‘Ballad of Black Jack’ set for 18th performance
This year's "Ballad of Black Jack" will bring together both new and familiar faces as a cast of 49 presents the historical musical for the 18th year, with a cast drawn from 11 towns and cities. Performances are on Maple Leaf Festival weekend, with a Friday show at 7 p.m., Saturday shows at 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and Sunday's matinee at 1:30 p.m.
Returning as the lovers are Jim Tuchscherer and Sarah Beach. Tuchscherer is the new director of the show, with Rachael Buckley as choreographer. He played Charles Dow his first year at Baker in 1977 and was frequently the comedy lead, Zeke.
Another former Zeke is on stage. Brooks Payne of Berrien Springs, Mich., is making his annual trek to take part in a show in which he has played various comedy roles ever since his days as a Baker pLayman.
Running lights for the show is Ron Chinn of Topeka. He first signed on in 1971 and has been lighting the show ever since.
Bob Newton of Lawrence returns in the role of Captain James Abbott, his ninth year in the part.
Four families have two or more members on stage. Robin Miller (Gloomy Aggie) is the mother of the leading lady and of the choreographer. There are five Landons in the show -- father Barry (as Sheriff Jones) mother Pamela (as Mrs. Grimm) daughter Brianna (as Lucy), Bryce (Owen Brown) and Blythe as the "Me too!" girl.
Paul Rayson of Ottawa, who, like Chinn, Payne and Tuchscherer is a former Baker pLayman, makes his first Ballad appearance since he was a Baker student in 1978. He is cast as John Brown. His son, Christian, 20, plays Zeke, and another son, John, 9, is in the children's chorus.
Also new to the show are Kurt and Nicole Hollingshead and daughter Claira, Edgerton, and Shawn and Michael Deegan, Rantoul. Returnees Stephen and Kelly Cady, Olathe, will again be Governor Robinson and Mrs. Werther.
Michael Bruce of Lawrence will again be Ephraim with his sister Lora playing Hepatica and his mother, Lynn, singing in the chorus.
Baldwin players include Gerard Arantowicz, Kirk Brown, Marion Constantinescu, Koretta Ellifrits, Tom Holland, Rachel Horsley, Paul Minor, Sharon Magee-Minor, Sheree Mills, Jem Minor, Kelsey Oyler and Verdeania Zeller.
Out-of-towners are Mary Brohammer, Genee Figuieras, Bonnie Frederick, Jaryl Perkins, Tom Gillard and Barb Jacobs.
In the children's chorus are Echo Craig, Stephanie Minor, Kara Protasio, Alexandra Rader and Brandon Ritter, plus the children already named.
Author-composer Don Mueller will be at piano, Bruce Roberts on drums, Hal Bundy on string bass and Charles Van Middlesworth on clarinet. Sheree Mills and Jerri Phillips are costumers.