A season of classics: Riverland theater announces its 2014-15 run

Published 10:15 am Monday, August 18, 2014

James Douglas, along with Lia Culbert and James Zschunke, rehearse a scene from the upcoming Riverland production of “The Drowsy Chaperone.” Herald file photo

James Douglas, along with Lia Culbert and James Zschunke, rehearse a scene from the upcoming Riverland production of “The Drowsy Chaperone.” Herald file photo

Riverland Community College is ready for another huge theater season.

Riverland’s Theatre Department is set to bring a few classics to the stage this year, from a revue of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic hits to a play hundreds of years old.

The season opens Oct. 8 with “Some Enchanted Evening: The Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein.” That includes songs from “Oklahoma!,” “Carousel,” “State Fair,” “South Pacific,” “The King and I,” and “The Sound of Music.”

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“What I love about ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ is rather than do one of those great shows, we get to do them in a different way,” said Riverland Director Lindsey Duoos Williams.

“Some Enchanted Evening” is appropriate for all ages.

On Nov. 6, Riverland Theatre will present the special event “The Things They Carried,” on tour from History Theatre in St. Paul. Based on the quintessential book by Austin native Tim O’Brien about the Vietnam experience, “The Things They Carried” is the powerful telling of the narrator’s journey from his innocent years in small town Minnesota to the jungles of Vietnam as a young American soldier.

This story of loss and redemption is adapted for the stage by Jim Stowell and performed by Stephen D’Ambrose. The show is discounted for veterans of all ages and will be included as part of Riverland’s season pass, according to Williams.

“The Things They Carried” contains descriptions of violence and is recommended for ages 16 and older.

The fall season continues with “She Stoops to Conquer” by Oliver Goldsmith, which takes place Nov. 19-23. This boisterous and charming comedy of mistaken identities has delighted audiences for more than 200 years, though today’s audiences can easily relate to it. Two well-bred young men arrive at the country estate of Mr. Hardcastle, intending to court his daughter Kate and her cousin Constance, but when a local mischief-maker plays a practical joke on the two urbanites, the Hardcastle household is launched into a dizzying romp that examines romance and social manners as well as the art of love.

This show hasn’t been seen on a Riverland stage in decades, according to Williams. The last time Riverland put on “She Stoops to Conquer” was 1973.

“She Stoops to Conquer” will be directed by Susan V. Hansen and is recommended for ages 10 and older. Hansen is a Riverland Theatre faculty member.

Arthur Miller’s classic drama, “The Crucible,” will be the first production of 2015 when it opens on Feb. 25. Winner of the 1953 Tony Award for Best Play, “The Crucible” is a classic of the American stage.

An exciting drama about the Puritan purge of witchcraft in old Salem, the play was Miller’s response to the McCarthy “witch hunts” of suspected communists in the 1950s, of which Miller himself was a target.

“I think it has a lot to say about the way we’re persuaded to be a part of a group,” Williams said.

This timeless parable attacks the evils of mindless persecution and the terrifying power of false accusations. Lindsey Duoos Williams directs. “The Crucible” is recommended for ages 12 and older.

The season finishes with the Broadway hit “Legally Blonde The Musical,” with book by Heather Hach and music & lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin.

Elle Woods appears to have it all—until her boyfriend dumps her and leaves for Harvard Law School. Determined to win him back, Elle follows him to Harvard, where she soon realizes her own potential and sets out to prove herself to the world. Based on the hit MGM film, this hilarious and heartwarming musical will inspire you.

“It’s just one of the most fun things I’ve ever seen in the theater,” Williams said. “It’s a feel-good, feel-empowered kind of show with a really strong female character.”

“Legally Blonde the Musical” will be directed and choreographed by Lindsey Duoos Williams and is recommended for ages 12 and older.

Season ticket subscriptions to Riverland’s 2014-2015 season are $50 and are on sale now through Oct. 12. Individual tickets to each of the four productions will go on sale Sept. 2, when the box office officially opens for the season. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.riverland.edu/tickets, or in person and by phone after Sept. 2. To purchase a season ticket or to receive more information, call the Riverland Theatre Box Office at (507) 433-0595, email boxoffice@riverland.edu, or visit the Web site and download the brochure at www.riverland.edu/theatre. Box office hours are Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and one hour before performances. Individual ticket prices for “Some Enchanted Evening” and “Legally Blonde” are $16, and $13 for “She Stoops to Conquer” and “The Crucible.” Tickets for The Things They Carried are $10. Riverland students receive two free tickets to each production.