You can’t say that Cedar Summerstock Theater doesn’t adapt.
After canceling its 2020 season due to the pandemic, there was no way Cedar Summerstock founder and artistic director Nancy Lee and crew was going to let the 2021 summer pass by without live musical theater.
And so it will be – big time. “Seussical,” a fun look at the famous children’s author, Dr. Seuss, opens on June 16.
The first two shows of this season will be held outside – and one of them is in a quarry. The decision was made to do the early shows outside due to Covid-19 concerns. The last two shows return to the stage at the Cedar River Complex in Osage, at the Krapek Family Fine Arts Center.
Outdoor performances are a challenge, but CST will easily meet the logistical issues related to sets, sound and lighting, Lee said. That will happen in large part to the crackerjack staff and troupe selected for this season’s shows. A widening circle of college fine arts students has heard about the unique Iowa theater – the only one of its kind in the Upper Midwest, Lee said – and want to be a part.
“And the quality just keeps getting better and better,” she added.
The actors, she said, are “all so incredibly talented.”
Directors Craig Johnson, C Ryan Shipley and Lee will all direct shows; Barb Portinga also returns as the costume designer, as does wardrober Angie Klaes. Sue Ellen Berger also returns as production coordinator and light designer. New staff includes Robin McIntyre, who will serve as technical director and scenic designer, and choreographers Joey Miller and Heidi Noble. Marti Steele once again is the company manager.
• “Seussical” – Opens June 16 with performances split between the garden area at South Square in St. Ansgar and City Park in Osage. The fun event will feature Mitchell County kids with the college troupe in bringing the Dr. Seuss characters to life.
Seussical times will vary due to the change in venues. For more, go to: cedarsummerstock.org:
Location: South Square, 202 South Washington Street, Saint Ansgar
Time and date: 7 p.m., June 16-17 and 10 a.m., June 18
Location: Osage City Park Band Shell, 809 Sawyer Drive, Osage
Time and date: 2 p.m., June 20 and 27 and 7 p.m., June 23, 24 and 26
Those attending “Seussical” and “Godspell” should bring lawn chairs if possible – but there will be some on hand at the venue.
Tickets: In lieu of season tickets, a four-performance pass will be used to offer more flexibility for theater-goers. Season tickets purchased for the 2020 season will be honored this summer.
For more and to order tickets, go to: www.cedarsummerstock.org or by calling the box office at 763-312-8319.
• “Godspell” – Opens July 1 at the Duenow Quarry near St. Ansgar. Yes, a quarry – a great setting for a story that follows the life of Jesus based on the Gospel of Matthew. The show – wildly popular and often presented – celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
• “Addams Family” – Opens July 15 at the CRC. “The show is fun, witty, and fast-moving,” Lee said. The show follows the creepy-but-funny adventures (Wednesday’s wedding to a “normal” guy!) of the Addams Family. Mitchell County high school students will join the cast for this show.
• “Regarding Broadway” – Opens July 29 at the CRC. Craig Johnson and C Ryan Shipley co-wrote this rollicking show whose fun springs from the vaudeville tradition of dance, skits, and lots of lively and familiar music. An added bonus will be the first-ever Cedar Arts Fest that will be held prior to Saturday performances on July 31 and Aug. 7 in the CRC atrium and the nearby Mitchell County Historical Museum – so audience-goers are urged to come early and enjoy the fest.
All involved are excited about returning to the stage, Lee said.
“In fact, this is going to be our pinnacle year,” she said, adding the cancellation of the season a year ago has made people even more hungry for live theater. There is increased enthusiasm about the return of performances this year.”