Riverland Theatre announces 2019-2020 season

Published 7:05 am Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Riverland Community College Theatre Director Lindsey Duoos Williams has announced the 2019-2020 lineup.

The new season will present a variety of plays and musicals, including a new play by a local playwright to be performed at both the Austin and Albert Lea campuses.

The season opens on Oct. 4, with the play “Wilson’s Girl: Unpacking the Beef in a Minnesota Town” by Eva Barr. Barr, a local Minnesota playwright, adapts Cheri Register’s 2001 memoir “Packinghouse Daughter” about coming of age in Albert Lea during the 1959 Wilson’s meatpacking plant strike.

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“We are so excited to be presenting a season that is challenging, thought-provoking, and fun, and that will offer some new experiences to our audiences” Williams said. “This is the first time that Riverland Theatre has collaborated with a local playwright, Eva Barr, on the world premiere of a new play that examines our local history. The play was written to be performed in a non-traditional theatre space, and so we are excited to be taking this production out of the Frank W. Bridges Theatre and into new and unexpected places on campus. This will also mark the first time that we’ve performed a play on the Albert Lea campus. It seemed the perfect opportunity to do so, since this particular play deals with an important chapter in Albert Lea’s history.”

Riverland Community College Theatre Director Lindsey Duoos Williams

The play spans the inciting moments of the strike to the violence and divisiveness that resulted, but it is Register’s personal awakening to the meaning of class in her life as the daughter of a blue-collar worker that provides the universal hook.

In a first for Riverland Theatre, this play will be performed in nontraditional spaces at both the Austin and Albert Lea campuses. “Wilson’s Girl” will be directed by Susan V. Hansen, Riverland Theatre faculty. Parents should be advised that some material in “Wilson’s Girl” may not be appropriate for children.

The fall season continues on Nov. 20, with the musical comedy “Once Upon a Mattress” with music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer, and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller and Marshall Barer.

This modern interpretation not only puts a twist on the well-known fairy tale, “The Princess and The Pea,” but also brings a new perspective to the classic musical comedy. Prince Dauntless hasn’t had any luck finding a bride, until along comes the unconventional Princess Winnifred—but can she pass the test?

“Once Upon a Mattress” will be directed by Lindsey Duoos Williams and may not be appropriate for children.

On Feb. 26, Riverland returns to the classics with the popular comedy “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde. “The Importance of Being Earnest” has proven to be Wilde’s most enduring — and endearing — play. Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff create alter egos named Ernest to escape their tiresome lives. They attempt to win the hearts of two women who, conveniently, claim to only love men called Ernest.

The play will be directed by Susan V. Hansen. Parents should be advised that “The Importance of Being Earnest” may not be appropriate for all ages.

The season finishes in the spring of 2020 with the new musical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “s You Like It,” with music and lyrics by Shaina Taub, adapted by Taub and Laurie Woolery. Named one of The New York Times’ best shows of 2017, “As You Like It” is an immersive, dream-like tale of faithful friends, feuding families, and lovers in disguise.

Featuring an original folk-pop score by Taub and adapted from William Shakespeare’s original text, “As You Like It”celebrates the power of community and love. Williams will direct and suggests that some material may not be appropropriate for younger audiences.

“I’m also very excited about our production of As You Like It,” continued Williams. “We always welcome members of our community to audition for our productions, but we understand that sometimes participation can be difficult due to the time commitment. We want to make theatre accessible to everyone, so we’ll be including a ‘community chorus’ in this production that will give our community members the opportunity to participate in a show without the extreme time commitment. We hope to partner with local organizations to break down the barriers to participation and put together a cast that reflects the diversity of our community.”

Season ticket subscriptions are $50 and are on sale through Oct. 13. Individual tickets to each of the four productions will go on sale Sept. 9, 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. 9. 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 “Once Upon a Mattress” and “As You Like It” are $16, and $13 for “Wilson’s Girl” and “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Riverland students receive two free tickets to each production.