This Quartet is Worth Far More than a Million

On December 4, 1956, the first supergroup of rock and roll appeared at Sun Records.  On that day, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and Carl Perkins all happened to be at Sun Records at the same time and had an impromptu jam session recorded by Sun’s owner, Sam Phillips.  Inspired by that day, Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux wrote a little show about what might have gone on in the studio.  They called it Million Dollar Quartet and it is playing at Maples Repertory Theatre.

To be honest, I was expecting a jukebox musical when I sat down to review this show, but Escott and Mutrux actually wrote a nifty little story that segues nicely into the evening’s showstopping numbers.  It’s fun, actually delves a bit into the characters of Phillips and the Million Dollar Quartet, and is even a little sad and haunting at certain points.  This strong tale is strengthened by the legendary hits as performed by a powerhouse cast who hit all the right notes musically and acting-wise.

Paul Kerr has directed a real winner with this production.  He sets a snappy pace, wonderfully stages the show, and pulls some exceptionally strong performances out of his actors.  Kerr has a good grip on the true depth of this story and hits all of its emotional beats with maximum impact.

Kerr’s cast is stellar from top to bottom.  Each fully understands his or her character and each also happens to be a darn good singer and instrumentalist.

I’d like to give special notice to the unsung heroes of this show:  Sean Powell and Darren Johnston.  Powell does double duty as the show’s musical director and in the small role of Jay Perkins.  As musical director, Powell’s work is superb as he and the cast don’t miss a trick in any of the night’s numbers.  He also does well in the role of Jay, Carl Perkins’ older brother.  Powell brings a real presence to the role and brings a natural flamboyance to it, not to mention some dynamite strumming on and skillful acrobatics with his stand up bass.  Johnston fuels all of the numbers with a deadly accurate backbeat as the session drummer, Fluke.

While all of the actors are great, Billy Rude may be the one to keep your eye on with his frenzied performance as Jerry Lee Lewis.  Rude’s Lewis has a natural gift for rubbing people the wrong way and has a self-confidence bordering on arrogance as he struggles to achieve stardom as Sun Record’s newest artist.  Rude’s ability with the piano borders on the superhuman as I had difficulty following his fingers as they blitzed across the keys.  He didn’t just play the singer known as “The Killer”, he became him as he perfectly emulated his over the top piano playing right down to kicking away the piano bench and having that hairstyle that gets just as wild as his performances in “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’”.

Sean Riley brings a surprising amount of pathos to the role of Carl Perkins.  Perkins was the first breakout star of Sun Records, but has hit a bit of a slump and is feeling overlooked by Sam Phillips.  Riley brings a bit of bitter frustration to the role as he is a bit of a curmudgeon who is only really close with Johnny Cash.  Lewis irritates him and he harbors a lot of resentment and jealousy towards Elvis who not only supplanted him on the charts, but became better known for Perkins’ hit song “Blue Suede Shoes” more than Perkins himself.  Riley is also a master guitarist and singer who flies high in “Matchbox” and his sections in “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man”.

You may think Johnny Cash has been reborn when you see Christopher Essex’s take on the Man in Black.  He bears a remarkable physical similarity to the singer, effortlessly duplicates his unique style of guitar playing, and has a similar bass voice.  Essex ably plays Cash as a gentle man of faith wrestling with the problem of telling Phillips he’s leaving the label.  He also shines in classic Cash numbers such as “I Walk the Line” and “Down By the Riverside”.

I really liked Courtney Crouse’s take on Elvis Presley.  He managed to show Elvis’ congeniality which people often forget about.  By displaying this side of Elvis’ personality, he shows us that the King was actually too nice for the cutthroat world of show business as he is often pushed around by Colonel Parker and his new record label, RCA.  But Crouse also reminds us that Elvis was a versatile performer almost without peer as he rocks out with “Hound Dog” then just as easily goes Gospel with “Peace in the Valley”.

