Marshalltown Community Theatre

Bringing Quality Theater to the Heart of Iowa!

PRESS RELEASE:  Partnership allows for a FREE matinee performance for all 5th graders in Marshalltown!

The Marshalltown Community Theatre and the NOT IN OUR TOWN, Marshalltown Project are proud to announce their collaboration with the Marshalltown Community School District and The Arts and Children Together program to provide a matinee performance of the theater’s upcoming production of “THE HUNDRED DRESSES”, by Mary Hall Surface. 

Adapted from the book by Eleanor Estes, the play is a timeless tale about the power of words and finding the courage to stand up to others; even if it means standing alone. 

This powerful story, set in 1938, is about the treatment of a newly arrived immigrant family from Poland and the effects on both Wanda, the target of merciless bullying, and Maddie, a friend who chooses to stand by and do nothing. According to Karen Roessler, that is why she chose to direct it this season. 

Roessler says “as soon as members of the NIOT, Marshalltown Project and the Arts and Children Together program learned of its theme and content, they were on board. Because the story addresses so many issues facing communities like ours, we knew we wanted as many youth as possible be given the chance to see it. It really is a story people will not soon forget.” She adds “the idea for providing a matinee during the school day really fell together quickly and thanks to NIOT and the Arts and Children Together project more than $1900 in funding was raised within just a few days to provide busing and royalty fees for every fifth grader in Marshalltown to attend.” 

The play centers around Wanda Petronski, the new girl at school, who wears the same faded blue dress to school every day but insists she has a hundred bright, shiny new ones at home. As Wanda’s story unfolds, her classmates learn the secret of the hundred dresses and with it, a lesson in tolerance, in taking responsibility, and in living with the consequences of one’s actions. 

Rick Gooding, MCT Board President, states “we were eager to introduce our community’s youth to the arts and live theater in new and exciting ways and this play really fit the bill. It was chosen because of its powerful portrayal of the American dream, discrimination, prejudice and diversity. Because the play is about a regular twelve year old girl and her friends, youth will be able to see, first hand, their peers memorizing lines and acting right in front of them. It’s an exciting opportunity and we are honored to be a part of this collaboration. It will help us engage, educate, and entertain a whole new generation of theater goers and provide a valuable lesson about friendship, courage and creativity too!” 

After discussions with the Marshalltown School District, permission has been granted and a morning matinee performance is now slated for Thursday, February 19th during the school day. Public performances for the play will be February 20, 21, 27 and 28 at 7:30 PM and February 22 at 2:00 PM at the Martha-Ellen Tye Playhouse. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. Community cast members are of all ages and include Ellie Draisey, Audrey Roush, Ashley Macbeth, Sydney Hotchkiss, T. J. Whitehead, Jesse DeMeyer, Hayley Rauzi, Sara Curtin-Mosher, Ken Walton, James Sylvester, and Kevin Lageschulte with youth assistant stage managers Chloe Whitehead and Mackenzie Moyer.

 


Receives grant for summer musical!

The Marshalltown Community Theatre group is proud to announce it has received a grant from the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation in the amount of $20,165 to produce the hit Broadway musical Peter Pan. The production of this timeless classic will enable our community to “fly away” to Neverland and will also be the basis of a week-long summer youth theater performance camp.  

The Marshalltown Community Theatre group (MCT) stages four major productions and a summer musical each season on the stage of the Martha-Ellen Tye Playhouse in Marshalltown, Iowa. It is the only all-volunteer, non-profit live theater company in the area. In addition, the organization provides educational outreach through readers’ theaters, one act shows and special events. With the awarded grant, the group plans to provide five public performances of the musical Peter Pan on July 24th, 25th, 26th, 31st and August 1st and plans to provide a special free performance for youth on Sunday, August 2nd. In addition, the group will provide a week-long summer youth performance camp for kids ages seven through fourteen on July 27th through 31st utilizing a Peter Pan theme. 

“Peter Pan is a huge undertaking”, states Shannon Mitchell, marketing liaison for MCT, “because not only does the musical’s royalties supersede our entire regular summer musical budget, but it warrants our need to hire a rigging company to ‘fly’ the actors on stage. With a larger than average set construction budget, large cast costuming requirements (the crocodile costume and light up sword are $700 alone), and expansive lighting and visual effect needs, the production will come at a cost of more than what we normally spend all season. It’s a story so magical…it actually takes flight! “ 

The musical will require a cast of more than 35 actors, singers, and dancers of all ages, and will require dozens of back stage crew members for sound, lighting, set construction, and fly crew. In addition, the musical calls for a live orchestra. The group plans to call upon interested members of the community to volunteer their skills and expertise throughout the entire production process. Auditions are scheduled for Saturday, May 16th and Sunday, May 17th. Community-minded adult back stage volunteers are invited to attend an informational meeting on Thursday, May 14th. Rehearsals will begin June 1st. 

Mitchell states “with the approval of this grant, MCT will now be able to engage, educate, and entertain a whole new generation of theater lovers and provide services to our community that it has not normally been able to provide. To say we are honored and excited about this endeavor is really just an understatement… because we are truly THRILLED to be given this opportunity and cannot wait to see it all unfold.” 

The production will be directed by Rick Gooding and Shannon Mitchell. Kimberlee Kups-Benson will serve as choreographer, Andrew Geyssens as music director, sound and lighting design by Grant Gale and set design by Kevin Lageschulte. Shannon Mitchell and Laura Stansberry will direct the youth camp. 

For more information or to volunteer, call Rick or Shannon at (641) 752-4601, visit MCT’s website at www.marshalltowncommunitytheatre.org or visit the group via Facebook at Marshalltown Community Theatre.  


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