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Theatre Groups Announce Upcoming Seasons

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Photo Credit: Michele Skalicky

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/theatre-groups-announce-upcoming-seasons_58804.mp3

Springfield Contemporary Theatre will present The Dixie Swim Club in June, Missouri State University Theatre and Dance will present The Children’s Hour in October and Springfield Little Theatre brings The Little Mermaid Jr. to the Landers in October.  Those are just a few examples of what’s coming to Springfield over the next year.

The Springfield Theatre Alliance, an organization whose members include various Springfield theatre groups, held a press conference in hopes of creating excitement about the productions and a sense of community.

George Cron is president of the Alliance and founder of “A Class Act Productions.  He says Springfield’s theatre community is alive and well…

"It's just thrilling to be part of a theatrical community that is so vibrant and moving so forward, you know, and growing," he said.

Ten organizations announced their lineups today, which Cron says is an impressive number for Springfield. 

Bob Willenbrink, head of theatre and dance at Missouri State University, calls the theatre scene in Springfield “remarkable…”

"The number of shows that are done, the diversity of shows, the cooperation and collaboration between the various institutions is just fantastic," he said.

Willenbrink says deciding what shows to do each year is a lengthy process.  They usually start with between 30 and 50 and then narrow down the choices.  During the school year the focus is on the students…

"What do they need to be exposed to for their education?  And we actually have a matrix, which kind of lays out all the plays from world history of theatre, and we try to do something like that and then we try to make sure that our students are getting a broad education," he said.

Tent Theatre, which is in its 51styear, focuses more on the audience.  Plays this summer at Tent Theatre will include “110 in the Shade,” “Steel Magnolias” and “Damn Yankees.”

Kevin Kleppy is artistic director of the Queen City Collective, an organization that’s been around about three years.  He says they fill in the gaps by putting on plays in unusual places such as parks and bars…

"Unique spaces to tell stories and show theatre for people who may not be familiar with theatre.  We perform different plays that haven't been played here before--sometimes original pieces and also some other more edgy that we can get away with in bars or like at parks," he said.

Out of the many productions coming to Springfield during the 2013-2014 season, only two are the same—Drury and MSU both unknowingly chose to present the play “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress,” which could be referred to as "two theatre departments presenting the same play." 

For KSMU News, I’m Michele Skalicky.