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Big River opens at Munster’s Theatre at the Center

Lansing’s neighbor puts professional theater within reach

information provided by Big Splash Public Relations

Big River
James Romney (left) as Huck and Jonathan Butler-Duplessis as Jim star in Theatre at the Center’s production of Big River in neighboring Munster, Ind. (Photo: Guy Rhodes)
Founded in 1991, the 410-seat Theatre at the Center is a year-round professional theater at its home—The Center for Visual and Performing Arts—in Munster, Indiana. Theatre at the Center is the only professional theater company in Northwest Indiana, offering downtown-caliber performances in an accessible venue with plenty of free parking.

MUNSTER, Ind. (September 17, 2017) – Actors James Romney in the role of Huck and Jonathan Butler-Duplessis in the role of Jim lead the cast of Theatre at the Center’s Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The musical’s opening night was September 17 for a run that continues through October 15.

Winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book, and Best Score, this musical telling of Mark Twain’s treasured tale features songs and music by Roger Miller, who created such hits as “King of the Road” and “Dang Me.” With strains of country, bluegrass, and gospel, the musical production follows the humorous and harrowing river journey of Huck and his friend Jim as they meet up with con artists, reunite with Tom Sawyer, and encounter a collection of characters as only imagined by one of America’s greatest writers.

Big River
A vibrant cast brings to life the collection of characters created by Mark Twain, author of the classic Huck Finn. (Photo: Michael Brosilow)
James Romney, making his Theatre at the Center debut, has previously been seen at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in My Fair Lady, Carousel, and The Merry Widow. Other credits include Fly By Night at Lookingglass and A Wrinkle in Time at Lifeline Theater. Romney will soon make his Broadway debut with the New York premiere of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Jonathan Butler-Duplessis last appeared at Theatre at the Center in A Christmas Carol-The Musical. Other credits include The Little Mermaid at the Paramount Theater and Man of La Mancha at the Marriott Theatre.

Big River also features Jason Richards, last seen in Annie Warbucks for the 2016 holiday musical, and Bret Tuomi, who was in the cast of The Odd Couple in summer 2016.

Kyle Quinlivan is making his TATC debut as Tom Sawyer. Recent credits include the role of Jesus in Godspell at Covedale Center and Big Love at the Theatre Festival of Havana.

Matt Edmonds, last seen in Pump Boys and Dinettes at TATC, performs the roles of the Preacher, Dick, Wilkes, Andy, and Doctor. Johanna McKenzie Miller, previously seen at TATC in Phantom, The Sound of Music, and Gypsy, plays Widow Douglas and Joanna.

Additional cast members include Liz Chidester as Miss Watson, Susan, and Sally. Liz was nominated by the Jeff Awards Committee for Best Ensemble in the 2016 and 2017 Refuge Theatre Project’s High Fidelity.

Also joining the ensemble cast are Garrett Lutz, Aaron Mitchell Reese, Adhana Cermone Reid, Camille Robinson, and Steven Romero Schaeffer. Caitlin Cavannaugh is making her TATC debut as Mary Jane.

Linda Fortunato, Artistic Director of Theatre at the Center, is Director and Choreographer of Big River. Linda has been nominated for five Jeff Awards for her work as a choreographer and director. She received both Equity and Non-Equity Jeff Awards for Outstanding Choreography in the 2013-14 season, garnering TATC’s first award for her choreography of 42nd Street. Linda’s show history at TATC includes directing The Tin Woman, Cabaret, Annie Warbucks, and A Christmas Story, and choreographing Spamalot, Big Fish, A Christmas Carol, Guys and Dolls, Crazy for You, and Fiddler on the Roof. “William Hauptman’s book and Roger Miller’s music and lyrics truly capture Mark Twain’s genius for storytelling,” says Fortunato.

Bill Underwood serves as Music Director, and the creative team includes Ann Davis, Scenic Designer; Brenda Winstead, Costume Designer; Kevin Barthel, Wig Design; Brittney O’Keefe, Prop Design; Guy Rhodes, Lighting Designer; Michael J. Patrick, Sound Design; Jessica Banaszak, Stage Manager; and Richard Friedman, General Manager.

Based on Mark Twain’s 1884 novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the stage musical Big River opened on Broadway on April 25, 1985 at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. It ran for 1,005 performances and was considered one of the most successful musicals of the mid 1980s.

Performances are 2:00pm Wednesdays and Thursdays; 7:30pm Fridays; 3:00pm and 7:30pm on Saturdays; 2:30pm on Sundays; and select Thursday and Sunday evenings. Individual ticket prices range from $40 – $44.

To purchase individual tickets, call the Box Office at 219-836-3255 or Tickets.com at 800-511-1552. Group discounts are available for groups of 11 or more, and gift certificates are also available.

Theatre at the Center is located within The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana.

Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.