Grace E-Free to present musical

MASON CITY — The musical “Rocky Mountain Christmas” will be presented Dec. 4-7 at Grace Evangelical Free Church, 440 N. Illinois Ave.

The musical is written and directed by Wendy Mahoney of Mason City. Performances are 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $3, available at Hy-Vee East and West and the church office.

“We performed this one nine years ago,” Mahoney said, adding it took her three  years to write. She has directed the church’s musicals and plays for the past 19 years.

“This summer, I picked it up again, along with Sadie Wunderlich. She was kind of my writing partner on the rewrite.”

The story is set at the Flying W Ranch in Colorado, and features cowboy music. Mahoney said it has a Roy Rogers/Gene Autry flavor, and it’s not country.

“Cowboys don’t twang and they don’t slide.”

She took her inspiration from the Flying W Wranglers of Colorado Springs.

“I picked up one of their albums and fell in love with it. It’s all cowboy music, written by cowboys.”

The Flying W Wranglers run a steak house in Colorado Springs, performing nightly.

Mahoney contacted them, asking if she could use their music in a church musical. She sent them a copy of the script, and they loved it.

The story centers around a peaceful place that gets all stirred up when a stranger comes around. There’s a heart sick cowboy and a feisty little guy that follows the ranch hands like a puppy.  And everyone’s in love with the rancher’s daughter.

Elsie Wunderlich makes her second appearance in “Rocky Mountain Christmas.” Nine years ago, she played the child. This time around, she plays the child’s mother.

“Our church does a lot of theater. We now have a number of people in our church that are getting pretty experienced,” Mahoney said.

The cast features Nick Foley, Elsie Wunderlich, Daniel Daugherty, Adam Hines, and Kelli Ogaard in lead roles. Supporting roles are played by Mark Mahoney, Abe Hackman, Jeanette Bram, Simeon Mahoney, Corrine Muyskens, Erin Burt, Crystal Egland and Jeff Wise.

Although the Flying W Wranglers had produced an album, there was no written music available, according to Mahoney.

“The band developed the arrangements under Dan Pennington’s guidance.”

The Ranch Hand Band features Dan Pennington (mandolin), Nick Daugherty (guitar), Nancy Erickson (upright bass), Diane Wunderlich (fiddle), and Gary Roath (harmonica). Other musicians are Jacob Burton; Sue, Molly and Katie Daugherty, Don Harrison, Sophia Benjegerdes, Caleb and Kalina Davis, Mary Claire Wunderlich, Joshua Drury, Isaac Hackman, Mary Stevens, Lucy Hook.

The crew is Julia Bahls, Angela and Karl Benjegerdes, Emily Hackman, Brian Trettin, Eric Schaefer, and Evie Ocheltree.

“I think you’ll find the music warming, the story compelling, the atmosphere so down home that you’ll want to slip off your shoes, unbutton your collar, and relax with the folks from the ‘Rocky Mountain Christmas’.”

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