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Theater presents dark comedy 'Arsenic and Old Lace'

Joe Hadsall | Joplin Globe Mar 26, 2017

Joplin Little Theatre's audience-choice season continues with a classic tale of a dysfunctional family. 

“Arsenic and Old Lace” will be presented by the theater from Wednesday until Sunday, April 2. It tells the story of a drama critic who has to deal with a crazy family with a penchant for murder. 

The theater is no stranger to the production: It was presented in 1967 and 1985. Director Gary Roney made his theater debut in the 1967 production as Officer Klein, according to the theater's Facebook page. William Roehling, who plays Mr. Gibbs in the current production, also starred in the previous two. 

Mortimer Brewster, the critic, struggles whether to marry the woman he loves while dealing with the police asking about his family, which includes a brother who believes he is Theodore Roosevelt, two spinster aunts and others. The deluded brother cleans up the mess under the guise of digging the Panama Canal, and the aunts target lonely men with religious affiliations.

The black comedy was written by Joseph Kesselring in 1939. It has been adapted into a famous movie directed by Frank Capra and starring Cary Grant. 

The cast includes James Boone, Dr. Roehling, Molly Burkhart, Rich Roberts, Daniel Pool, Zaq Ezell, Andy DeNoon, Carolyn McGowan, Ashley Trotnic, Sam Hydar, Drew Girouard, Jeremey Wolfe, Koby Levin, Zach Bradley and Shelby Horn.

Want to go? 

"Arsenic and Old Lace" will be presented at Joplin Little Theatre from Wednesday until Sunday, Tickets: $15, $13 for students and seniors, $5 for children. 

Ralphie get your gun: 'Christmas Story' adapted into a musical

Joplin Little Theatre to begin its run Wednesday

Joe Hadsall | Joplin Globe Dec 11, 2016


Carolyn McGowan sees “A Christmas Story” products on store shelves all over town, from pink bunny suits to leg lamps. 

“This show is like a cult,” McGowan said. “I went shopping just today, and there was ‘Christmas Story’ merchandise everywhere.”

The story of Ralphie Parker’s desire for a Red Ryder BB gun has become a holiday tradition — one cable TV station runs the movie continuously during Christmas — and a beloved staple of the season. Known for its nostalgic irreverence and wide-ranging subject matter, the story is just as much about growing up as it is about the Christmas spirit. 

Joplin Little Theatre will present an expanded version of the story in “A Christmas Story: The Musical.” Premiered in 2009 by the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, the musical version adds Broadway flair to the Indiana story. Music and lyrics were written by Pasek and Paul, and the book by Joseph Robinette. 

Many of the movie’s dream sequences are expanded into musical numbers, such as “Ralphie to the Rescue,” where a theme-writing session becomes an all-out battle with a battalion of baddies. Ralphie’s parents also get more story, as his father expounds on his dream of being a crossword champion and his mother talks about everything she gives to her family.

“(In ‘Ralphie to the Rescue’) everyone in the cast is part of a rescue,” McGowan said. “It’s just a fun scene where students have roles in how he rescues everyone, and the only way he can do it is with that BB gun.”

McGowan said Higbee’s, the department store selling the rifle, gets a bigger role in the musical. The expanded dance numbers also require more stage space, meaning the Parkers’ kitchen gets a downsize compared to the nonmusical version. 

The production also includes a cast of more than 20 children who sing and dance. McGowan said the troupe of young actors has performed fantastically. 

The production was delayed by a week after a change in directors. McGowan coordinated with assistant directors Becki Arnall and James Boone, who also plays The Old Man (Ralphie’s father). Angela Lowe is choreographer, Cecie Fritz is music director, and Todd Manley is technical director. 

The cast features Grant Hornek as Ralphie, Marilyn Marshall-Six as his mother, and Elliott Parker as his brother, Randy. Other cast members include Karl R. Wendt, Betsy Stone, Alyssa Graves, Jessica Joseph, Wyatt Hensley, Joey Friel, A.J. Forsythe, Luke Galbraith, Richard Roberts, Kelsey Pottorff, Emilia Campell, Broyden Coots, James Coots, Clayton Dennis, Maddie Forsythe, Carly Friel, Allie Galvan, Nevaeh Galvan, Emily Graves, Vivian Holt, Kolby Matson, Amelia Parker, Mary Parker, Allison Pitts, Daniel Reiter, Ella Schwab, Kennedy Schwab, Cade Sinclair, Justice Stiffler, Brooks Watson, Kylee Burke, Destinee Fowler, McKenna Fry, Angela Graves, Karensue Hensley, Robert Myers, Livvie Riddle, Lauren Riddle, Julie Sinclair, Brett Schwab, Kristy Schwab, Samantha Walker, Jan Watson and Veronica Wynhausen.

