Okoboji season off to great start
Okoboji Summer Theatre—Stephens’ off-site professional stock theatre company—is in full swing after a successful opening to its 56th season on June 11.
“The energy on the lot is extraordinary this year,” artistic director Dan Schultz said.
Okoboji is an intensive 10-week theatre program during which Stephens theatre students explore all aspects of professional theatre, including stage management, costuming and public relations, while working alongside professional guest artists. This summer’s guests include director Rich Cole, a casting director from New York City who has cast more than 900 productions for Broadway, regional theatres and national tours; Nancy Rominger, the associate artistic director of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival; and Travis Mitchell, an actor joining directly from the national tour of “Catch Me if You Can.”
“All of our guest artists were selected because of their incredible talent, of course, but also because they are the type of professionals we want our students to be exposed to and ultimately become,” Schultz said. “There is great excitement among the student company about the guests they get to work with, and our guests are thrilled to be working with our students because they are bright-eyed, well-prepared and full of questions.”
“Don’t Dress for Dinner,” a farce by Marc Camoletti, kicked off this year’s season, one of five comedies planned this year. The company will also produce three musicals and a thriller. The unifying theme explores the lengths to which people go in pursuit of their passions.
"We’ve included lots of crowd-pleasing entertainment with roles that challenge our students and professional guest artists,” Schultz said. “It’s a group of plays we hope will get people out of the house, off the lake and into the theatre.”
Okoboji is in Spirit Lake, Iowa, about seven hours from Columbia. It’s part of the Iowa Great Lakes, a great vacation destination with quality hotels, local restaurants and bars, golfing and “a clean, gorgeous blue water lake,” Schultz said. “It’s a nice spot for a relaxing getaway. And, as an added bonus, you can see great theatre done by some really talented people.”
Tickets can be reserved through the Okoboji Summer Theatre website.
Here’s a look at the remaining Okoboji season:
- “Circle Mirror Transformation” (PG-13)
8 p.m., June 18-21; 4:30 and 8 p.m., June 22; 6 p.m., June 23
This quirky new comedy features four strangers who take a community acting course together.
- “Bingo! The Winning Musical” (PG)
8 p.m., June 25-28; 4:30 and 8 p.m., June 29; 6 p.m., June 30
In this funny and interactive new musical, three ladies will stop at nothing to play their weekly bingo game.
- “Angel Street” (PG)
8 p.m., July 2-5; 4:30 p.m., July 4; 4:30 and 8 p.m., July 6; 6 p.m., July 7
This Victorian thriller and entertaining mystery keeps audiences in suspense up to the shocking ending.
- “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” (G)
8 p.m., July 9-11; 4:30 and 8 p.m., July 12-13; 6 p.m., July 14
A must-see musical featuring the mystique of Sinatra and the music he made famous. Reserve now: the show is selling so well, a matinee has been added.
- “I Hate Hamlet” (PG-13)
8 p.m., July 16-19; 4:30 and 8 p.m., July 20; 6 p.m., July 21
A hilarious comedy about a famous actor who gets the chance to play Hamlet—a character he hates. His dilemma deepens when the ghost of stage legend John Barrymore shows up.
- “The Importance of Being Earnest” (G)
8 p.m., July 23-26; 4:30 and 8 p.m., July 27; 6 p.m., July 28
Oscar Wilde’s classic tale of mistaken identities has entertained audiences of all ages for years.
- “The 39 Steps” (PG)
8 p.m., July 30-Aug. 2; 4:30 and 8 p.m., Aug 3; 6 p.m., Aug 4
This comedic and fast-paced play retells Hitchcock’s famous film.
- “The Drowsy Chaperone” (PG)
8 p.m., Aug. 6-9; 4:30 and 8 p.m., Aug. 10; 6 p.m., Aug. 11
This old-fashioned musical has it all: Love, comedy and great musical performances.