After Bradley Farmer, as Elvis’ girlfriend, Dyanne, belted out “Fever” with that sultry alto, I needed to go soak my head in a bucket of ice water to cool off.  Ms Farmer gets a lot of mileage out of this small role who ends up serving as the confidante of nearly every character in the show.  Ms Farmer adds that extra something to the show whether it be singing or dancing to the numerous numbers or boosting the beat with her tambourine.

Last and certainly not least is Eddie Urish’s beautiful turn as Sam Phillips.  As the narrator of this tale, Urish presents Phillips as the grizzled record producer who built tiny Sun Records into a starmaking factory by recognizing rock and roll for the revolution it was and seeing the talent in future stars that other labels wouldn’t glance twice at.  I loved the loyalty that Urish gives to Phillips because it made his pain at watching the Quartet dissolve around him all the more believable and moving.

Todd Davison’s set is phenomenal as it has the perfect flavor of the former auto parts store now turned into a hitmaking machine.  Reymundo Montoya’s properties complete the picture of Davison’s set.  Shon Causer’s lighting adds a je ne sais quoi to the story as it changes from the brightness of the jam session to the dark blue of Phillips’ narration.

Believe me when I say you’re going to get more than a million bucks worth of entertainment out of this show.  The story is strong.  The performances are terrific.  The music is legendary.  Buckle up and enjoy the ride of this show.

Million Dollar Quartet plays at Maples Repertory Theatre through July 9.  Showtimes are at 7:30pm on June 28 and July 7-8; 2pm on June 25, 27, 30 and July 5 and 9.  Tickets cost $29 for the Main Floor and $22 for the balcony.  For tickets contact the box office at 660-385-2924 or visit the website at www.maplesrep.com.  Maples Repertory Theatre is located at 102 N Rubey St in Macon, MO.

‘Ladies’ Leave ‘Em Laughing in the Aisles

Meet Leo Cark and Jack Gable.  They are 2 struggling Shakespearian actors of dubious talent and meager means.  When they stumble onto a chance to steal 2/3 of a multimillion dollar fortune by posing as the long lost relatives of a dying woman, they throw caution to the wind and put their acting skills to the test.  And it is a mighty difficult test as the missing relatives happen to be women.  This is Leading Ladies by Ken Ludwig and currently playing at Maples Repertory Theatre.

A big part of the magic of theatre is that if you change a few elements of a production it becomes brand new all over again.  Just a few months ago I reviewed this show for the Omaha Community Playhouse.  With that performance still fresh in my memory, I got to see an exciting, rib tickling new take on it due to a simple change of director and cast and crew.  This is why one can see the same show over and over and over again and it is still something unique and original.

Brandon McShaffrey truly knows what makes for good farce.  His direction of tonight’s show was genius as he not only knew where and when to add the ludicrous elements, but he also managed to add a sizable amount of realism to the production.  His actors were honest to goodness people as opposed to caricature and he led the lot of them to sterling performances that left the audience rolling in the aisles.

This show is truly an ensemble piece with every actor getting a chance to shine.  Madeline Thomas is simply cute as a button and deliriously ditzy as Audrey.  She may not be too bright, but she’s building her brain one complex word at a time.  Todd Davison and Sean Powell make for a great father/son act as the talentless physician, Doc Myers, and his nerdy, willowy son, Butch.  Andy Brown provides some laughs as Rev. Duncan Wooley, the cheapskate, milquetoast fiancée of the play’s leading lady.  But watch out for Jonna Wiseman as barbed tongued Aunt Florence as she steals every scene she’s in with her acidic antics.

With the supporting cast providing such a strong foundation, it would be nearly impossible for this show to fail and it gets a further boost from its three leads, Michael McIntire, Sean Riley, and Kara Overlien, who admirably carry the bulk of the show on their formidably talented shoulders.

