Wonderful Town is the fourth production being offered at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre this summer. This Leonard Bernstein musical premiered on Broadway in 1953, winning five Tony Awards. The show follows two sisters who leave their small hometown in Ohio to chase their dreams in New York City. They find adventures (and misadventures) , frustration, career opportunities, and romance in the big city of their dreams.
Coming from all over the country, the visiting artists of this season’s CAST company share their considerable talents with Showboat audiences. Ruth is played by Jenna Haimes (B.F.A. in Music Theatre from Illinois Wesleyan) and Eileen is played by Carly Ann Berg (B.F.A in Musical Theatre from Brenau University, Gainsville GA.) Heather Baisley, a senior musical theatre major at Rider University in NJ, will play Helen. Jenna, Carly and Heather were all seen in The Taffetas, Annie Get Your Gun, and Wizard of Oz.
Nathan McHenry, a senior studying musical theatre at Belmont University (Nashville,TN), will play the role of Robert Baker. He was Frank Butler in Annie Get Your Gun, and the Witch of the West in Wizard of Oz. Caleb Jernigan, who played Chief Sitting Bull and Tin Man and just completed his second cruise contract working for Norwegian Cruise Line as a singer, will portray The Wreck in Wonderful Town. The role of Appopolous will be played by Jalen Lee, a senior BFA musical theatre major at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO. Jalen was seen as Buffalo Bill in Annie Get Your Gun, and Dorothy’s Uncle in Wizard of Oz.
Two local actors will play roles in Wonderful Town. Kris Doss, a graduate of the University of Dubuque (Theatre) will be Chick Clark and Derrick Bertram, a senior Theatre Arts major at University of Northern Iowa, will be Frank.
Members of the ensemble include: Dorothy Farach (retired special education teacher), Jake Hopson (studying performing arts at Iowa State University), Robert Rice (junior at Southeast Missouri State, Scarecrow in Wizard of Oz), Lara Rose (Fulton), Daxx Jayroe Wieser, (a musical theatre student at Oklahoma City University, Tommy Keeler in Annie Get Your Gun). CAST interns performing in Wonderful Town include: Matt Espey (senior at Clinton High), Ireland Knapper (freshman at Northeast), Audrey Simpson (high school junior), Danica Smith (Clinton High), and Cassandra Van Zuiden (sophomore at Fulton High), and Aiden McMinimy (junior at Camanche High).
Wonderful Town is being directed by Producing Artistic Director Tommy Iafrate. The Creative Team includes: Musical Director Laurie Lewis, Choreographer Zachary D'antonio, Scenic Designer Adam Spencer, Lighting Designer Cassie Mings, Costume Designer Nicole Angell, Stage Manager/Sound Designer Nicole Frechette, and Assistant Stage Manager Seth Kieser.
Wonderful Town opens at the Showboat on Thursday, July 24 at 7:30pm followed by a reception in the lobby. Performances continue on July 25, 26, 31, August 1, 2 at 7:30pm and on July 27 and 30 at 3pm. Tickets cost $23, $20 for seniors and $16 for students and children. The CAST box office is open 11am to 4pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11am to 7pm on Thursdays through Saturdays and noon to 4pm on Sundays. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.clintonshowboat.org or by calling 563-242-6760.
On Tuesday, July 29th at 7:30pm will be the Follies. This fundraising event is a review showcasing the talents of this summer’s company. Another special event takes place on the Showboat on August 12th at 7pm. Peter J. Grady of Marshalltown, Iowa will present “Unconditional Surrender”. Ulysses S Grant comes to life in this informative, humorous and touching portrayal, written and performed by Grady. Refreshments will be served after the performance in the Showboat Lobby. Tickets for this special event are $10 for adults, $5 for students and are available at the box office, Clinton Printing, Wagner Pharmacies and Sweet Woodruff (Fulton). The last production of the 2014 CAST season will be Alice in Wonderland (August 8-17).
There are still openings available in the second theatre camp for children entering grades 1 to 8. Camp Wonderland is August 4-13th for just $75. Registration is available on line or at the box office.
Every Saturday at noon CAST’s Intern Company offers Theatre for Children. This year’s shows include: A Very Clinton Variety Show, The Beginning of Armadillos, and A Sour Study in Lemonade. Tickets are only $5 and are available at the door.