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Lifestyles

River Valley Players is revving up for its 43rd season

HENRY — River Valley Players Community Theatre (RVP) has announced its 43rd season.

This year features two beloved classics and a contemporary Broadway youth production. RVP is excited to give their audience exactly what they have been asking for by presenting the perfect combination of both classics and contemporary dramatic comedies, as well as the widely anticipated musicals.

The season will open with Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers,” under the direction of Jeni Shaver. This classic, dramatic comedy is the winner of the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the winner of the 1991 Tony Award, Best Play. “Lost in Yonkers” is noted as Neil Simon’s best play ever written.

The play is set in the year 1942, in Yonkers, N.Y. As the curtain rises, Eddie is trying to convince his mother, “stern” Grandma Kurnitz, to look after his two boys, Jay and Arty, while he hits the road as a traveling salesman in attempt to earn enough dough to pay off a hefty debt. The next 10 months prove to be a bit of a whirlwind for the boys, as they learn a little bit about growing up and a lot about the importance of family (no matter how dysfunctional they are) sticking together through difficult times. “Lost in Yonkers” is noted as Neil Simon’s best play ever written. The production contains some adult language and themes.

Show dates will be April 27-28, and May 3-5.

Auditions have been set for 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, and Sunday, Feb. 17, at St. John’s Community Center, 1301 Second St. in Henry.

The Summer Youth Theatre (ages 5-14) will be featuring “Madagascar — A Musical Adventure JR,” under the direction of Robert Eckert and Christine Gaspardo.

Based on the DreamWorks smash hit, animated motion picture, “Madagascar,” this story follows all of your favorite “crack-a-lackin’ friends” as they suddenly find themselves on a much unexpected adventure to the wildly impulsive world of King Julien’s Madagascar, shortly after they leave their home in New York’s City’s Central Park Zoo. The Summer Youth Theatre participants will also have the benefit of attending a workshop(s) geared toward the introduction and continued exposure of various aspects of theatre production, ensuring that their summer theatre experience is both fun and educational.

Show dates will be July 19-21, with audition planned in May.

River Valley Players will conclude their season with “Meet Me In St. Louis,” directed by Charlotte Balensiefen.

Based on the heartwarming MGM film starring Judy Garland and Margaret O’Brien, “Meet Me In St. Louis” is considered a “rare treasure” in musical theatre. The story portrays a wholesome, captivating depiction of the “turn of the century American family.”

It is the summer of 1903, and the Smith family eagerly awaits the arrival of the 1904 World’s Fair. Over a year’s time, the family is able to survive romance, heartache and opportunity, thanks to their mutual respect, seasoned with some “good natured humor.” This heartfelt musical features a multi-generational cast, with ages ranging from 8 to 78. This down home classic musical will delight audiences of all ages.

Show dates are Nov. 9-10, and 15-17. Auditions will be held in August.

For more information, visit River Valley Players on Facebook or online at www.rvphenry.org.

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