I was extraordinarily impressed with Kara Overlien’s portrayal of Meg.  Ms Overlien is just so. . .genuine as the young heiress.  She plays Meg as a decent woman with a strong streak of integrity as she plans to marry Rev. Wooley for taking care of her after the death of her parents.  But she also gets a lot of joy out of life.  She has passion for the theatre and has a surprising amount of potential as a performer.  She loves music and is a skilled dancer.  In fact, her solo dance number to a radio song is one of the best moments of the night.  Ms Overlien also has incredible facial animation as her reactions to the events swirling about her were always extemporaneous and spot-on.

Sean Riley does so much with so little in his interpretation of Jack Gable.  A slight grin here and a little gesture there had the crowd eating out of Riley’s hand.  Riley’s Gable may be the less talented member of the acting duo, but he might be the mentally swifter of the two.  Riley comes up with absurd sign language as the deaf and dumb “Stephanie” and also knows how to sneak hugs out of Audrey.  He’s also got a bit of the devil in him as he makes Leo’s wooing of Meg more difficult with his insinuations about why we never seem to see Leo and “Maxine” together as well as messing with Leo during their performance at the Moose Lodge.  Riley clearly had a ball with the role and it showed with a stellar performance.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a skilled blending of over the topness and realism as the one provided by Michael McIntire’s rendition of Leo Clark.  McIntire’s Clark is truly a good actor, but can’t seem to catch a break.  When he hatches the plan of stealing the fortune he throws, and I mean THROWS, himself in the role of “Maxine”.  McIntire is larger than life as Clark playing Maxine and he dazzlingly moves between the over the top “Maxine” to the natural Leo without missing a beat.  His howlingly funny reactions and expression asides to the audience only further fueled his dynamic performance.

Outstanding technical elements further helped create the world of this show including Charles Johnson’s set which creates the illusion of a well to do home without being ostentatious.  Jack Smith’s costumes were snappy and elegant from the suits and tuxes for the men and the gowns and dresses for the ladies and the “leading ladies”.

Tighter cue pickups and a faster pace would have further bolstered tonight’s production, but it is still one terrific night of comedy.  The best stamp of approval I can give is that this show caused me to laugh myself into a coughing fit at several points and I saw many members of the audience doubled over in hysterics at numerous moments.  But, hey, don’t take our words for it.  Buy a ticket and experience the mirth for yourself.

Leading Ladies plays at Maples Repertory Theatre through July 22.  Showtimes are 7:30pm on July 1, 5, 15, and the 21 and at 2pm on June 24, 28, July 2, 7, 16, 18, 21-22.  Tickets cost $29 for the Main Floor and $22 for the balcony.  For tickets contact the box office at 660-385-2924 or visit the website at www.maplesrep.com.  Maples Repertory Theatre is located at 102 N Rubey St in Macon, MO.

Two Plays & a Place to Stay: Macon, MO & Phillips Place Bed and Breakfast

025

Summer has arrived which means it was time to answer the call of the road once more.

This time my journeys took me to the small town of Macon, MO where I would be reviewing a pair of shows for the Maples Repertory Theatre and staying at Phillips Place Bed & Breakfast.  And, no, to those of you who may be remembering my misadventures in Arlington, TX, I had no difficulty finding the theatre.  Everything I needed was within walking distance.

I enjoyed a rather pleasant drive through Missouri.  Traffic was light and the foliage was lush.  I pulled off the road in the little burg of Cameron for a bite of lunch at Wendy’s.  I ate a Spicy Chicken sandwich while Ellery Queen puzzled over the murder of Abigail Doorn in The Dutch Shoe Mystery, my latest novel.  After my lunch I noticed a machine that dispensed lottery tickets at the rest stop and bought tickets for Powerball and Mega Millions.  Then I looked for my change and found that the machine did not dispense change.  I then proceeded to buy 2 Monopoly scratch-offs and a Win It All scratch-off.  I won enough money off one of the Monopoly games to offset my forced expenditures.

