The team at Mount Marty University’s (MMU) Performing Arts Theatre is prepping to serve up a socially distanced, COVID-safe, musical-comedy, murder-mystery farce just in time for Thanksgiving.
Performances of “Lucky Stiff” are set for Nov. 12-14 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. at MMU’s Marian Auditorium in Yankton.
Tickets are required, but seating is general with alternating rows blocked off. Social distancing precautions will be in place, masks are required and temperatures will be taken at the door.
“The play’s got mistaken identities, good music, some dancing and a dead body in a wheelchair,” the production’s director and MMU theater director, Andy Henrickson, told the Press & Dakotan.
The story, written by Lynn Ahrens with musical score by Stephen Flaherty, centers on an unassuming shoe salesman named Harry Witherspoon, played by Daniel Roche, who is set to inherit $6 million from an uncle he’s never met — if he takes the dead uncle on a vacation to Monte Carlo.
“There’s a stipulation in the will that says, ‘If you don’t make this happen, the money will go to the Universal Dog Home of Brooklyn,” Henrickson said. “Annabel Glick, played by Betsy Crumly, follows Witherspoon to make sure he’s doing everything just right, because if he doesn’t, the dog home will get the money and she is one who will live and die for the puppies.”
The production’s cast and crew is comprised of 60 students majoring in several of MMU’s various disciplines, not just in theater, Henrickson said.
“Half our cast is nursing students,” Henrickson said. “We’ve always had a mixed theater team, but we are being intentional about it in our recruitment. We need people who do it all: perform, sew, paint and build. They can major in anything here and be part of the theater team.”
Stephanie Faulhaber, a senior nursing student at MMU, who plays Dominique du Monaco, has been in plays all four years in college, Henrickson said.
“I love doing the play because it provides me a place to get away from my busy life,” Faulhaber told the Press & Dakotan. “I come and take on a different character and enter a new world for a while, no stress, no keeping track of assignments and no worrying about life.”
Time management is always a big factor, but MMU is great in being flexible, allowing students to do what they want and love, she added.
“I think people will enjoy the show’s energy,” Andy Nanfito, who plays the French Emcee, said. “It’s really fast paced and there’s a lot of funny things going on. It’s just hectic.”
Jonathan Urroz, a senior nursing student who plays Vinnie, called the story mysterious and said it keeps the audience wondering about what’s going to happen next.
“One of my favorite things is the music and the parts we sing are very catchy,” Urroz said. “They get stuck in your head, and I think that will be really memorable to the audience.”
Joey Stibral, a sophomore nursing student, added that many of the play’s side characters are big characters, and that some of his favorite songs are the little-guy songs.
“It’s a show that all people can find interesting,” Betsy Crumly, a freshman nursing student said. “It’s pure fun.
“There’s a lot of crazy nonsense happening in our world right now, so come and have two hours where you can just smile and laugh, and get away from all of it for a while.”
Cast: Daniel Roche (Norfolk, Nebraska) as Witherspoon, Betsy Crumly (Page, Nebraska) as Annabel Glick, Elita Eastman (Springfield) as Rita, Jonathan Urroz (San Francisco, Calif.) as Vinnie, Joseph Stibral (Yankton) as Luigi, Stephanie Faulhaber (Plankinton) as Dominique du Monaco, Jessica Warnke (Omaha, Nebraska) as the Landlady, Kassondra Gooley (Hartford) as the Bellboy, Andy Nanfito (Omaha, Nebraska) as the French Emcee, and Quinn Fargo (Gayville) as the dead body.
Running Crew members: Rita Woodraska (Valentine, Nebraska) — sound board operator, microphones, Samantha Soukup (Tyndall) — light board operator, Tashlynne Badger (Brandon) — sound effects operator, Melissa Hagedorn (West Point, Nebraska) — spotlight operator, Heaven Lane (Belle Fourche) — house manager and Shelby Schweitzberger (Kingsley, Iowa) and Kathryn Gerwer (Sioux Falls) — backstage grips.
Production Crew: Alexis Arens (Crofton, Nebraska), Andi Bargstadt (Winside, Nebraska), Matthew Becker (Hartington, Nebraska), Jailen Billings (Sioux City, Iowa), Lucas Blankman (Omaha, Nebraska), Wesley Brandt (Tabor), Noah Cagle (Grand Rapids, Minnesota), Clayton Campbell (Tetonia, Idaho), Brynn Dilly (Neligh, Nebraska), Milan Fliopovich (Nori Sad, Serbia), Drew Gusso (Spearfish), Sarah Hart (Oxnard, Calif.), Isaac Hegdahl (Nunda), Blake Hodges (Omaha, Nebraska), Caden Ideker (Hartford), Kat Ilkow (Stillman Valley, Illinois), Trent Jones (Council Bluffs, Iowa), Zach Lyday (Dallas, Texas), Taite Marksmeier (Norfolk, Nebraska), Morgan Miller (Pavillion, Wyoming), Jaden Pearson (Yankton High School student), Andrew Peitz (Yankton), Bella Purloz (Yankton High School student), Rafael Ramirez (Freeman), Kyle Richert (Gresham, Nebraska), Alexandra Ruth (Norfolk, Nebraska), Keegan Savary (Sergeant Bluff, Iowa), Alice Schleich (Mitchell), Mason Schleis (Shelby, Nebraska), Joleen Smith (Yankton) and Griffin Weineke (Norfolk, Nebraska).
Production Team: Andy Henrickson — Director), James Hovland Jr. — Scenic and Lighting Design/Technical Director, Dawn Ferris — Costume Design, Kathryn Reimler — Choreographer, Janice Croom — Rehearsal Accompanist, Madelynne Henrickson — Vocal Coach, and students Rachel Flynn (Stillwater, Minnesota) — Stage Manager, Ashley Henglefelt (Alexandria) — Assistant Stage Manager Props, Maddie Dilly (Neligh, Nebraska) — Assistant Stage Manager/Costumes, Malaya Heine (St. Helena, Nebraska) — Dramaturg, and Gabrielle Goodrich (Peoria, Arizona) and Hailee Like (Pierre) — Dance Captains.
For more information call 605-668-1533 or 605-668-1267.