|Theatre buffs are encouraged to support the Joplin Little Theatre, the oldest continuously running community theatre west of the Mississippi as it enters its 73rd anniversary season.
The JLT's 2012-2013 season includes:
- Aug. 11 & 15-19, 2012 (note revision) - 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee with music and lyrics by William Finn and book by Rachel Sheinkin is a Tony Award-winning comedy directed locally by Carolyn McGowan. It centers around a fictional spelling bee set in the geographically ambiguous Putnam Valley Middle School where six quirky adolescents compete in the bee run by three equally weird grown-ups. Audience participation--four are invited on stage--is part of the fun.
Auditions are June 4 and 5 at 7 p.m. at JLT; needed are 5-9 men and 4-5 women, ages 18 to 55. Dance is minimal; six actors are needed to sing like children. Rehearsals are held at the Pinocchio School of Dance in Webb City.
- Dec. 5-9, 2012 - Over the River and Through the Woods by Joe DePietro, directed locally by Ann G. Lile, is a hilarious family comedy involving Nick, a single Italian-American guy living in New Jersey in constant contact with two sets of controlling grandparents who scheme to keep him nearby after he tells them he is moving to Seattle because of a job offer. His parents, by the way, have retired and moved to "Floriday" to get away.
Auditions for Over the River and Through the Woods will take place Oct. 1-2, 2012, at 7 p.m. Director Ann G. Lile is looking for two mature actors and two mature actresses for the roles of the grandparents. The role of Nick requires an actor in his 30s and of Caitlin, an actress in her late 20s. Auditions will consist of cold readings from script.
- Jan. 23-27, 2013 - Laundry and Bourbon/Lone Star by the late James M. McLure brings together two one-act plays with complementing themes: three female friends drinking bourbon and coke gossiping about the secrets of Maynard, Texas while folding laundry are contrasted with three male counterparts sitting in the backyard of the small town bar revealing the other side of the story. Kevin Babbitt directs.
- Mar. 20-24, 2013 - Godspell by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak, directed locally by Jim Lile, is a modern day musical version of the gospels, opening with John the Baptist calling a disparate group of young people out of their everyday lives to follow him and learn from Jesus as a roving acting troupe that enacts the parables through song and dance, comedy and mime. Jesus' ministry ends with a last supper, crucifixion in a junkyard and his body being carried aloft.
- May 15-19, 2013 - Murder's Bad, But Monday Can Kill You, one of the many plays by Pat Cook featuring detective Harry Monday directed locally by Chet Fritz, this time brings the Sam Spade wannabe to the Restful Glen Psychiatric Annex where all the murder suspects have multiple personalities and the three murder victims turn out to be the same guy.
Season tickets are now on sale and may be purchased up to the opening night of the first show; subscribers must select a night to attend each performance although tickets may be exchanged in person for another night of the same show. Tickets are non-refundable. The cost of an adult ticket for the season is $65; student and senior citizen, $55; and patron, $75 (with recognition in each playbill). The cost of a life membership is $1,500 per person and may be paid in three consecutive yearly installments of $500. Subscriptions may now be ordered through an online ticketing service. For questions about ticketing send an e-mail here.
Fund raisers are planned
Tickets for the following shows are $10 each and my be reserved through the Joplin Little Theatre box office.
- Sept. 21-23, 2012 - The Downtown Gym, a play written and directed by Dee Timi
- Nov. 10-11, 2012 - Let's Swing! A Tribute to the Music of the 1940s, an encore performance conceived and directed by Cecie Fritz
- Feb. 2013 - Check specific dates for a Valentine Concert directed by Carolyn McGowan and Matthew Holt
Advertise in playbill
Various-sized advertisements may be placed for the 2012-13 season. The running ads will be inserted in playbills that are distributed at each performance. For more details call the theatre at (417) 623-3638 or send an e-mail here.
Two homes for JLT
A group of thespians during the 1930s staged plays at the high school in Joplin, the Paramount Theatre, the Scottish Rite Temple, or anywhere else with space for a stage. The Joplin Little Theatre was incorporated in 1939. Park Playhouse, whose structure originally was an old riding academy, was purchased in November 1946 from investments in victory bonds and a gift from George A. Spiva. On 20 lots just north of Schifferdecker Park, the playhouse has been renovated to what it is today.
Adding to the pot
For a $250 donation a plaque will be attached to the back of an available seat of your choice with the money raised going toward the purchase of new auditorium seating. At that time all the name plaques will be moved to the new seats.
In addition, gift certificates are available for purchase as well as having inscribed a tile for the lobby floor for a $1,000 donation. Phone the box office for details.
Of course, besides new faces for tryouts, volunteers are always needed as set builders, painters, scenic and lighting designers, costumers and backstage crews.
For a link to a Joplin Globe article announcing the 2011-12 Encore Awards go here.
The Joplin Little Theatre is located at 3009 W. First St., west of Schifferdecker Avenue.