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Daughter's plight in play: if not funny, she'd cry

Members of the cast of “Don’t Tell Mother” gather around Lori Arndt (“mother”), front and center on the couch, cautioning each other not to tell during a rehearsal Wednesday for the Great River Road Theatre Company’s winter production. Five dinner theatre performances and two matinee lunch performances open Friday, Feb. 7. (Herald photo by Bill Kirk)

PRESCOTT—This is the story of someone who knows something she really should tell, but is afraid to do so.

Audiences attending the Great River Road Theatre Company’s production of “Don’t Tell Mother,” opening Friday, Feb. 7, will find out whether the secret is ever revealed, especially to the title character. Rehearsals were underway at The Ridgetop, site for the presentation east of Prescott on Hwy. 10, last week.

“It’s dinner theatre and she’s going to cater it,” Director Judy Johnson said Wednesday about Amy Hildebrandt of the nearby Valley Bar and Grill, also operator of The Ridgetop, where seating for the play is estimated at 70-to-80.

The tale, written by Monk Ferris, involves the daughter of the mom in the title, who’s coming home from work in Chicago and runs into a bank robbery, Johnson said. The young woman not only sees the robber, but believes he’s seen her. She hurries home, thinking he’s coming after her—a situation giving rise to all kinds of hilarity.

“It’s a comedy,” the director said, indicating the only music will be in the form of a song from Liz Gerke of the cast before each performance.

Johnson said she contacted one of the places she often gets scripts for plays, asking they make recommendations about ones suitable for dinner theatre. She chose this play, estimating it lasts approximately one-and-a-half hours, including an intermission.

Having been with the local theatre troupe for 21 years, the director said casting has evolved into a matter of interested people coming to her. She then filled the nine main parts from among them.

“I had a man from Red Wing who’s been with a different theatre group come to one of our performances as a guest and he thought it looked like so much fun, he wanted to join us,” she said, remembering she wrote down his name at the time.

For more please read the Jan. 29 print version of the Herald. 

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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