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A scene from the play "Death Valley: A Love Story."
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The curtain rises on can’t-miss theatre in Downtown Springfield

October 24, 2019


Theatre lovers across the Ozarks know Downtown Springfield is the place to go for the best shows. This weekend is the perfect example.

Both Springfield Contemporary Theatre and Springfield Little Theatre will raise the curtain on fantastic new performances. Seriously. This is can’t-miss theatre. Here are the details.

A world premiere at SCT

Award-winning playwright Sandy Asher returns to Springfield for the world premiere of her new production, “Death Valley: A Love Story.” The show runs Oct. 25-Nov. 10.

Asher moved to Springfield in 1967 when her husband, Harvey, joined the faculty at Drury. Sandy’s first play as an adult writer was “Come Join the Circus,” presented by Springfield Little Theatre in the 1973-74 season. Her first production with SCT was 1997’s “Emma,” an adaptation of the novel by Jane Austin. Asher has had at least six other plays performed in front of Queen City Audiences.

After Harvey’s retirement in 2003, they moved to Pennsylvania to be closer to children and grandchildren. The Amateur Alliance for Theatre & Education recently announced that Sandy will receive the 2019 Sara Spencer Artistic Achievement Award.

Actresses Andie Bottrell, Rachel Jamieson and Sarah J. Wiggin will bring “Death Valley: A Love Story” to life. It’s the true story of Carol Emerson and David Nutter, inspired by their journals and art. From the ecstatic days of new love, to a life-altering road trip through California, to an unfortunate diagnosis, the audience joins Carol through the peaks and valleys of renewed and dashed hope, the recognition of David’s fate and the journey that followed. “Death Valley” traces a course of a woman clawing to re-assemble herself into a new woman.

Jefferson Award nominee Alan Souza, in his Springfield debut, directs the show. Enjoy a special reception with the cast, playwright and members of the creative team after the opening Friday and Saturday performances. Hospice Foundation of the Ozarks sponsors the receptions.

Opening-weekend tickets are $22. Student and senior tickets are $24 and adult tickets $27 for the rest of the show’s run, with Student Rush seats available for just $10.  And don’t forget Pay What You Can Thursdays! For more information, visit the SCT website. Springfield Contemporary Theatre is located at the corner of Pershing Street and Robberson Avenue, in the west end of the Wilhoit Plaza.

SLT brings beloved book series to life

Also running Oct. 25-Nov. 10 is “Little House on the Prairie: The Musical.” That title will likely sound very familiar.

Based on the beloved book series, this all-new musical adaptation brings to life the characters that have stirred our sense of adventure for generations. The show features music by Academy Award-winning composer Rachel Portman and a story by the mind behind “The 25th Annual Spelling Bee.”

“Little House on the Prairie” follows the Ingalls family’s journey westward and settlement in DeSmet, South Dakota, where Ma and Pa Ingalls hoped to make a better life for their children.

In story, song and dance, audiences see the Ingalls suffering the hardships of winter blizzards and prairie fires, as well as rejoicing in the settlement of land. Most of all, the story follows Laura as she grows from a child who loved to run free into a woman who embraces the responsibilities of her own future while remaining true to herself.

Tickets start at $15 for children 12 and under and $20 for adults. For more information, visit the SLT website. Springfield Little Theatre performs in the Historic Landers Theatre, at 311 East Walnut Street.