Youth Theater to offer two shows this month at OFP

"Stage Manager and her Assistant" from 'The Rehearsal' - Left to Right: Xandra Abel, Elianna Kerriker, Sydney Amberger. Youth performances start July 23 with a 7:30 p.m. show. Courtesy photo

Old Fort Players

FORT MADISON – Thanks to a generous grant from the United Way, Old Fort Players Youth Theater Program is a go for 2021. “Because we’ve been away from the stage for so long, we decided to expand our age limit and break the young people into two groups,” Director Richar Abel told us.

The younger group (10-14) will perform a short version of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ based on the book by Frank Baum and adapted by Carmella Gates. It is published by Classic Acts. The older group (15-18) will star in their own production of ‘The Rehearsal.’ Both shows will perform the same weekend with a short intermission in between. ‘The Rehearsal’ written by Don Zolidis, is produced by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc. (

 ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is the classic tale of a Kansas farm girl transported by a cyclone to the magical land of Oz. There she meets all sorts of colorful characters who help her on her journey of discovery complete with flying monkeys and a little dog, too. Dorothy may learn that there is no place like home, but it certainly is fun to go on an advenure every now and then especially when you can hitch a ride on a tornado. 

“The Wizard of Oz” cast is as follows:  Dorothy – Aida Troutman, Auntie Em – Mallory Troutman, Scarecrow – Sofia Gilbert, Tin Woodman –MaKenzie Daly, The Cowardly Lion – Sunshine Zioui, Queen of Field Mice – Chloe Smith, Doorman – Xandra Abel, The Wizard – Oscar Bauswell, Glinda the Good Witch of the North – Iley Troutman, Wicked Witch of the West – Aubrey Davis, Mayor of Munchkin Land – Cassidy Smith. 

“Asleep in the Poppies” From The Wizard of Oz: Left to Right – lying down – Aida Troutman, Sunshine Zioui, standing:  Makenzie Daly, Piper Shafer. Photo courtesy of Old Fort Players

Filling various roles as Munchkins, Wolves, Crows, Queens Soldiers, Winged Monkeys – Ellena Kellum, Jaxyn Kellum, Arya Sutton, Braelynn Menard Kellum.

“The Rehearsal” follows the antics of teenagers cast in their high school musical “Guys and Dolls.” There’s only one problem, a few of the cast members would rather be doing “Wicked” and they keep interjecting lines from the wrong show. The Stage Manager is a bit of a tyrant with a list of rules as long as your arm and there don’t seem to be enough boys in the cast which has them wondering if they should rename it “Dolls and Dolls.” One of the few boys has to keep reminding everyone,  “I will not wear tights,” while another actor, frustrated with not being cast in the lead reminds the Director, “My mother is on the school board, you know.”

“It’s a really funny script and the older kids are having a blast with it. Those that are here for the earlier rehearsal time are even helping out with the younger kids. So they are learning twice as much about theater – acting as well as directing,” Angela Sanford said. Sanford’s lending Abel some much needed help during the production.

“The Rehearsal” cast is as follows: Miss Henderson – Mallory Troutman, Julie – Sydney Amberger, Deb & Girl 1 – Piper Schafer, Angela & Mike – Xandra Abel, Morgan & Girl 4 – Olivia Shields, Guy – Oscar Bauswell, Barry & Tyler – Juniper Strickland, Savannah & Girl 2 – Emily Kayser, Girl 3 – Elianna Karriker, Jessie & Darrel – Rosie Strickland, Jim – Gregory Waters.

Performances run July 23, 24 & 25, 2021. Evening shows begin at 7:30 and the Sunday matinee begins at 2:00 pm. Tickets will be available online July 9th and the link to purchase will be posted on and the theater’s Facebook page.  Adult tickets are $8 and Students get in for $5. For those wanting to pay cash or credit for tickets at the door, you can and should reserve your seat by phone or Facebook Messenger. 

This past season would have been Old Fort Players’ 40th anniversary but the celebration has been postponed until the next full season can be scheduled. The theater is located in downtown Fort Madison at 725 Avenue G. Send a Facebook message, send an email to or call 319-372-9559 for more information. Like them on Facebook (Fb@oldfortplayers) or visit to keep up with everything that’s going on at the theater.

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