The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


May 25, 2012

Broadway, bluegrass fused in ‘Bridegroom’

JOPLIN, Mo. — Ann Lile loves bluegrass music and fun stories.

She plans to turn back the clock at the Joplin Little Theatre to 18th-century Mississippi and fill the air with live bluegrass music and a tale of theives and lovers with her direction of “The Robber Bridegroom.”

Audiences can expect actual bluegrass tunes called at square dance halls and a story of disguised lovers.   

Some say love is blind, and Jamie Lockhart and Rosamund, two of the production’s main characters, would probably agree.

Lockhart, played by Nicholas Gilmore, is a law-abiding man, who becomes the Bandit of the Woods.

He has plans to rob a wealthy man, Clemment Musgrove, played by Kenny Timbrel, but then finds himself falling in love with his desired victim’s daughter, Rosamund.

Meanwhile, Rosamund, played by Bethany Lansaw, sees the Bandit and falls in love with him, unaware of his true identity.

“According to Music Theater International, it’s very popular in regional theater because of the storytelling part and the music,” Lile said.

Lile, who had played a character in “The Robber Bridegroom” a couple of decades ago, said she remembered how fun the story was and wanted to direct it for that reason.

“The characters are funny (and) it had some funny things in the script,” she said.

Even though the musical is a couple of decades old, originally premiering on Broadway in 1976, Lile said she plans to add some of her own flavor to it.

No tradtional, red curtain will sweep across the stage, as seen in most productions, she said.

All of the action will take place on a semi-circle platform covered in burlap, which aims to resemble an outdoor scene.

It’s unusual in terms of a set that resembels a room or place, she said. It isn’t meant to be realistic at all. Also unusual will be actors cast as trees and one who is even a raven.

“Bring your imagination along with you,” she said.

Lile said the music is catchy and thinks that even audience members who don’t like bluegrass music will find themselves appreciating the tunes.

“It’s nothing but a fun story,” she said.

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