About 4pm, I arrived in Macon and easily found my way to Phillips Place, owned and operated by Carol Phillips.  I met Carol’s assistant, Michael, and his feisty dog who led me to me to the Turner Suite, my temporary home.

Phillips Place is a rather large Classical Revival home that only has 2 rooms for rent (Turner and Rubey Suites), but they are large and comfortable.  In fact, I consider the Turner Suite to be the most comfortable room I have enjoyed as my three room suite contained a bedroom with a very soft bed, a spacious bathroom, and a rather quaint sitting room.

After I took a quick turn about the place, I met Carol Phillips who brought me a glass of iced tea with a slice of lemon.  Like myself, she was a big theatre buff and would also be attending the production of Of Mice and Men that I was reviewing.  The next day she and a friend, Chuck Koopmann (also a theatre buff and treasurer of Maples Repertory Theatre) were going to head to the Amana Colonies to watch a performance of Million Dollar Quartet featuring some past Maples Rep performers.

After the tea and talk, I took a constitutional around the neighborhood and downtown area to find the theatre and Immaculate Conception Church where I would be attending worship services the next night.  When I returned to the inn, I met Chuck who invited me to share dinner with himself and Carol.

I enjoyed a fine dinner of BBQ ribs, potatoes, salad, and some green beans.  It was a lovely meal with the conversation equally so as we talked theatre, the history of Maples Rep, and my various adventures in travel and theatre.

Upon dinner’s completion, I spruced myself up for the night’s entertainment.  Maples Repertory Theatre is a well hidden jewel in Missouri.  It attracts theatrical talent from all over the country and they put on one terrific production.  You can read my review of the show here.

027

On opening night, Maples Rep hosts an event called Afterglow where they serve drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and have a little cabaret production.  I watched a little of the cabaret and had a conversation with Brandon McShaffrey who directed the play.  Then I returned to the inn to write the review and sleep soundly through the night.

The next morning, I had breakfast with Carol and Chuck where I enjoyed biscuits basted with butter and sprinkled with brown sugar with sausage gravy, bacon, cheesy eggs, fried potatoes, milk, and orange juice and another great conversation.  Afterwards I returned to my room to do a little work and grab a quick catnap as my sleep the previous night had been sound, but not long due to my being up late to write.

At noon, I settled my bill with Carol due to her leaving for the Amana colonies and I took another walk around the area.  I stopped at a Rexall’s Drugstore which actually had an old-fashioned soda fountain.  I ordered a vanilla ice cream soda which was delicious and then returned to the inn to get out of the heat.  I spent the afternoon writing up this article and watching Lt. Columbo capturing killers.

In the late afternoon, I got dolled up for church and the show.  I attended evening services at Immaculate Conception Church where the service was said by Father Kevin Gormley, a lovable Irishman, now retired, who subs for priests all over the state.  As he says, now he is truly a “Roaming” Catholic.

006

Immaculate Conception Church

After worship had ended, I walked a few blocks up the road to the Apple Basket Café for dinner.  It’s a quaint little diner and I was very tempted to indulge in the Saturday night special of a 12 oz ribeye steak.  But, with the show starting in less than an hour, I opted for something that could be prepared and eaten a little more quickly.  I had a turkey club sandwich on sourdough with a side of fries and a cup of chili.  It filled the cavity nicely.

Feeling satiated, I returned to Maples Rep for another fantastic production.  You can read my review for Ring of Fire:  The Music of Johnny Cash here.

During intermission, I met Todd Davison, the artistic director for Maples Rep.  I was quite shocked to learn that I was the first critic in the theatre’s 14 year history.  That morning, Chuck had asked for permission to send my first review to the town’s local newspaper, so I hope my words drum up some business.  This theatre is such a fine little jewel that I may send them an audition for next season.

At the show’s end I returned to Phillips Place where I wrote up the review and conked out for the night.

