PRINCETON — In honor of 20 years of children’s theater at the Prairie Arts Center, the Prairie Arts Council (PAC) will present the third reprise of its very first children’s musical, “Tumbleweeds,” with director David Gorenz assisted by his wife, Shelley, and daughter Rachel Gorenz-Johnson.
The second PAC feature of the show was on the 10th anniversary in 2008, which included many current students and recent graduates of Princeton High School, including Doran Cotter. Since 1998 when she portrayed Hildegard Hamhocker in “Tumbleweeds,” Rachel Gorenz-Johnson has been in numerous theatrical productions and has written a collection of children’s holiday and summer camp productions as well. David and Shelley, along with Rachel, have passionately continued to provide Bureau County children with opportunities to take the PAC stage in summer drama camps as well as holiday and special occasion productions such as this.
For those who weren’t here for the other two shows, “Tumbleweeds” is based on a comic strip created by Tom K. Ryan and centers around the cowpoke title character who returns to the Wild West determined to improve his hometown of Grimy Gulch, population 49. Tumbleweeds (Mark Kirkpatrick) unfortunately meets opposition from a crew who have plans of their own for the town. Throckmorton Fleesum (Luke Bowen), his partner, Clementine Greedy (Riley Jansen), and her not-so-bright cousin, Snake-Eye McFoul (Audrey Nelson), plan to sell the land to developers of the Choo-Choo Railroad Company. With a cast full of zany characters, including Hildegard Hamhocker (Brennan Roden), who has everything she wants EXCEPT a man – ANY man; Judge Frump (Krysten Walowski) and his deputy, Knuckles (Asa Gartin); the trio of undertaker Claude Clay (Phillip Goodale), grave digger, Wart Wimble (Graycee Funderberg), and hangman, Hogarth Hemp (Jordan VandeVenter); the Poohawk Indians (Simeon Bystry, Mary Underwood, Era Goodale, Tyler and Levi VandeVenter, Bianka Nickelsen, Tricia Kloepping, Bayleigh Mack); a group of visiting schoolgirls (Ashlynn Scott, Angela Frost, Olivia Gartin, Kimberly Imsland, Avery Waca, Reese Reviglio); their teacher, Miss Prudence Lovely (Emma Frost); her Aunt Maude (Emily Rabe); the Grimy Gulch townspeople (Andrea Imsland, Rachel Kirkpatrick, Ashley Richardson, Dawson Lambert, Addison Carr, Maya Gartin, Ashleigh and Carleigh Mack); and, of course, Tumbleweeds’ faithful horse, Epic, the show has many speaking parts and both singing and non-singing roles.
Tickets are $10 and can be reserved by calling PAC at 815-875-2787 (ARTS).
Show times and dates are: 7 p.m. Thursday, April 26, and Friday, April 27; and 3 p.m. Saturday, April 28, and Sunday, April 29.
The Prairie Arts Center is located at 24 Park Ave. East in Princeton.