Imagine between the mountains, surrounded by the greenery, under the moon’s light sits a place to gather, to sing, to experience art and entertainment. For 55 years, the Jenny Wiley Amphitheater has been just that-a space to rejoice and experience theatre and live music unlike anywhere else. Here is where talent and tradition meet. The nearly 750 seat venue has presented some of the country’s most popular musicals and bands and, this year, introduced a brand new music festival showcasing the top up-and-coming artists. In fact, entire vacations can be built around this one stop. Hike or bike one of the many adjoining trails at the Jenny Wiley State Park or Sugarcamp Mountain. Purchase an entertainment bundle for outdoor entertainment one night and an indoor performance at the Mountain Arts Center the next. Witness talent on a grand stage after dancing along with the best local talent at an intimate restaurant. See the stars like never before, then compare them to the technological gem that is the East KY Science Center and Planetarium. As the space is being reimagined, the possibilities are endless. If you’ve not experienced this type of outdoor entertainment, it’s time you know what you’re missing out on.
Here are six reasons you need to make visiting the Jenny Wiley Amphitheater one of your top summer adventures.
Music to Your Ears
Mountains are some of the most remarkable features of the earth. When the mountains like what they hear, they tend to repeat it back. We like to think it’s their way of applauding. Now, think of sitting across from a stage surrounded on all sides by the lush Appalachian mountains. What’s to follow is music to your ears! Experience acoustics like never before as performers allow Mother Nature to capture their voices and deliver them directly to your ears.
Meet a New Friend
Theatre and live music allows us to reconnect with friends, loved ones, and even celebrate with strangers. The unique thing about an outdoor venue like the Jenny Wiley Amphitheater is that you may meet a few more friends than you anticipated. Nestled inside of the Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, where wildlife is nurtured and protected, a few furry creators are known to roam. While here with your group for a special night out, don’t be surprised if you happen to pick up an extra member to the squad by making friends with a loving doe or curious mama duck.
Stars Have Never Shined So Bright
Music, dance, theatre, and the stars have never shown so bright in Prestonsburg. There’s something magical about watching top talent leave their hearts on the stage just before looking up to see the night’s moon peaking through the clouds. The acoustics are amazing. The talent is top-notch. But the natural features that can’t be authentically recreated is what most sets outdoor performance venues apart from the rest.
Breath of Fresh Air
Theatre is about slowing down, turning off your phone, experiencing life through another’s eyes, and putting away all distractions for two hours. Time in nature often encourages the same. When you find your seats at the Jenny Wiley Amphitheater, you’re invited to find rest, encouraged to smile, look up at the stars and say “wow”, and be completely present. In life’s quick moving pace, there’s is something magical about being outside while singing along to a favorite song. Maybe that song brings back a special memory, or maybe it creates a brand new one. The air is crisp and opportunities endless.
Go “Behind the Scenes”
Outdoor amphitheaters are often nestled in the pines, tucked away from any hustle and bustle of town.That’s the beauty of the Jenny Wiley Amphitheater. Only a few short miles away from the movement of downtown and just on the other side of the prominent 18-hole Stonecrest Golf Course sits a live venue space surrounded by our richest gift. At our core, the Appalachian mountains have engraved the culture of eastern KY. Our mountains have sculpted and preserved our music, storytelling, and beauty-all things that translate to truth and entertainment on the stage that sits between these mountains.
Anytime there’s a path cutout of the earth, chances are there’s a pretty cool story surrounding it. From Red Rocks Amphitheatre to the Jenny Wiley Amphitheater, on any scale there’s something special about an outdoor space that allows talent and nature to shine equally together. In fact, the Jenny Wiley Amphitheater has been doing just that for a pretty long time. After opening in 1964 with a performance of “South Pacific” by the Jenny Wiley Theatre Drama Association, the venue has continued to host consistent performances and concerts, making it one of the longest running outdoor amphitheaters in the country. It and the state park it’s nestled in, also, happen to be named after pioneer woman, Jenny Wiley. While here, make plans to not only catch a show, but to scavenger through the trails that she once traveled. “The Legend of Jenny Wiley” performed in the amphitheater and detailing her life’s story has become a favorite for audiences.
Still to come this summer season is Mary Poppins Jr. and Bloodsong: the Story of the Hatfields & McCoys in partnership with Artists Collaborative Theatre and The Hatfield & McCoy Art Council. For ticketing information, visit macarts.com or call 606.886.2623.