New Hazlett Theater welcomes Animal Farm production on eve of 70th anniversary


Photo courtesy of Prime Stage Theatre

By Aaron Dobler

Prime Stage Theatre is bringing its production of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” to the New Hazlett Theater in Allegheny Center. The show previews on Friday, March 6 before opening March 7 and running through March 15.

The production and its supporting events are a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the original publication of Orwell’s novella.

The March 7 performance will feature a “Bacon Night” reception immediately following the show where audience members can meet the cast and enjoy a full array of bacon-based snacks.

At the March 8 show, attendees will be able to support the Western Pa. Humane Society as adoptable dogs will be guests in the lobby prior to curtain.

Reworking classic literature for the stage falls squarely into Prime Stage’s mission of entertaining and educating audiences through live theater.

This stage production was adapted by Andrew Periale and was refitted for a live audience while staying true to the original message of Orwell’s novella. Appalachian musical selections will be used to transform the theater into Orwell’s allegorical farm.

“Viewers can expect to be entertained, but they’re going to walk out of the theater with a lot to think about,” director Melissa Hill Grande, said.

Orwell wrote “Animal Farm” to express his belief that absolute power corrupts absolutely and that violent revolution has the potential to only lead to a change in oppressors if the people are not vigilant.

In “Animal Farm,” the animals revolt against Farmer Brown, but find themselves under new rulers who are equally as severe; the pigs.

Grande adds: “Just as the animals who don’t get involved in the politics of their society (the farm) are beaten down by the end result, we as humans can find a lesson in this story.”

The production stars Chelsea Bartel as Clover, Ryan Borgo as Cat, Josh Brelsford as Benjamin, Stefan Lingenfelter as Napoleon, John Michnya as Boxer, Joseph David Rittenhouse as Moses, Bill Smolter as Snowball and Natalie Spanner as Mollie.

For specific show times and to buy tickets, visit

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