarded the Legion of Merit. After leaving the military, Dr. Hunter, a talented musician who had attended Julliard School of Music, served as General Manager of North Carolina Symphony. He received both of his graduate degrees from the Department of Dramatic Arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After a year as a Guggenheim Fellow in writing, he served as a professor of drama at Hollins College and became the first Dean of the Meadows School of Arts at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Kermit Hunter wrote more than 40 historical productions.
The SAHA’s performances of “Horn in the West” at the Hickory Ridge Museum will run from June 21st to August 10th, Tuesdays through Sundays. The house gates open at 7:30 pm and the show begins at 8 pm. Tickets are available online, by phone (828-264-2120), or in person at the box office located at Daniel Boone Park. General admission is $20 for adults, $17 for students with ID, and $15 for children 12 and under. Premier and VIP options are also available (visit www.horninthewest.com for more information).