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American Mountain Theater in Elkins is a popular tourist destination. Billing itself as the “freshest sound in the mountains,” the theater offers shows similar to those produced in Branson, Missouri.

The theater was the dream of Elkins native Susie Heckel, who had performed at a similar theater in Arkansas. In 2004, after two years of planning and preparation, American Mountain Theater began producing shows in a former commercial building outside of Elkins with a cast made up of Heckel’s family and friends. In 2007, the group moved to a new 527-seat theater in Elkins located in the historic rail yard once occupied by the Western Maryland Railroad.

American Mountain Theater is owned by Beverly and Kenny Sexton, Heckel’s sister and brother-in-law. All three perform on stage in addition to working behind the scenes. The group stages more than 200 shows during the season, which lasts from April to December. Their shows feature a mix of country, gospel, pop, and patriotic music, as well as comedy.

More than 35,000 people visit the theater each year, with about half coming from outside the state. The theater promotes other tourist activities in Randolph County, as well, including excursions on the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad. Starting in January 2012, the cable network RFD TV, which focuses on rural life, began airing 30-minute shows from the theater.

Last Revised on October 10, 2011

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e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia "American Mountain Theater." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 10 October 2011. Web. 16 January 2018.

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