Oklahoma! in Harrogate

27 Aug

Throughout the years some remarkable theater productions have been staged at the Duke Hall of Citizenship, the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum’s Arnold Auditorium or even in the dining hall. For years, faculty member Dr. John Irvine, now retired, sat in the director’s chair for the Railsplitters Playmakers Dinner Theatre.

For over 30 years group put on two productions a year. Casts have included faculty, staff, students and community members. Productions of plays such as Crimes of the Heart, the female version of The Odd Couple, Steel Magnolias, Bedroom Farce, Love Letters, The Mousetrap, The importance of Being Earnest, The Foreigner and You Can’t Take it With You came to life for all to enjoy. In 2006 the Bell County Chamber of Commerce recognized Irvine and the group with the Cultural Development Award for enriching the culture of the area.

However, a few years ago Dr. Irvine retired from the University and the Railsplitters Playmakers Dinner Theatre came to an end. It was not the end of plays at LMU. Long time technical director for the Railsplitters Playmakers Dinner Theatre Vaughn Schutz and his wife, Sara, stepped up and created the Railsplitter Playhouse. Since then, the Railsplittter Playhouse has presented Love Hurtz, The Curious Savage, The Nerd and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.

This fall, the Railsplitter Playhouse is taking on their most ambitious production yet. Next week director Sara Schutz and musical director Candace Armstrong will be casting for Oklahoma! The Broadway favorite first premiered on the Great White Way in 1943 with and ran for an unprecedented 2,212 straight performances. The epic musical requires a large cast.

Auditions will be held September 1, 2 and 3. They will be held at the Sam and Sue Mars Performing Arts Center in the Duke Hall of Citizenship on LMU’s main campus in Harrogate, Tenn. The times are set for 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on September 1 and 2 and from 2 to 4 p.m. on September 3. They are open to ages 12 and up. Schutz and Armstrong will be casting for actors, singers and dancers, though not all cast members will need to do all there. No prior experience is necessary. The large scope of the production requires a strong commitment from everyone.

Prospective cast members should come to the auditions prepared to sing a short song, read from the script and learn a short dance. Accompaniment will be provided by Armstrong, so prospective cast members are asked to bring your music to your audition. Attendance is only required at one of the audition sessions. Call backs will take place on September 6 at 6:30 p.m. The cast will be set on September 6 and rehearsals start on September 7. Performance dates have been set for November 10, 11, 12, 17, 18 and 19.

For more information please contact Schutz by email at saravaughnschutz@gmail.com or phone at (865) 585-5377 or Armstrong by email at Candace.armstrong@lmunet.eduor phone at (423) 869-6449.

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