‘The Ballad of Black Jack’ set for return
When it returns to the stage this weekend during the Maple Leaf Festival, "The Ballad of Black Jack" will boast a cast of 49, with 25 players from Baldwin.
Sarah Beach will be the leading lady, Melinda, for the third time, a role played earlier by her mother, Robin Miller, who assumes the role of Gloomy Aggie. Marion Constantinescu will again be Rev. More, whose experience of being force-fed liquor by the Missouri ruffians is right out of the history books. Kirk Brown will play the killer, Franklin Coleman and T.J. Danley, who has been in 16 of the 17 productions, will again be Robert Hall Pearson.
Ryan Nichols, a fifth-year music major at Baker, is cast as Charles Dow. He will solo on "Bettin' My Hat" and join returning male lead, Jim Tuchscherer, on the duet, "Branson and Dow."
Greg Wessling will provide comedy for the show as Zeke, with Sheree Mills as Mrs. Grimm, Jackie Robertson as Zeke's girlfriend, and Verdeania Zeller as Grannie.
New in their roles will be Chris Cook as Sheriff Jones, Paul Minor as Owen Brown and Gerard Arantowicz as Col. Sumner.
Baldwinites in the chorus are Steve Absher, Emma and Willie Cook, Carrie Dietz, Ally Foye, Sharon Magee-Minor, Chelsy Montgomery and Amelia Wilson.
Don Mueller, the play's author-composer, will be at the piano, with Hal Bundy of Ottawa on string bass and Bruce Roberts of Lawrence on drums.
First performed in 1971, the Ballad was absent from the Festival for 13 years due to a lack of performance space. When it returned in 2001, Carolee Vincent of Tonganoxie was the director and has continued both as director and choreographer.
The musical will be at 7 p.m. Friday, 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Rice Auditorium, Eighth and Dearborn. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students. They can be purchased at the door or by calling (785) 640-0196.