2020 Showboat season revives favorites

File photoClinton Area Showboat Theatre actors head for their dressing rooms for a costume change during “The Who’s Tommy.” The Showboat’s 2020 season will include “The Addams Family,” “Barefoot in the Park” and “Always... Patsy Cline.”

CLINTON – The 2020 season of Clinton Area Showboat Theatre is a repeat of shows that have thrilled audiences during the Showboat’s past 30 seasons.

The theme “Faded Pictures from our Scrapbook” embraces the Showboat’s history, bringing new life to old shows for new audiences and devoted Showboat followers.

The Showboat Theatre professional acting company introduced the 2020 lineup during the Season Announcement Follies last month. Producing and Artistic Director Matthew Teague Miller also announced the lineup before performances of “Shout! The Mod Musical” last week.

The season will begin with “Big River, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” June 4-14. The musical is based on Mark Twain’s 1884 novel “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”and features the bluegrass and country styles of Roger Miller, who composed the music.

According to the Roger Miller official website, former Yale drama professor Rocco Landesman, a huge Roger Miller fan, conceived the idea that Miller should write a Broadway score and that the “Adventures of Huckelberry Finn” would be the perfect vehicle.

Landesman approached Miller’s wife after a performance by Miller at Lone Star Cafe in New York and she encouraged him to write Miller a letter about the proposal. Miller says, “He made me an offer I couldn’t understand.”

About a year later, following several letters, Rogers was onboard with the project. Landesman commissioned William Hauptman to adapt Twain’s book, and Miller wrote the lyrics and music.

“Big River” opened at Harvard’s American Repertory Theatre and then moved to La Jolla, California where a young John Goodman played the role of Huck’s father. On April 25, 1985, Big River opened at New York’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre. The play earned seven Tony Awards including best score for Miller.

The Showboat last performed “Big River” in 2010 as part of the 75th anniversary celebration for the riverboat.

From June 18 through July 5, “The Addams Family” will take the Showboat stage. The musical tells the story of a grown-up Wednesday Addams who brings her normal boyfriend to meet her parents.

With music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and the book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, the show opened on Broadway in April 2010 with Nathan Lane as Gomez and Bebe Neuwirth as Morticia.

In addition to Gomez, Morticia and Wednesday Addams, the musical features other favorite characters from the television series including Pugsley, Fester and Lurch.

The third show of the Faded Pictures season will be Neil Simon’s non-musical “Barefoot in the Park.” The story is probably best known by the Robert Redford and Jane Fonda film, the Showboat’s artistic director said last week.

The romantic comedy tells the story of newlyweds Corie and Paul as they begin married life in a small apartment in Manhattan. Paul is strait-laced while his bride is more of a free spirit.

The play opened on Broadway in 1963 and closed in 1967 after 1,530 performances. It was Simon’s longest-running hit and the 10th-longest running non-musical play in Broadway history.

“Always… Patsy Cline” is the fourth show of the 2020 season, scheduled for July 23 through Aug. 2. “Always… Patsy Cline tells the true story of the friendship between Cline and Louise Seger, a fan. Seger narrates the story of the day in 1961 when she met Cline at Houston’s Esquire Ballroom. Cline kept in touch with Seger by mail until Cline died in a private plane crash in 1963 at the age of 30.

“Always,” written by Ted Swindley, includes many of Cline’s hits, such as “Crazy,” “I Fall to Pieces” and “Walking After Midnight.”

The Showboat’s 2020 season will end with a play that hasn’t been seen on its stage in more than 20 years, according to Matthew Teague Miller, and requires two actors to play the entire cast of more than 20 characters.

“Greater Tuna”, written by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard, debuted in Austin, Texas in fall 1981 and off Broadway in 1982. The comedy about Texas’ third-smallest town, where the Lion’s Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies, is a satire on life in rural America.

According to the official “Greater Tuna” website, the show began as a simple party skit based on a political cartoon. Showboat actors will perform the play Aug. 6-16.

Tickets for the 2020 season go on sale May 16 for season ticket holders and group reservations and May 19 for all other reservations.

A native of Centerville, Winona comes to the Clinton Herald after writing for the Ottumwa Courier for two years.