Twain's 'Big River' to return to River Campus in anniversary production

Twain's 'Big River' to return to River Campus in anniversary production
(Source: Southeast Missouri State University)
(Source: Southeast Missouri State University)

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The first show ever performed on the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall stage is making a return.

"Big River" will return in a special 10th season performance on February 22, February 23 and February 25 at 7:30 p.m., February 24 at 8 p.m. and February 26 at 2 p.m. The show is a part of the continuing Rhodes 101 Stops and Commerce Bank Theatre and Dance series.

""Big River" was the smash-hit inaugural production at the River Campus in 2007," Dr. Kenneth Stilson, chair of The Conservatory of Theatre and Dance, said. "Kicking off the season for spring 2017, this Tony Award-winning Broadway musical promises to build on the success of our original production and deliver an evening of theatre that will be remembered by audiences for years to come.

"'Big River' promises to showcase the best of our River Campus."

Mark Twain's "Big River" follows Huckleberry Finn and his new friend Jim along their journey down the Mississippi River.

The two soon gain two new compatriots, the Duke and the King, who are really escaped convicts. After a series of adventures and a reunion with his best friend Tom Sawyer, Huck discovers that Jim's slave-owner died and freed Jim in her will. Thus, Jim is free to find his wife and children on his own and Huck decides to move out West.

Their adventures along the way are hilarious, suspenseful and heartwarming, bringing to life your favorite characters from the novel.

Several distinguished performers and designers are a part of this year's production. This will be the final curtain call for SEMO's Judith Farris, artist in residence and vocal director in The Conservatory of Theatre and Dance. She is set to retire in May. Farris, a Cape Girardeau native, was the vocal coach for the inaugural production of "Big River" 10 years ago, and says that the revival "feels right" as her final show at Southeast.

Another Cape Girardeau native will be a part of the production. Brodrick Twiggs will play the role of Jim. Twiggs is well-known in the area and has performed at many events, including the Governor's Inaugural Ball along with the Jerry Ford Orchestra.

The role of Mark Twain will once again be played by Lester Goodin. A native of Cape Girardeau, Goodin bears a strong resemblance to the author. He has previously portrayed Twain in the River City Players Follies and other venues around southeast Missouri.

Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by calling (573) 651-2265 or online.

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