Want to go? 

“A Christmas Story: The Musical” will be presented Wednesday through Sunday at Joplin Little Theatre, located at 3009 W. First Ave. Showtimes are at 7:30 Wednesday through Saturday and 2:30 on Sunday. 

Tickets: $15, $13 for students and seniors, $6 for children. 

Details: 417-623-3638.

'Rent' kicks off theater's audience-choice season

Joe Hadsall | Joplin Globe on Sep 16, 2016


A musical’s reputation with theater fans and the number of votes collected during an audience-choice season meant Ashley Trotnic knew to expect a heavy turnout for auditions for a production of “Rent.”

“Out of all the musicals people voted for, ‘Rent’ had the biggest number of votes,” said Trotnic, director of the Joplin Little Theatre production. “In the theater community this musical means a lot more. They can relate to the themes of the show much more deeply.”

The musical is a rock opera that premiered on Broadway in 1996 and won the Tony for Best Musical. Written by Jonathan Larson, it has been adapted into a live filming and a full movie. 

It tells the story of a group of artists living in New York City’s East Village struggling to create careers and survive the trials of life as an epidemic of HIV starts to spread. It is loosely based on the opera “La Boheme” by Giacomo Puccini. 

Trotnic remembered that movie when she was in high school, she said. Enamored with the soundtrack, she and a friend were terrified that the 2005 movie would not play in Joplin theaters. 

“We called the theater every day, asking them if they were going to bring ‘Rent,’” Trotnic said. “We kept calling, and eventually the theater brought it. I saw it with a group of friends multiple times.”

Many of the cast members bring a similar passion for the production, Trotnic said. According to character bios on the theater’s Facebook page, several of the leads have close attachments to the script. Ricardo Field is playing his dream role of Tom Collins, for instance, and Megan Reed, who plays Maureen Johnson, said it is a show filled with topics that need to be discussed. 

Other cast members are Dale Clark, Tanner Munson, Barry Arwood, Kylee Vanhorn, Cody Vaughn, Mackenzie Christensen, James Boone, Alex Chesney, Jade Nicholas, Michaela West, Abbi Epperson, Becki Arnall, Meghan Thomas, Marilyn Marshall Miller, Kevin Loar, Jamie Strong, Susie Lundy, Sean Botts, Jack Briggs, Joshua Lee Pruss, Allison Dodge, Alex Chesney, Alison Black, Saydi Ogden, Lauden Baker and Kaden Wimmer. 

Though Trotnic is familiar with “Rent,” she said the cast members are bringing their own passions for the musical into their roles. 

“I love to see the actors taking on their character,” Trotnic said. “All of the actors in the show are working so hard on character development, putting a piece of themselves up there.”

The show tackles a number of issues that hit close to home, Trotnic said, including love, relationship struggles, addiction, disease and basic survival. 

“Everyone can take away something from this,” Trotnic said. “It’s definitely a mature show, but this is real life. All of this happens.” 

Want to go?

“Rent” will be shown Wednesday through Sunday, Sept. 25, at Joplin Little Theatre, located at 3009 W. First St.

Tickets: $15, $13 for seniors and students.

Details: 417-623-3638,

Women claim New Beginnings through church ministry
Pam Harbaugh | FLORIDA TODAY on December 28, 2011  7:04 PM

     You never know when a new beginning is about to start.

     It happened to Mildred Childress in 2006. She was one of about a dozen people in a Bible study class at St. Marks United Methodist Church in Indialantic. They were studying the Old Testament story about Nehemiah, who had been separated from his homeland.

     That lesson about a person in exile did its work on the group. When the series of classes ended, they decided to open a transitional home to help women recently released from correctional institutions. They named the faith-based program New Beginnings Ministry.

     We took in our first resident on June 27, 2007, she said. Ninety women have gone through the program. Weve struck out on a lot of them, but the ones who have really stuck with us really wanted to change.  (They have) pulled their lives together and made something of themselves.

     Now, New Beginnings Ministry is holding its first big fundraiser, A Night to Remember.

     Directed by James Boone, the churchs music and fine arts director, it will feature area vocalists and instrumentalists in a revue of Broadway songs.

