Starting with style: Riverland Theatre opens to big season of shows

Published 3:01 pm Sunday, September 4, 2016

Story by Abby Jewett

Riverland Community College’s theatre department has four powerful and fun shows lined up for the Austin community for its 2016-17 season, which will center on well-loved classics, new faces, and musicals that warm the heart.

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“Cabaret” will kick off with its dark and thoughtful tone on Oct. 5-9. It follows the story of writer Clifford Bradshaw and singer Sally Bowles as they escape from the reality of a pre-World War II Germany. Powerful and extremely entertaining, this version of “Cabaret” incorporates songs from the well-known movie, such as “Maybe This Time” and “Money.”

“It just felt like a really appropriate time to do this show,” said Riverland Theatre Director Lindsey Duoos Williams. “This show serves as a really good reminder to engage with what is happening in your world…because there can be really dire consequences if you try to step away.”

“Cabaret” is recommended for ages 14 and older.

The next show, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” will be performed Nov. 16-20, and will be directed by faculty member Susan V. Hansen. Those who loved the 1946 movie will fall in love all over again with this theatrical adaption. The story focuses on George Bailey, who despairs over his seemingly monotonous life until his guardian angel shows him what the world would be like if he never existed. This play serves to remind the audience of what they value and why they fight for the things they believe in.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a warm and entertaining story coming just in time for the holiday season. It is recommended for ages 10 and older.

The spring season starts off Feb. 22-26 with a relatively unknown title: “The Language Archive.” This compelling play follows a man who archives dying languages. He struggles to find the words to say to his wife as his marriage starts to die just like the languages he archives. “The Language Archive” is a contemporary play about love, loss, and the feelings hidden beneath words. This play will be directed by Susan V. Hansen.

Williams added that “The Language Archive” is entertaining, funny, and thought-provoking. The show has never been done at Riverland before, so it is an exciting addition to this season’s shows. The show is recommended for ages 12 and older.

Riverland Theatre is ending its season with style. The musical “Seussical” will play in two sections, Apr. 21-23 and Apr. 27-30. Lindsey Duoos Williams directs this musical, which will feature characters from books by Dr. Seuss. These characters live in the hearts of many adults and children today. From Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat, to Gertrude McFuzz, “Seussical” incorporates well-loved characters with bright and colorful music from Tony Award-winning composer Stephen Flaherty and lyrics from Lynn Ahrens.

“Seussical” is appropriate for all ages.

“Adults aren’t going to feel like they’re watching a kid’s show,” Williams said. “There’s something in it for everyone.”

Season tickets for Riverland’s 2016-17 season are on sale for $50 through Oct. 9. Individual tickets for each of the four productions can be purchased at the box office starting Sept. 6.

Tickets can be purchased online at, or in person and by phone after Sept. 6. Call the Riverland Theatre Box Office at 507-433-0595 or email to purchase a season ticket. For more information, download the season brochure at

The box office runs Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m, and one hour before performances. Individual ticket prices for “Cabaret” and “Seussical” are $16, and $13 for “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “The Language Archive.” Riverland students get two free tickets to each show.

2016-17 season rundown


7:30 p.m. Oct. 5, 6, 7, 8 and 2 p.m. Oct. 9

Book by Joe Masteroff

Music by John Kander

Lyrics by Fred Ebb

It’s a Wonderful Life

7:30 p.m. Nov. 16, 17, 18, 19 and 2 p.m. Nov. 20

Adapted for the stage by James W. Rodgers

Based on the film by Frank Capra and the story by Philip Van Doren Stern

The Language Archive

7:30 p.m. Feb. 22, 23, 24, 25 and 2 p.m. Feb. 26

By Julia Cho


7 p.m. April 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 and 2 p.m. April 23 and 30.

Music by Stephen Flaherty

Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens

Book by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty

Based on the works of Dr. Seuss.

Tickets go on sale Sept. 6 for all four shows.

To order tickets go to: or visit the box office open 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour before the performances.