The sounds of music; Riverland Theater takes novel approach to latest production
Published 10:34 am Wednesday, October 8, 2014
During a rehearsal earlier this week, Bryana Thorson and Vic Wylde sang while gazing into each others’ eyes and clasping hands on the Frank W. Bridges stage. At the end of the song, Wylde kissed Thorson’s hand.
Thorson, Wylde and the other actors don’t have any dialogue in the Riverland Community College Theatre Department’s debut 2014-15 play, “Some Enchanted Evening: The Songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein.” However, Riverland theater director Lindsey Williams hopes actions and scenes like the one with Thorson and Wylde will tell a story in the musical review, which will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
“Some Enchanted Evening” is a different kind of play for the Riverland department. The musical review features no dialogue; instead, it focuses on the music of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, the famed team behind classics like “South Pacific,” “Oklahoma!,” “The King and I” and “The Sound of Music.”
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“It’s all these wonderful songs that people know and love from these classic shows, but people will get to see them in this different context,” Williams said.
Despite feature much-loved songs, Williams didn’t want “Some Enchanted Evening” to feel like a concert. With sparse stage direction in the script, Williams and her cast decided to fill in the gaps and help flush out the storyline, which comes through actors’ actions and, of course, the music.
“This is our approach and our take on the songs and the stories,” Williams said.
The musical review is set in 1940s to 1950s on a garden terrace, where the characters come together for a wedding. Once Williams found her cast, the first step was to learn the well-known songs.
“The music is really the star of the show,” Williams said.
However, Williams admitted classic songs present a few challenges: “You can’t sing a wrong note, because everyone will know.”
Next, Williams and the cast dug into the setting and the words in the songs, which, when taken out of the context of the different plays, could take on new meanings. Thorson and Wylde are the two getting married at the wedding. Their scenes together begin with the love song “I Have Dreams” from the play “The King and I.” Later, Thorson sings “A Cockeyed Optimist” from “South Pacific.” But then Wylde sings “Soliloquy” from “Carousel,” which may fuel suspicions that the marriage was a bit hasty. Maybe, Williams said, Thorson’s character is pregnant.
While Williams admitted some in the audience may not pick up on all the nuances and details of the backstory, she and her cast hope it will make for well-rounded, believable performances. It’s also served as a way for the theater students to learn, as Williams admitted the show has been a unique challenge.
“I see a lot of cast members growing as actors having to do that,” Williams said.
Tickets for the show are currently on sale at www.riverland.edu/tickets and cost $16. People can also contact the box office at 507-433-0595 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opening Sequence “The Surrey With the Fringe on Top” (Oklahoma!) “It Might As Well Be Spring” (State Fair) “There Is Nothin’ Like a Dame” (South Pacific) “The Gentleman is a Dope” (Allegro) “I Have Dreamed” (The King and I) Grand Night Agitato & Vocal Overture
“A Wonderful Guy” (South Pacific) “Hello, Young Lovers” (The King and I) “If I Loved You” (Carousel) “Something Wonderful” (The King and I) “A Fellow Needs a Girl” (Allegro) “I Cain’t Say No” (Oklahoma!) “I Enjoy Being a Girl” (Flower Drum Song) “Maria” (The Sound of Music) “Lonely Room” (Oklahoma!) “In My Own Little Corner” (Cinderella) “A Bell is No Bell” (The Sound of Music) “Shall We Dance?” (The King and I) & Finale Act I
Opening Medley: “Kansas City” (Oklahoma!), “Bali Ha’i” (South Pacific) and “Grant Avenue” (Flower Drum Song) “Twin Soliloquies” (South Pacific) “This Nearly Was Mine” (South Pacific) “Out Of My Dreams” (Oklahoma!) “Don’t Marry Me” (Flower Drum Song) “Love, Look Away” (Flower Drum Song) “A Cockeyed Optimist” (South Pacific) “Soliloquy” (Carousel) “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” (The Sound of Music) “Younger Than Springtime” (South Pacific) “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out-A My Hair” Closing Medley Company “Some Enchanted Evening” (South Pacific)
Jake Berndt , Carrie Braaten , Jodie Bratager , Tess Douty, Jannel Howard , Alexa Ferguson, Cole Peterson, Amoe Sato, Micah Strobel , Bryana Thorson , Joshua Whalen, Jessica Williams , Vic Wylde, Danny Ziebell , James Zschunke
Piano 1: Rachel Carlson, Piano 2: Dori Schou
Director/Choreographer: Lindsey Duoos Williams Musical & Vocal Director: Laurie Helmers Technical Director: Mark Spitzer Scenic & Lighting
Design: Mark Spitzer
Costume Design: Carley Carranza and Jennifer Wiebrand
Stage Manager: Melissa Johnson
Backstage Crew: Ian Bearden, Rosalyn Dathe, Tyler Holz, Jesse Johnson, Kylie Larson, Claire Olson and Kristy Possin
Set Construction: Jake Berndt, Rosalyn Dathe, Rachel Edlund, Karina Hernandez, Tyler Holz, Jesse Johnson, Matt King and Bryana Thorson
Graphics: BJ Witts
Box Office: Jerome Newsom and Ruth Smith