July 9, 2008

Spring Grove’s 30th Annual Ye Olde Opera House Show Expands to Include Everyone

By Geri Parlin, La Crosse Tribune, Wis.

Jul. 9--SPRING GROVE, Minn. -- Impossible things happen every day in Spring Grove, where the tiny community is gathering its resources and volunteers to put on its 30th anniversary summer show. This year, Ye Olde Opera House is presenting "Cinderella," a delightful frolic of a musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein that features such songs as "Ten Minutes Ago,""In My Own Little Corner" and "Impossible."

"It's such an amazingly wonderful story," said Director Kay Cross. "It's not a complicated story," she said, but it gives her the opportunity to cast people ranging in age from 5 to 60. And that's what community theater is all about, she said.

"I'm all for stretching our actors, but every so often we need to do a show that's pure fun and pure joy to see. And everybody loves the Cinderella story. I remember watching it as a kid and being mesmerized by it. And the music is absolutely beautiful. It's so singable. The audience, they'll go home singing it."

Though there are many beautiful ballads in the show, Cross picks a comedy number as her favorite. "It's classic comedic theater" when the stepsisters sing "Why Would a Fella Want a Girl Like Her," Cross said.

"We're so blessed with amazing singers. Our Queen (Rachel Grippen) is an opera singer. She is so accomplished and sings so exquisitely. It adds this beautiful element to it."

Because 70 people auditioned for the show and Cross couldn't fit that many on the stage in Ye Olde Gray Barn, she took the extra people and turned them into a preshow extravaganza, "a little bit like a Renaissance fair, but it's atypical because we're going to have a dog show."

She also created a children's choir, and there will be a juggler and a wandering minstrel.

"I couldn't put them all in the show, and it broke my heart," Cross said, so this seemed like a good alternative.


What: Ye Olde Opera House celebrates its 30th anniversary with Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella"

When: 8:30 p.m. July 16-20. Dinner on the Green will be a medieval feast served each evening starting at 6:30 p.m. While you feast, you will be entertained by jugglers, strolling minstrels and a dog show. Where: Ye Olde Gray Barn at the east edge of Spring Grove, Minn., on Hwy. 44

Tickets: Reserved seats are available for $10, call (507) 498-JULY. General admission seats also are available at the gate for $5 for students and $10 for adults. Seating is available, or bring your own lawn chair for general admission. BONUS: Anyone who comes dressed in a costume from "Cinderella" will have their name entered into a drawing for a prize.

Geri Parlin can be reached at [email protected] or (608) 791-8225.


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