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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Melodrama celebrates 25 years

  • The Marquette Melodrama and Olio will mark a quarter century anniversary with the Nov. 15, 16 and 17 performances of “Dogsbreath Devereaux The Dastardly Doctor, or Nurses! Foiled Again!”
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  • The Marquette Melodrama and Olio will mark a quarter century anniversary with the Nov. 15, 16 and 17 performances of “Dogsbreath Devereaux The Dastardly Doctor, or Nurses! Foiled Again!”
    The musical Olio to be performed after the melodrama is titled “Encore.”
    “Encore” will present residents from the Marquette community and area performing popular songs spanning the 25 year history of the Melodrama.
    Casie Nelson, the director of the Marquette Fine Arts Center, said the Melodrama was born of a desire to teach dance and art in the small town.
    “It started in 1987 when my mother Elizabeth Hopp and Gae Ronsee decided to have dance lessons here in Marquette,” Nelson said. “They were allowed to use the theater building for free, and the Melodrama has been a way to keep the building open. The Melodrama is the biggest fundraiser for the Arts Center.”
    Funds from the annual Melodrama and Olio performances are used to keep the costs of dance and other arts classes low, Nelson said. A small percentage of the student fees also go toward maintaining the building.
    Dance classes available in Marquette include clogging, tap, jazz, ballet and hip-hop. Various other classes have been available throughout the years, ranging from musical instrument instruction such as piano lessons even to martial arts such as Taekwondo.
    In the Melodrama, the dastardly villain Dr. Dogsbreath Devereaux, with the help of a sinister assistant named Hilda Hatchet, schemes to marry a rich lady named Lotta Cash. His plan is to bump her off and keep the money for himself. Fortunately, hero Dr. Phil Good is around to come to Lotta Cash’s rescue.
    After an intermission, the Olio will commence. The production will feature the best and most popular musical numbers of the Melodrama’s 25-year run, including songs such as “Dry Bones,” “Blueberry Hill,” “Blue Velvet,” “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B” and even a Lady Gaga medley.
    Peter Hamma, who works at the Marquette Farmers State Bank and plays Dr. Phil Good in the Melodrama, said this year’s performance marks his 11th consecutive appearance.
    “It’s rewarding,” Hamma said. “It’s a lot of fun, and a lot of stress. I’ve met a lot of good, talented people.”
    Olio co-director Julie Olson, who works as an occupation therapist assistant between Lindsborg, McPherson and Marquette, said the production was a challenge.
    “It’s my first year directing,” Olson said, “and it’s a challenge to keep people in order. We had to be able to coordinate clothing changes with the performances going on onstage. It’s a lot like solving a Rubik’s Cube.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Nelson, who has her own day job as an accountant, said the extra work is worth it to keep Marquette’s available arts programs going.
    “It’s a lot of work and a lot of nights,” Nelson said, “but it’s a lot of fun, too. When we’re done we watch the video and have a laugh. In a small town like this there wasn’t an opportunity for arts without this. This allows our kids to have those experiences, and many go on to become leaders.”
    Allan Lindfors, who directed the Olio for its first 22 years, said this year’s production was looking to be a lot of fun.
    “It’s fun to bring back the memories,” Lindfors said. “This has been going on for 25 years, so a lot of the material will be fresh to those coming for the first time, but the songs will also have memories tied to them for those who’ve been involved or have been coming over the years.”
    Doors will open at 7 p.m. for the Nov. 15 and 16 shows, and at 1:30 p.m. for the Nov. 17 show. The Melodrama and Olio will take place at the Marquette Theater at 108 N. Washington St.
    Tickets can be purchased for $12 each at the Marquette Farmers State Bank, the City Sundries Soda Fountain and Gift Shop, the Marquette MKC, Hopp’s Sound and Electric and at Lindsborg Hospital.
    Contact Jeremy Webster by email at jwebster@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @WebsterSentinel.
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