Bluff City Theater's gala features cabaret, season continuing with plays by teens

Bluff City Theater's season will continue May 25-26 with three original plays by local teens in its Youth Mentorship Program. Mentor Gale Rublee is pictured with YMP members, who volunteered as servers at the gala.
By Bev Darr, Hannibal Courier-Post Reporter
Posted: May. 20, 2019 6:28 pm

The crowd shared foods from local restaurants and viewed a cabaret performance at the annual Bluff City Theater's “Life On The River” gala May 17 at the American Legion Hall. They also supported the theater, in its fifth season, at an auction of donated items and events.

One cabaret act was “Two Twains Running,” performed by local actors Clark Cruikshank and Richard Garey. (Garey's “Mark Twain Himself “ performances are scheduled through Sept. 28 at his Planters Barn Theater.).

Also performing at the gala were actors Taylor Pietz and Donna Weinsting, with Nic Waldez of St. Louis serving as the music director.

Jim Quinlin served as auctioneer, seeking bids for numerous donated services and items.

As dinner was served, Cruikshank, who served as emcee, said he will portray Mark Twain in the next adult theater production, and he also wrote the script.

This play is the “Insane Sisters,” or “The Price Paid for Challenging a Company Town,” from the book by local author Gregg Andrews, who will attend performances. Andews wrote the true story of two sisters whose lives at Ilasco were complicated by the Atlas Portland Cement Company'sdesire to buy their property.

It will be performed at Bluff City Theater, 212 Broadway, on the last two weekends in June. For ticket details, call 573-719-3226 or see the website bluffcitytheater.com for more details. Joe Anderson is the theater's artistic producer and executive director.

The public is invited to four productions by local youth. Performances will begin at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 25 and 26 at Bluff City Theater. The plays are free, with donations accepted for the theater's youth programs.

Each performance will include three one-act plays written for the Twain on Main Festival by teen members of the Youth Mentorship Program (YMP). This program is part Bluff City Theater’s Youth Education Theater Initiative (YETI).

Each play takes place at different periods in Hannibal’s history.

The play “A New Start” by Sophia Dwight of Hannibal High School is set on Fifth Street in 1996 and features two sisters who have had a hard home life.

Pentagon March” by Kaitlin Buckwalter of Palmyra Middle School takes place at the Mark Twain Dinette in October of 1967 before the Vietnam protest known as the Pentagon March. A conflict arises between two close friends when one wants to go to the march and one wants her to stay.

Train Stop” by Hana Amirdash and Jorie Thompson of Hannibal Middle School is about a young girl of a prominent Hannibal family in the 1930s who is being forced to work in a shoe factory. When she decides to run away, she meets a lady at the train station who has her own story of hardship.

YMP was founded in August 2018 and began researching national and Hannibal history to write original plays in honor of Hannibal’s Bicentennial. The purpose of YMP is to give local teens the opportunity to produce their own shows from the ground up.

Cast and crew will include all of the above, plus stage manager Gavin Outlaw (Bowling Green Middle School), Riah Wigfall (Hannibal Middle School), Katie Reddick (Palmyra Middle School), Kelsey Lightle (Veterans Elementary), Alana Lemon (St. John’s Lutheran Middle School), and adults LeAnn Behymer and Carrie Amirdash. BCT mentors are Gale Rublee and Joe Anderson. For more information call 573-719-3226 or email yeti@bluffcitytheater.com.

See photo gallery for more pictures of the Life On The River gala.


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