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A Musical based on the play "Rodeside" by LYNN RIGGS

May - June 2012

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Off the Wall Theatre closed it's 2011-2012 season by presenting the midwest premiere of the very last musical written by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, the creators of the world famous "The Fantasticks." The show is called ROADSIDE. It is a warm and fuzzy, funny and sassy country western musical based on a play by Lynn Riggs, the woman who wrote the book that became "Oklahoma."

ROADSIDE concerns a traveling theatrical company during the last days of the old west. This rag-tag group of performers present a folk tale show about a happy go lucky wanderer and his wild daughter who value their freedom above all else. Hannie, the daughter, turns down the constant offers of Buzzy, a farmer who wants her to settle down with him. She has bigger dreams. She wants a man as ornery as she is, and she meets him in the person of Texas, one of the last of the "true" cowboys in a changing world. The romance of Texas and Hannie is the stuff of legends. They don't court, so much as try to tame each other. Their verbal and physical battles create an evening of high comedy and great theatre. 

And the score for the show is one of the best Schmidt and Jones have ever written. Foot stomping dance numbers and beautiful ballads that will tug at your heart strings. 

Along with Pap, Hannie, Texas and Buzzy, The cast of characters includes the Town Marshall, determined to arrest Texas and keep the peace, the Ikes, very unlikely identical twins who sing and dance, the Widow Foster, and Neb the citizens of Vertigree, and a rootin-tootin stage band with a fiddle, a mandolin and a harmonica. 

With all the magic of "The Fantasticks," and all the fun of "The Grand Old Opry," or "The Prairie Home Companion,"ROADSIDE offers everything you could want in musical theatre, and popcorn to boot. In fact, one of the show stopping tunes in the show concerns "Uncle Billy's Popcorn." 

Director Dale Gutzman assembled his usual excellent cast to tell this musical comedy story. David Flores played the head of the traveling theatre company and Pap in the story they tell. Sharon Rise played Hannie, his spunky daughter. Robert Hirschi played Texas, and the multi-talented Jeremy Welter played Buzzy. As the town Marshall, Tairre Christopherson did his second show at Off the Wall, joined by Kurtis Witzelsteiner and Glen Quarrie as the Ikes and Kristen Pagenkopf and Tom Welcenbach as town citizens. Sandy Lewis performed a dozen thankless tasks including selling popcorn and spraying perfume fumes at required moments. 

Highly regarded musical director Donna Kummer put together a crazy on-stage band each of whose members played numerous instruments. And Technical wizard, David Roper created an old time Wild West Vaudeville like atmosphere out of the intimate theatre space.