     Well be doing works from Sound of Music, Phantom of hte Opera and also some from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,  Boone said. Some of the performers include Nancy Matican Bock, Jackie Heller, Savannah Carnrite, Angelyn Cater, Robert and Emily Clark.

     Although the event came together quickly, Boone said the performers, who come from churchs Shekinah production company, all wanted to help.

      The second I sent out an email, I got immediate responses, Boone said. There was a need, and we wanted to help. Thats what community does for each other. We help each other out. We want to make sure this ministry is successful because it touches the ladies lives.

     The show will last about two hours. It includes an intermission during which women living at the transitional home will serve refreshments.

     The transitional home has room for eight women. A house manager who graduated from the New Beginnings program lives there full time.

     She has a full-time job, Childress said. She knows how to be tough, how to be tender. She has found the Lord, and her life has turned around completely.

     Childress said the house manager had been in prison for everything you can imagine.

     Now, she said, the woman has a beautiful personality.

     She calls me Mom, she said. Her own mother is deceased, and I love her like a daughter. Ive got a few out there who love me like a mother.

     Money raised at A Night to Remember will be spent on programming costs and to help pay down the mortgage, which has a balance of $156,000.

Contact Harbaugh at 321-242-3717 or


Mama Lori Florida Today / June 17, 2011

Are you looking for a fun family activity this weekend?  Xanadu at St. Marks Church is the show to see!  Madilynne and I set out in our black and white dresses, white sunglasses, silver necklaces and our black purses for a girls night out.  Not knowing what the evening had in store for us added to the excitement.

We arrived shortly before showtime and were greeted by a lovely lady dressed in leg warmers, roller skates and pixies.  We knew at this point we were in for a real treat!  We found our seats giggling with excitement (in the back of course because we had smuggled in granola bars and juice boxes for treats) and got ready for some rockin 80s fun.

For those of you dont know, the original Xanadu was a 1980 romantic musical fantasy film starring Olivia Newton-John, which has been redone in a modern spoof, and now become an award winning Broadway hit.

Thanks to Sunshine Mamas one and only Nancy Matican-Bock, St. Marks Church and an amazing cast, Xandu- The Surprise Broadway Hit, has been brought to St. Marks Church, complete with 80s musical hits such as Im Alive and my personal favorite, Evil Woman .

The story features a Greek Muse, Kira, who travels from Mt. Olympus to help a struggling artist, Sonny, in Venice Beach, CA.  Sonny has a dream of starting the first ever Roller Disco.  Thanks to the jealous antics of her sisters, Kira falls in a forbidden love with Sonny making for a crazy, hilarious performance with singing, dancing, roller skating and all around best darn entertainment Ive experienced!

This is a tale of love, determination and adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seatheck Madilynne couldnt even sit down, she was standing on my lap the majority of the 90 minute show! She is now determined to sing and dance like Ms. Nancy!

Please support our local community, Mamas!  Take your family to enjoy Xanadu in Indialantic, FL!  You can thank me later. 

Hats off to Nancy Matican Bock and the entire talented St. Marks Xanadu cast!  All of you did an outstanding job and by far exceeded my expectations of a local performance- or any performance for that matter.  Thank you all for an amazing eveningI know Xanadu will stay in our hearts for a lifetime.

You can see Xanadu Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. or Sunday June 19, 2011 at 2:00 p.m.  Tickets are $10.
St. Marks United Methodist Church
2030 N. Hwy A1A
Indialantic, FL 32903

Follow Nancy on Facebook and Check out Xanadu in our favorite Florida Today!

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St. Mark's United Methodist Church drama group rolls out 'Xanadu' in Indialantic

Pam Harbaugh Florida Today / June 16, 2011

     This weekend, St. Mark's United Methodist Church turns into a roller rink of sorts for the musical "Xanadu."