Breakfast was a more subdued, quiet affair this morning.  Carol had prepared a frittata with cheese, eggs, spinach, and yellow peppers along with milk, orange juice, a lemon puff, and a croissant.  Michael had heated up my meal and I ate a quicker meal than normal for me.

009

And that wraps up this article.  Macon is truly a nice, friendly little town.  It’s the type of town where everybody knows everybody.  You’ll enter a stranger and leave as a friend.  And I would make it a strong recommendation to visit this little town.  You won’t find a better inn than Phillips Place in terms of comfort and hospitality and you’ll do yourself a favor by taking in a night at Maples Repertory.  I guarantee it.

Ring of Fire is Smokin’ Good

“Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.”

That simple, almost shy, introduction launches a night of foot stomping fun in Ring of Fire:  The Music of Johnny Cash by Richard Maltby, Jr. and William Meade and is currently playing at Maples Repertory Theatre.

This is one of the more challenging reviews I’ve taken up due to the unique nature of the show.  If you’re expecting a story, forget it.  If you’re counting on great characterization, it isn’t happening.  If you’re looking for a lot of fun, there’s plenty of that and then some.  This show is a jukebox musical.  There really isn’t much acting.  There are snippets of information about the life of Johnny Cash sandwiched between numerous musical numbers of the Man in Black as a loose story of sorts.  But this show is a great concert, guaranteed to leave you feeling good when the night is done.

The difficulty in mounting a show of this type is that (aside from the need for great performing chops) it really depends on the staging.  To that end, Marc Liby has done sensational work with slick staging that animates all of the musical numbers and showcases the talents of the show’s five performers.

While the entire ensemble was of top quality, I thought the work of Elliot Lane was particularly impressive.  He did the most acting and was the Johnny Cashiest of the bunch with a dead on vocal mimicry of the singer.  Lane really shone in numbers such as a gutbusting rendition of A Boy Named Sue and Flesh and Blood.  Not only was Lane an ace performer, he also proved himself an incredible instrumentalist as he floated between playing guitar, electric mandolin, and just sizzled on the violin.

Andrea Love does double duty as performer and musical director and earns top marks for both.  Her confident musical direction shows in the cast’s effortless performances and her pure soprano melted my heart with tunes such as I Still Miss Someone and If I Were a Carpenter.

Wyatt McCall was the most physically suitable Johnny Cash with his rich bass voice and powerful build.  McCall was also a very skilled bass player and had a wry sense of humor best utilized in Five Feet High and Rising.  But he could turn on the drama just as easily as he proves in Going to Memphis.

Sean Powell was another top performer of the night.  A talented multi-instrumentalist, Powell easily moved from the standup bass to the guitar and, man alive, does he have a fabulous tenor voice.  I thought Powell had the song of the night with a haunting rendition of Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down.

Connor Sullivan rounds out the troupe.  I see the makings of a great comedic actor in Sullivan with his awesome facial expressions and his sense of timing best demonstrated in Delia’s Gone.  He does need to work on his projection a bit as I had trouble hearing him at various points.

Johnny Cash is a true icon of music.  While you may not have any great revelations into the life and character of the Man in Black, you certainly will have a high old time enjoying his legendary music.

Ring of Fire:  The Music of Johnny Cash plays at Maples Repertory Theatre through July 24.  Performances are at 2pm on June 26 and July 1, 6, 10, 19, 20, and 24 and at 7:30pm on June 29 and July 22-23.  Tickets cost $27 for the main floor and $24 for the balcony.  For tickets contact the box office at 660-385-2924 or visit the website at www.maplesrep.com.  Maples Repertory Theatre is located at 102 N Rubey St in Macon, MO.

Cursed Are the Meek

It’s a story of friendship and the American dream.  George and Lennie are itinerant workers hoping to save enough of a stake to get a small piece of land to build a small house, plant a vegetable garden, have some pigs, and build some pens for chickens and rabbits.  On the cusp of achieving that dream, a tragedy threatens to end it once and for all.  This is the story of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men currently playing at Maples Repertory Theatre.

