Rock River Rep's Past Seasons
Rock River Rep is entering our 5th season in 2017-2018. We are extremely proud of the shows that have been put up over the past four years and look forward to many more outstanding seasons to come.
RRR very first show: Spamalot
We made our stage debut with Monty Python's Spamalot in August of 2013. Spamalot tells the legendary tale of King Arthur’s quest to find the Holy Grail. Inspired by the classic comedy film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the musical also diverts a bit from more traditional versions of the legend. Instead, Spamalot features shennanigans including a line of beautiful dancing girls, a flatulent Frenchmen and killer rabbits. Outside, there is plague with a 50% chance of pestilence and famine. Throughout the show, Arthur, traveling with his servant Patsy, recruits several knights to accompany him on his quest, including Sir Bedevere, Sir Robin, Sir Lancelot and Sir Galahad. Besides the rabbits and farting Frenchman, they meet such characters as the Lady of the Lake, Prince Herbert, Tim the Enchanter, Not Dead Fred, the Black Knight and the Knights who say Ni.
In January 2014, we followed Spamalot with The Secret Garden. Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved Victorian classic, The Secret Garden, blossoms anew in this enchanting musical by Pulitzer Prize-winner Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon. When young Mary Lennox loses her parents to a cholera outbreak in India, she is sent to live with her uncle, hermit Archibald Craven, who lives in an imposing, secluded manor on the British heath. Inside the haunting house upon the hill, Mary finds a reclusive, long-suffering collection of souls. Since her aunt Lily’s death, Mary’s uncle has pushed away his surviving loved ones, leaving his bedridden son, Colin, alone. Sickly Colin, hidden away in the depths of the manner, bears the guilt of his mother’s death on his crippled shoulders. When Mary discovers her Aunt Lily’s hidden garden, locked shot and overgrown with vines, stubborn Mary is determined to revive the beauty that once was. Surrounded by spirits from the past, who both warn and welcome her, determined Mary begins to peel away the layers of sadness that cover the house and the garden, showing us the power that “one small girl” can have when she “wants things to grow.”
To close our first season, in April 2014, we put up Jesus Christ Superstar. Jesus Christ Superstar tells the story of biblical Jesus in the final days leading up to his crucifixion. A rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, the musical has no spoken dialogue and is sometimes considered a modern rock-opera. Loosely based on the Gospels, Superstar focuses on the personal conflicts between Jesus, his disciples, the people of Israel, and the leadership of Rome. Special attention is played to the relationship between Judas Iscariot and Jesus, as well as Jesus’ relationship with Mary Magdalene. The musical is unique among biblical retellings in that it focuses on both Judas’ struggle making the decision to betray Jesus and Jesus’ human psychology, fear, and anger in understanding and accepting his role as both leader and martyr. The show is a product of its era, permeated with 1970’s rock, gospel, folk and funk themes, modern language and colloquialisms, and high-energy dance numbers.
Show synopsis taken from Stage Agent website.
Our second season began with Chicago in August of 2014. Broadway’s longest-running American musical, Chicago is a dazzling and satirical look at fame, justice, and the media machine. Set in 1920s Chicago and based on real-life murders and trials, Chicago follows Roxie Hart, a wannabe vaudevillian star who murders her lover and is arrested, despite her attempts to convince her pushover husband, Amos, to lie for her. In the Cook County Jail, Roxie meets her hero, the famed double-murderess and nightclub performer Velma Kelly. When both acquire the same lawyer, the greedy and lustful superstar, Billy Flynn, tensions come to a head as they vie for the spotlight-- though instead of onstage, they’re mugging for the flashbulb of the newspaper reporters. With catchy, sexy music and timeless lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, and a funny, intelligent, and utterly engaging book by Kander and Bob Fosse, Chicago is a musical spectacular that is as addictive as gossip rags and as unforgettable as any trial of the century.
The Tony Award-winning musical that first ran on Broadway for 16 years is back with a fresh, young cast moving audiences to tears all over again! The action begins in 1815 as Jean Valjean, a man condemned to 19 years of hard labor for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family, finds only hatred and suspicion when he is released on parole. Meeting one man who believes in him, Valjean breaks his parole to begin a new life. The story truly begins as Jean Valjean crosses the landscape of early 19th century France, always pursued by the righteous police inspector Javert. From his adoption and love of the orphan Cosette, to the darkly funny plots of the thieving Thenardiers, from the soaring revolutionary fire of the student rebels who fight on the barricade in the streets of Paris to the final confrontation between Jean Valjean and Javert, the story of Les Miserables is one of love, courage and redemption.
“Be careful what you wish for” seems to be the ongoing theme in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Brothers Grimm inspired musical, Into the Woods. The story follows The Baker and his wife who wish to have a child, Cinderella who wishes to go the King’s Festival, and Jack who wishes his cow would give some milk. When the Baker and his wife are visited by the neighborhood witch, who reveals to them that she placed a curse on their family, the two set off on a journey into the woods to reverse the curse. Also in the woods, we meet Little Red, who is trying to visit her grandmother, the Wolf who loves tasty little girls, the Witch’s daughter Rapunzel, and the Princes chasing after their loves. By the end of Act I, everyone has gotten their wish and will seemingly live happily ever after. But in Act II, when Jack’s beanstalk brings them a visit from an angry Giant, we see how the consequences of their actions haunt them in disastrous ways. The community must come together to save each other and their kingdom, but sacrifices must be made.
