Account: | Cart: ( items)

In the Heat of the Night

Apr 7 – May 12
Gilliam Stage at Barter Theatre

Action packed, exciting story; a tight and timely thriller; perfect piece of theatre.”

Adapted by Matt Pelfrey based on John Ball’s Novel

Based on the award-winning book that inspired the Oscar-winning film and the Emmy-winning television series. It’s 1962. A hot August night lies heavy over the small town of Argo, Alabama. A dead white man is discovered. The local police arrest a black stranger named Virgil Tibbs, but discover their prime suspect is a homicide detective from California. As it happens, Tibbs becomes the racially tense community’s only hope in solving a brutal murder that is turning up no witnesses, no motives, and no clues.

Director's Notes

In the 1960’s racism prevailed throughout the country. The fear of change led to many violent acts in the name of heritage and tradition.

It is against this backdrop that In The Heat of the Night was born. We step into the shoes of Bill Gillespie and Virgil Tibbs and are taken on a journey that shakes each man to his core.

A murder is the catalyst that brings these two men together. Each man embodies the spirt of the time and must work through their own shortcomings and distrust to solve this heinous crime. Tibbs and Gillespie are locked in a struggle not only with the greater society but within their souls. As police officers they have a tremendous respect for the law. It is through this credo that their bond grows throughout the course of the play. It is a transformative work of art that through these characters we observe monumental change from distrust to mutual respect.

Like Tibbs and Gillespie, we must look within ourselves to resolve our prejudices and challenge our preconceived ideas and fears. Once this is achieved we will look for the similarities rather than differences and move toward a fuller appreciation of life.

Cast & Credits


Chief Gillespie: Rick McVey

Virgil Tibbs: Amara James Aja

Sam Wood: Justin Tyler Lewis

Pete/Man in the Shadows: Zacchaeus Kimbrell

Harvey Oberst/Purdy/Klansman #2: Nick Koesters

Charles Tatum/Endicott/Al Jennings: Nicholas Piper

Coroner/Mayor Schubert/Klansman #3: Michael Poisson

Erick Kaufman/Ralph/Klansman #1:Sam McCalla

Melanie Tatum: Sarah Laughland

Noreen Purdy: Hope Quinn


Director: Jasper McGruder

Set Designer: Hana Lee

Lighting Designer: Andrew Morehouse

Sound Designer:Miles Polaski

Costume Designer: Ashley Campos

Fight Captain: Justin Tyler Lewis

Stage Manager: Cindi Raebel

Corporate Sponsors:

The Barter Theatre Board of Trustees

Media Sponsors: