2017 River Campus Summer Arts Festival - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

2017 River Campus Summer Arts Festival

(Source: Southeast Missouri State University) (Source: Southeast Missouri State University)
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

The fourth annual River Campus Summer Arts Festival at Southeast Missouri State University will include not one, not two, but three productions this year. Patrons can look forward to seeing "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," "Greater Tuna," and "Dear Edwina Jr." on the stages of the River Campus for two weeks in June. 

“This summer’s shows are all about comedy,” said Rhonda Weller-Stilson, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and director of the Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts. “All three shows should be crowd pleasers. We anticipate nights of sell-out crowds, so get your tickets in advance.”

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is a comedic musical revolving around six precocious kids competing in a championship spelling bee. The director is Dr. Kenneth Stilson, chair of The Conservatory of Theatre and Dance, and he said this particular performance is special because some audience participation has been incorporated. 

“With the audience-participation element of the show, every performance will be distinctly different,” Dr. Kenn Stilson said. “That’s a challenge, but it’s also part of the fun in this musical.”

Performances of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” are slated for 7:30 p.m. June 15, 18, 20, 23 and 24 in the Wendy Kurka Rest Flexible Theatre at the Southeast River Campus. Tickets are $20.

Dear Edwina Jr. 

“Dear Edwina Jr.” follows 13-year-old problem-solver Edwina who dishes out advice will help from her friends.The cast consists of community children ages 10-15 participating in the "Dear Edwina Jr." Workshop. 

“We are very excited to once again work with our community’s young actors,” said director Hilary Peterson. “They are good students and talented actors, singers and dancers. They are extremely focused and work just as hard as professional actors to memorize their lines, songs and choreography. They bring a lot of joy and excitement to the process.”

“Dear Edwina Jr. is a musical for families and kids of all ages,” said Weller-Stilson. “There is much great music, and, because Hilary is not only a director, but also a choreographer, there will be lots of movement as well.”

"Dear Edwina Jr." will be performed in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 16 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 18. Tickets to these performances are $12. Two free performances of “Dear Edwina Jr.” are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 17, as part of the River Campus Summer Arts Festival.

Greater Tuna

Rounding out the summer season is "Greater Tuna," a southern comedy about the hilarious citizens of Tuna, Texas, the third smallest town in the state. Michael McIntosh is directing, and the cast consists only of Bart Williams, assistant professor of acting and stage combat at Southeast, and Kyle VanPool, a 2010 Southeast graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in theatre. 

“This is an extremely hysterical show where two men play over 20 roles from young girls to senior citizens,” Weller-Stilson said. “It’s crazy backstage with all the costume and wig changes, but this adds to the humor.”

Performances of “Greater Tuna” are set for 7:30 p.m. June 16, 17, 21 and 22 and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 25, in the Wendy Kurka Rust Flexible Theatre at the River Campus. Tickets are $20.

Tickets are on sale now and 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 by visiting RiverCampus.org.

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