Steinbeck’s novel is one of the great classics of American literature touching on numerous themes such as the class system, hope, dreams, perseverance, self-pity, and frustration.  The theatrical world benefited from Steinbeck’s decision to translate the novel into a play as only his unique skill was capable of bringing these themes to life with powerful dialogue and subtle foreshadowing.  The play is indicative of its time due to its talky nature, but Steinbeck’s talents make each monologue a gripper from beginning to end.

In the 20 years I’ve been involved with theatre, this play ranks within the top 5 that I’ve reviewed.  I give hearty congratulations to Brandon McShaffrey and his cast and crew for their sensational work with this show.

McShaffrey’s direction is an awe-inspiring piece of work.  He has probed every tiny nuance of the script and brought it to glorious life through the work of his cast who execute each moment with the precision of a finely tuned military squadron.  Each member of the cast has such presence and stays involved in the action of the play with pieces of business that ring true to their characters.  Even more impressive is the fact that the cast had only 10 days of rehearsal and somehow have polish and pizzazz that surpass shows with a proper rehearsal period.

Every performer shines at one point or another, but particular notice goes out to Tyler Breeding who breathes ugly life into Curly, the violent, bullying son of the ranch owner whose itch to pick a fight at the drop of a hat only increases with his jealous possessiveness of his new wife.  Josh Bernaski, as the tough, but kindly team leader, Slim.  Bernaski does need to slow down his delivery, though his excellent diction still kept him understandable.  Shonn McCloud as Crooks, the bitter, black ranch hand who hides a decent heart.  McCloud’s fine sense of timing led to some of the show’s more humorous moments.

In supporting roles, Dan Coons soars as Candy, the one handed ranch hand looking for some hope.  Coons’ body language show a man who leads a sad and lonely existence, yet is given one last chance for redemption when he is allowed to share in George and Lennie’s dream.  Lisa Egan Woods nails all the right notes as Curly’s unnamed floozy of a wife as she attempts to flirt and seduce the ranch hands to assuage her own loneliness.

Ultimately, this show succeeds or fails based on the work of the actors who play George and Lennie.  McShaffrey’s casting of Kyle Downing and Jeremy Proulx helped to make this show a rousing success.

Downing’s George is the proverbial everyman.  He has nothing more than a dream for a place of his own and a safe haven for Lennie and he pursues it relentlessly.  Downing’s animation is a thing of beauty and he changes emotional beats on the turn of a dime.  Whether he’s gleefully sharing his story of their future home, charmingly ranting about being saddled with Lennie, or steadfastly trying to get Lennie to remember items crucial to their survival, Downing is simply a joy to watch.  His final scene with Lennie bursts with an emotional power guaranteed to haunt you.

Proulx’s talent is a rare one, indeed.  His command of body language and gestures is unlike any I’ve ever seen in his interpretation of the gentle giant.  Lennie is actually the play’s most tragic character.  A childlike innocent who lacks the wisdom to handle his fearsomely strong body.  Proulx well communicates Lennie’s simpleness with subtle hand gestures and a spot on delivery.  Although Proulx’s delivery hits the marks on intention, he does need to be careful not to sacrifice diction for sound as his speech was mushy at several points.  As tragic as Lennie is, he also is the play’s most inspiring character as his good nature brings out the better qualities in those around him.

The play’s technical aspects were also bits of mastery.  Tricia Hobbs’ bunkhouse set has a poignant fragility about it.  Shon Causer’s lighting design was some of the best I’ve seen as the lights subtly and surely showed the passage of time from day to night and back again.  Jacob Kaufman’s sounds immensely aid in the immersion of the audience into the play.

This is what theatre is all about.  Of Mice and Men both entertains and educates.  It may make you rethink a thing or two about your own life and that is the power of a good drama that needs to be seen by one and all.