Miss Saigon is an epic, stunning adaptation of Puccini’s opera, Madame Butterfly, by the writers behind Les Miserables. Reframing Puccini’s story by setting it during the Vietnam War, Miss Saigon is a powerful and poignant tale of love in a war-torn country. In the dangerous days before Saigon’s fall in 1975, Chris (an American GI) and Kim (a destitute Vietnamese orphan working her first night as a prostitute) fall in love. When the city falls, the lovers are forced apart, and each must find their own way, alone. When, years later, Chris is able to return to Vietnam, he brings with him an American wife. Kim, who has waited for Chris, has raised their son, Tam, who is “bui-doi”-- a term for a child conceived during the horrors of war. With so much devastation behind them, Kim and Chris must decide how to move forward. Miss Saigon is a tragedy of massive proportions: passionate, profound, and heart-wrenchingly honest. With a sung-through score and tour-de-force roles for actors, Miss Saigon is a theatrical experience that will stay with you for years to come.
Winner of nine Tony Awards when it debuted in 1964, Fiddler on the Roof is the brainchild of Broadway legends, Jerome Robbins and Harold Prince; songwriters, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick; and bookwriter, Joseph Stein. Touching audiences worldwide with its humor, warmth and honesty, this universal show is a staple of the musical theatre canon. Set in the little village of Anatevka, the story centers on Tevye, a poor milkman, and his five daughters. With the help of a colorful and tight-knit Jewish community, Tevye tries to protect his daughters and instill them with traditional values in the face of changing social mores and the growing anti-Semitism of Czarist Russia. Rich in historical and ethnic detail, Fiddler on the Roof's universal theme of tradition cuts across barriers of race, class, nationality and religion, leaving audiences crying tears of laughter, joy and sadness.
The show features a star turn in Tevye, among the most memorable roles in musical theatre. MTI's comprehensive choreographic guide allows productions to retain original director/choreographer, Jerome Robbins', classic staging. With iconic and beloved songs such as "Sunrise, Sunset," "If I Were a Rich Man" and "Matchmaker, Matchmaker," Fiddler on the Roof is the perfect mix of audience-pleasing humor and heart.
David Mamet's new Oval Office satire depicts one day in the life of a beleaguered American commander-in-chief. It's November in a Presidential election year, and incumbent Charles Smith's chances for reelection are looking grim. Approval ratings are down, his money's running out, and nuclear war might be imminent. Though his staff has thrown in the towel and his wife has begun to prepare for her post-White House life, Chuck isn't ready to give up just yet. Amidst the biggest fight of his political career, the President has to find time to pardon a couple of turkeys — saving them from the slaughter before Thanksgiving — and this simple PR event inspires Smith to risk it all in attempt to win back public support. With Mamet's characteristic no-holds-barred style, November is a scathingly hilarious take on the state of America today and the lengths to which people will go to win.
Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen's most beloved stories and the classic animated film, Disney's The Little Mermaid is a hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages. With music by eight-time Academy Award winner, Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater and a compelling book by Doug Wright, this fishy fable will capture your heart with its irresistible songs, including "Under the Sea," "Kiss the Girl" and "Part of Your World." Ariel, King Triton's youngest daughter, wishes to pursue the human Prince Eric in the world above, bargaining with the evil sea witch, Ursula, to trade her tail for legs. But the bargain is not what it seems, and Ariel needs the help of her colorful friends, Flounder the fish, Scuttle the seagull and Sebastian the crab to restore order under the sea.
Based on the cult classic film of the same name, Heathers is the story of Veronica Sawyer, a senior at the fictional Westerberg High. Veronica longs to be cool like the clique of it-girls that runs Westerberg: the unaffected, unattainable Heathers. Unfortunately, in addition to awesome levels of popularity, the Heathers are also cruel, choosing to mock and bully their kingdom into submission. When Veronica uses her skills as a forger to get the Heathers out of detention, she impresses their leader Heather Chandler— so much so that they agree to let her into their exclusive club. At first Veronica is thrilled—until she finds out that being one of the Heathers means bullying the same kids she used to call friends. Meanwhile, Veronica finds herself attracted to a mysterious newcomer at school named Jason Dean (JD). When an innocent drink mixup results in the accidental poisoning of Heather Chandler, JD convinces Veronica to stage Heather’s suicide. The results are so successful that Veronica and JD, exhilarated with their newfound power, resolve to rid Westerberg of the cruelly popular elite forever. With raw, edgy, and culturally relevant numbers like “Beautiful,” “Candy Store,” and “Yo Girl,” Heathers is fast becoming a fan favorite among community theaters and high schoolers