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PRT season kicks off with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘State Fair’

Prairie Repertory Theatre opens its 43rd season with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s old-fashioned American comedy “State Fair.”

Characters find love and adventure on the Midway while performing Broadway songs “It Might As Well Be Spring,” “You Never Had it So Good” and “It’s a Grand Night for Singing.”Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 5, and run nightly through Saturday, June 8, with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, June 9, in Doner Auditorium in the Administration Building at South Dakota State University.“State Fair” will also show in Brandon in July.“State Fair” depicts small-town Iowa farm life in 1946, and features the Frake family and their three-day adventure at the Iowa State Fair.

Frake parents Abel and Melissa, played by Billy Wilburn, Brookings, and Megan Buresh, David City, Neb., approach the Iowa State Fair with serious hopes of winning blue ribbons and cash prizes for their boar and mincemeat.Their children, Margy, played by Rachael Andersen, Sioux Falls, and Wayne, played by Kristian Asfeldt, Sioux Falls, are seeking romance during their late night escapades on the Midway. Wayne meets and instantly falls in love with singer, Emily Arden, played by Megan Gill, St. Charles, Ill., even though he has a girlfriend Eleanor, played by Kristy Kayser, Sioux Falls, waiting back home. Margy meets a reporter named Pat Gilbert, played by Michael Heuer, Watertown, and develops a lasting relationship.Characters weave through the twists and turns of their fair romances from the nights in the beer tents to the days at the livestock pavilions.“As a new member, it took a while for me to get used to the quick pace of Prairie Rep,” said Asfeldt. “It was really hard for me to believe we would be able to put up a show in just about a month, but it is a very achievable goal. We all have good friends within the cast, which makes for a much easier, smoother rehearsal process.Heidi Heeren, a music educator for Medary Elementary School in Brookings, directs the music and Melissa Hauschild-Mork, a dance instructor at SDSU, choreographs the production.“We have a diverse company this year; several students from other universities in addition to our SDSU students,” said SDSU Assistant Professor of Theatre W. James Wood, who directs the play. “I am amazed at how quickly these ‘strangers’ have come together to form a cohesive cast. In just a few short weeks, they have made this classic show so fun and engaging. I am excited for our audiences to enjoy ‘State Fair’ as much as we have.”Other actors helping tell the story are Natalie Allcock, Britton; Zeke Blocklage, Concord Hill, Mo.; Alexandra Cross, Brewster, Minn.; Scott Ecker, Fargo, N.D.; Chris Fereza, Riverside, Calif.; Whitney Graff, Humboldt; Becca Herman, Sioux Falls; Sean McDonald, Yankton; Jocelyn Meidinger, Jamestown, N.D.; Maggie Murphy, Wilder, Minn.; Patrick Kloeckner, Fairmont, Minn.; Aaron Schuelke, Milbank; Ainsley Shelsta, Brookings; Bob Sylskar, Brookings; Austin Vockrodt, Brookings; Jennie Vrchota, Jackson, Minn.; Dani Wermedahl, Volga; and Caleb Woodring, Tea.Audiences of all ages are invited to experience the comedic and lighthearted rendition of the Midwestern musical.Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for senior citizens/military, $14 for SDSU employees, $13 for non-SDSU students and children, and free to SDSU students with IDs.Tickets can be purchased at the PRT Audience Services Office located in the Performing Arts Center at SDSU in Brookings, open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.Tickets may also be purchased online or by calling 605-688-6045.For more information on Prairie Repertory Theatre, visit their website.