Of Mice and Men plays at Maples Repertory Theatre through July 17.  Showtimes are 2pm on June 25, 28, 29 and July 3, 9, 12, 17 and 7:30pm on July 2, 8, and 16.  Tickets cost $27 for the main floor and $22 for the balcony.  For tickets, contact the box office at 660-385-2924 or visit the website at www.maplesrep.com.  Parental discretion is advised due to some strong language and a few scenes of violence.  Maples Repertory Theatre is located at 102 N Rubey St in Macon, MO.

A Season of Heroes

A SEASON OF HEROES AT THE MAPLES REP

Heroes come in many forms. 

            Some are musicians who tell stories with their songs that save people going through hard times.  Some are little old ladies working in the church basement, providing delicious food and uplifting the spirits of their community.  Some criminals can even be heroes when given the right circumstances.  These are just a few examples of the heroes you’ll see during the Maples Rep 2016 season.

 

            Of Mice and Men is a serious play, but that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining.  Audiences certainly enjoyed Love Story, The Way We Were, Ordinary People, Million Dollar Baby and The Revenant?  So, if you like –admittedly non-traditional– love stories with heroes and villains, you need to see the Maples Rep production of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.”  Todd Davison-Artistic Director, Maples Rep.

 

Of Mice and Men opens Friday, June 24th on the main stage at Maples Rep in Macon, MO.  This American classic is a snapshot of Depression-era migrant workers and a tale about a tragic friendship. Two drifters, the opportunistic George and his friend Lenny, the gentle giant, travel the roads of northern California with delusions of living off the “fat of the land.” John Steinbeck wrote the novel and adapted it for the stage in 1937. It was a slice-of-life drama in its time and continues to resonate with students, readers and playgoers as a universal meditation on power, hope and consequences.

 The play shows us real people, good and bad, and this mixture lets the audience know that the world portrayed in Of Mice and Men is real. Steinbeck does not fall into the trap of describing all those with power as evil. He has created characters with serious weaknesses and with great strengths but his real interest is in people who are oppressed and weak, yearning and failing to take control of their lives.

 “The Royal Theatre is a great, intimate space to see such a moving story” says Maples Rep Artistic Director Todd Davison, “even if people are very familiar with this story, they will experience it in a new way.  With actors from New York, Chicago, Orlando, Missouri and Alberta the cast of this production, under the direction of Maples Rep veteran, Brandon McShaffrey, has wide experience to bring to their portrayals.”

 Of Mice and Men runs through July 17 in rotating repertory with Ring of Fire:  The Music of Johnny Cash, a musical about love and faith; struggle and success; rowdiness and redemption; and home and family. On July 15th one of heroes of the Bible–Joseph–takes the stage in the hit show Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The Biblical saga of Joseph and his coat of many colors comes to vibrant life in a delightful musical parable for the whole family.

In between and after the Maples Rep main stage productions are: Afterglows, Sunday Dinners, Cabarets, Kid’s Shows and Kid’s Theatre Camps.  For more information and to order tickets call the Maples Rep Box Office at 660-385-2924, order online at http://www.maplesrep.com/, or go by the theatre located on the corner of Rubey and Vine in Macon, Missouri.

The Man in Black Kicks Off Maples Repertory Season

download

ONE WEEK! Can you believe it?! Maples Rep 2016 Season begins on June 15th with the opening of Ring of Fire:  The Music of Johnny Cash which features the music made famous by The Man in Black. Songs like “I Walk the Line, “ “A Boy Named Sue,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” and the title tune “Ring of Fire” take audiences on an inspired musical journey that is a foot-stompin’, crowd-pleasin’ salute to an American legend. From the iconic songbook of Johnny Cash comes this musical about love and faith, struggle and success, rowdiness and redemption, and home and family. Call now or visit our website to reserve your tickets!

Location:  Maples Repertory Theatre (102 N Rubey St, Macon, MO  63552)

Ticket Prices:  $27 (Main Floor)  $22 (Balcony)

Box Office:  660-385-2924 or http://www.maplesrep.com