:fyi: Theater for Young Audiences following the Ingalls to 'Silver Lake'
"Westward ho!" was the cry that rang across the Great Plains when the Homestead Act of 1862 opened up the Dakota Territory to white settlers. In "Little House by the Shores of Silver Lake," Theater for Young Audiences and Acuity and the Arts will tell the story of the Ingalls, who join the thundering wave of wagons rolling west to claim land and build a railroad.
Performances are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 20 and 21, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 21 and 22.
"This is a great story for the whole family," artistic director Deb Sabol-Williams said. "Many are familiar with the 'Little House on the Prairie' television series. Most Sheboygan county kids read the 'Little House' books, visit Heritage School, the county museum's log cabin and the Wade House as part of their Wisconsin social studies."
In cooperation with the Little House Heritage Trust, playwright Phillip blue owl-Hooser tells his version of this Newbery Honor winner from the perspective of daughter Mary blinded by scarlet fever. Blue owl-Hooser offers a a tintype of both hard-working pioneers and greedy scoundrels who established farms, towns and the railroad on the prairie. The loss of buffalo and land resulting in the displacement of the native people provides a historical backdrop.
"In Little House by the Shores of Silver Lake," the Ingalls — Charles (Shawn Mulroney), Caroline (Susan Johnson), Mary (Taylor Nye), Laura (Sara Leick), and Carrie (Kaitlyn Mulroney) are on the move from Walnut Grove, Minn., to De Smet, S.D. They follow Aunt Docia (Lorraine Selinski) to the railroad camp where Charles takes a job, befriends Big Jerry (Ben Buchannan) and runs into trouble with Chester, an angry railroad worker (Austin Justinger). A blizzard expectedly brings old friends Mr. and Mrs. Boast (Bob Margrett and Bernice Justinger) and the Rev. Alden (Jeff Kelm) to their home for shelter. Christy Zimmermann plays the part of Miss Mattice.
The production team has immersed itself in the 1870s to re-create pioneer life on the Great Plains. The play is staged by Sabol-Williams. Set and lighting design are provided by Tony Olson. Sound designer Drew Foerster has been working off of songs the family sang in Ingalls' original story.
Costume and make-up designer Deb Kosup-Kennedy has received help from the docents at the Wade House. For props master Rachel Baas, "It's been an adventure exploring the barn and out buildings of a friend in Manitowoc County. I've had a great time discovering wagon wheels, plows, butter churns and 19th-century items we need for our play."
Reserved seats at $8 are now on sale for this family show sponsored in part by the Kohler Co. Youth group rates are available upon request.
All performances will be at the the University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan Fine Arts Theatre.
To place an order by credit card, call 458-8184. Mail order forms are available at www.tyasheboygan.org. The box office located in the lobby of the Fine Arts Theatre will be open for in-person sales only from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 16 and 17, or one hour prior to performances.
Man, I wished I lived near so I could go see this, sounds neat!