     Presented by Shekinah, the church's Community Drama Group, the production required the first six rows of pews across the sanctuary to be taken out and replaced with a portable roller rink.
     It also meant taking the 20 performers, ages 6 to 45, back to 1980, when bright leg warmers and headbands were all the rage.
     "It's a very comical, very entertaining, very fast-paced musical," said its director, James Boone, the church's music and arts director. "It's a very enjoyable program. We're having a great time just putting it on. So we know people will really enjoy it."
Nearly everyone in the cast gets on old-style roller skates, Boone said. Most of the performers already skated well, he said.
     But first, they had to build a performing/skating stage. So Boone and his production team removed the pews and added risers behind the altar to create a theater in the round. Masonite was laid and they were ready to go.
     He said church leaders "were OK with that" because it was a good way to follow the program's mission of community outreach and involvement.
     "We've been doing big productions for four years now," he said. "They've gotten used to my weird requests. We've put in scaffolding for a tower in 'Beauty and the Beast.' "
The musical "Xanadu" is based on the 1980 movie starring Olivia Newton-John, Michael Beck and Gene Kelly.
     Set in Los Angeles and Mt. Olympus, "Xanadu" tells the story of Kira, a muse who comes to Earth to help Sonny, a man who dreams of becoming a great artist. He wants to converge arts and athletics into one place, the roller disco.
     The story is laced with magic, romance and a lot of roller skating.
     It features some popular 1980s tunes such as Electric Light Orchestra's "Strange Magic" and Olivia Newton-John's "Have You Never Been Mellow" and "Xanadu."

Contact Harbaugh at 321-242-3717 or

St. Mark's production of 'Xanadu' brings the 1980s back to Indialantic

George White Florida Today / June 13, 2011


     The 1980s are coming back Friday through Sunday with a production of "Xanadu" at St. Mark's United Methodist Church, 2030 SR A1A, Indialantic.

     The production, by St. Mark's Community Drama Group called Shekinah, is led by director James Boone, who also appears as a cast member, and drama director Nancy Matican-Bock.
     The drama group is sponsored by the church but doesn't require church membership to participate, Boone said. Similarly, the play is open to the entire community, not just church members, he said.
"This is our fourth Broadway show over the past four years. Mainly, it is for us to express ourselves artistically but the friendships we build during each production are just great. We do it for community     outreach and the $10 ticket cost is just to pay for our expenses," he said.

     There are 17 cast members in the show, with choreography by Jackie Heller, 16, who is considering a career in the arts when she goes to college. Part of the production has her performing in roller skates.
     "I've always been involved in a lot of dance, so this is a lot of fun for me," she said.
     Other cast members include Susannah Bowman, 14, Peyton Newell, 14, Kelsey Blair, 15, and Michelle Van Kramer, who dances and also has two children in the play: Ali Turner, 11, and Hayden Van Kramer, 6.
     Show times are at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.

For information, call 321-773-0721 or visit

Bring back phone booths for Superman

SUZY FLEMING LEONARD Florida Today / June 10, 2011


     In preparation for the opening this weekend of "Xanadu," St. Mark's United Methodist Church in Indialantic has gone all out building sets.

Several pews have been removed from the front of the sanctuary to make room for a mini-roller rink. And they've constructed a phone booth.
     You remember those, right? Little glass enclosures we used to lock ourselves into to make a phone call, muffling the sounds of a busy street?
     Well, it seems the kids in the cast were perplexed.
     "Why would you stand in a box to make phone calls?" one of the youngsters asked Indialantic resident          

     Jackie Heller, who is helping with the production. "My mom does it from the car."

     Phone booths, and pay phones in general, are disappearing, rendered technological dinosaurs by the multipurpose devices we lug around in our purses. And the privacy once afforded by a booth built for one (or two if those two were really friendly) seems irrelevant in a society that values over-sharing.

     We've all had the misfortune of being within a 10-foot radius of people who take great pleasure in shouting into their cell phones the graphic details of their marital issues, legal woes or that morning's bowel movement.
     Here's the question, though. In a society with no phone booths, where will Superman change clothes?

     I posed the question to a few friends last week, and their answers didn't offer me much hope for the future of superherodom.
     The best anyone could come up with was a public bathroom. Like Superman is some sort of Fonz of Steel.
     "He'll change on the Internet," said one 20-something friend, which made me question her grasp of reality. I mean, she does know that, despite the "communities" built on Facebook, Twitter and various dating sites, the Internet isn't really a place, right?
     "An app. He'll download an app for his cell phone," someone else said.
     Which may be Superman's best bet yet. Heck, I'd invest in an app that would, upon command, transform me from geeky journalist to invincible superhero, especially if it came with a cool cape.
     I guess he could change in his car, at the gym or under a manhole cover. He could duck into Starbucks or McDonald's or Walgreens. There seem to be a lot of those around.

     Maybe the best thing for Superman would be to bring back phone booths. They wouldn't necessarily need to come phone-equipped.
     When not in use as superhero changing space, the booths would make the perfect place to quarantine loud-talking cell phone users with a penchant for sharing too much information.

Contact Suzy Fleming Leonard at

All videos, photos & information are Copyrighted (2007) by James Boone, Just The Mix and "Shekinah Productions Community Theater."

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