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Five Faves – Barn Theatre

Best things about The Barn Theatre

The Barn Theatre has been a unique summer staple of Southwest Michigan for 77 years. The summer stock theatre has produced more than 600 plays and musicals in its time, featuring young apprentice actors (affectionately called Barnies) who learn the craft of theater production alongside accomplished professionals who belong to the Actors Equity Association and guest artists, including some who have worked on Tony Award-winning Broadway or Emmy Award-winning television shows.

But there’s more to take in at the Barn Theatre than just our Broadway-caliber shows. Here are some of our favorite offerings:

Back 40 Pizza

Dinner and a show? Yes, please. And since October 2021, patrons have been able to get both at the Barn. Our Back 40 Pizza offers handcrafted pies, crisp salads and snacks that are available before and after a performance. Whether it’s our gyro (gyro slices, spinach, feta cheese, olives, tomato, topped with diced cucumbers and tzatziki sauce) or the Kickin’ Chicken Pizzas (with barbecue sauce, chicken and red onions and drizzled with our house-made white barbecue sauce), you’ll find something delicious to try. We also offer a vegetarian, gluten-free pizza with a cauliflower crust.

Charming Countryside

The Barn’s 80-acre location between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo offers the perfect retreat from city life. Breathe in nature’s beauty while strolling through our bucolic grounds, the centerpiece of which is the theater itself, a former dairy barn that was designated as a Michigan Historic Site in 1985.

Bar Shows

After the mainstage shows each night at the Barn, the party continues in the Rehearsal Shed with the Bar Show. The young and talented apprentice company provides great music and performances, and you might even be treated to an appearance by a Barn special guest star. It’s a great way meet the shows’ casts up close and see future stars in action. Reservations are suggested, and they fill up fast.

Wall of Fame

It’s no secret that many Barnies that “trod the boards” at our theater have gone on to be very successful, and we are proud to show them off. The Barn’s Wall of Fame, erected in 2019, honors our famous Barnies, including Tom Wopat of The Dukes of Hazzard, Lauren Graham of The Gilmore Girls, Golden Globe winner Jennifer Garner, Robert Newman of TV’s Guiding Light, and Lance Barber, who is currently starring in his sixth season on NBC’s Young Sheldon, and many more.

Miss Penelope’s Saloon

No need to guzzle that beverage before a show or during intermission — you can now take your Barn libations into the theater to enjoy during a performance. Miss Penelope’s Saloon, which opened in June 2021, is located along the back of the theater and offers cold water, beer, wine and cocktails. This unique saloon is chock-full of Barn memorabilia, including our secret-reveal black-light portraits from the comedy Whistle Pig’s Revenge.

Brendan and Penelope Ragotzy

Brendan and Penelope Ragotzy are the second generation of the Ragotzy family to run the Barn Theatre, overseeing all operations of the venue and the theater training school. Brendan, son of founders Jack and Betty Ragotzy, is the theater’s artistic producer and director, and Penelope is dean of the Barn Theatre School, the theater’s publicist and an Equity performer. In their spare time, they are parents to four children: Luke, Calli, Jacob and Melina.

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