‘Stephen Foster Story’ begins 61st season in newly constructed amphitheater


After months of reconstructing the My Old Kentucky Home Amphitheater, the stage in Nelson County is ready to invite people back to see “The Stephen Foster Story” for the 61st year.

“New stage, new sound, same story,” Marketing Director Billy Bass said.

The 1959 facility was closed by the state in 2017 after an inspection raised concerns about electrical work in the new buildings on either side of the outdoor stage. They made some repairs in 2018 in order to still have the show, but in September 2018, they demolished the building.

“There were walls you could lean on and they would lean with you,” Bass said of the original building. “And that’s not a great space to be working in when you’ve got 40, 50 people on stage, and another 10 or 20 backstage making the show happen.”

Billy Bass
Billy Bass says the show is the same beloved story, but now better than ever. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

Saturday will be the first show performed in the newly renovated amphitheater to start off the 61st season of the show.

“It’s just so big and open, it just gives us so many more opportunities to work, rehearse, build, paint, all that good stuff,” Bass said while showing WAVE 3 News the new backstage area.

Improvements include a new stage, a new sound system and backstage area. Bass said even if people have seen the show before, thanks to the new sound system, he believes it will sound better than ever before.

“How many times can you go somewhere with your kids or your grandkids where you went as a child and you can come back and see the same thing you saw 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago?” Bass said.

Friday afternoon, crews were finishing up final touches on the sets ahead of Saturday’s performance.

“There’s still a lot of things going on,” Bass said. “This happens every year. There’s always some set pieces that need updating or that need fixed.”

While the set looks new, Bass said the story line will remain the same.

“We’re still telling that familiar story about Stephen Collins Foster who wrote songs like “Oh! Susanna,” “Camptown Races,” “Beautiful Dreamer,” and “My Old Kentucky Home,” that everybody in Kentucky knows,” Bass said.

“The Stephen Foster Story” will offer a new backstage tour for $5 per person at 7:10 p.m. every night there is a show. It will give guests a behind-the-scenes look of the set pieces and all of the cast members.

For more information about the show or to buy tickets, click or tap here.

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