Comedia Musica marks anniversary

Players to hold a celebration of the last 50 years

Rehearsals have been underway for a special 50th anniversary concert on Saturday by the Comedia Musica Players.

This anniversary concert is a way to commemorate providing quality musical theater productions every fall since the troupe was founded in 1968.

The group was founded by long-time Fort Dodge Senior High School Choral Director Larry Mitchell and Scott Griffith. They were the first theatre troupe to perform dinner theatre shows outside of the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre in Minnesota. The troupe has performed at least one full-length musical each year since forming.

“Scott was a former student of mine who loved theatre, and I was involved in the Fort Dodge Civic Glee Club,” Mitchell said. “We thought it would be fun to do a musical and from there Comedia was born.”

They are known to give professional-quality productions of musicals of all types, from the dramatic “Man of La Mancha” and “Camelot” – to a lighter fare such as “State Fair” and “Beauty and the Beast” – to the more operatic “Evita” and “Phantom.” Their most recent productions include “Annie,” “The Addams Family,” and “Mary Poppins.”

The 50th anniversary concert will feature iconic songs from the musicals Comedia has produced over the years.

“We will be having several original performers joining us for the night to perform songs from musicals, in which they had the lead role.”

Many original troupe members will be performing songs from the musicals they starred in, and you will hear several favorite chorus numbers by the Comedia troupe.

Mitchell will also be making a special apperance at the 50th anniversary celebration.

“Larry was instumental in the creation of Comedia, and he deserves so much credit for keeping the troupe alive for 40 years,” Amy Porter, president of Comedia said.

Mitchell will be singing the first song of the show, “Try to Remember” from “The Fantasticks,” the first show Comedia ever produced.

The 40th anniversary performance was the last time Mitchell performed with the group.

“It really means a lot to that they have kept the troupe going,” Mitchell said. “You never really know how long something is going to last, but it has been a wonderful endeavor and a way for us to give back to the community.”

There will be two performances, at 2 p.m. and at 7 p.m., on Saturday at the Fort Dodge Middle School Auditorium. Admission is freewill donation and general seating.

In November, Comedia will present “The Music Man” as their 50th annual production. It will be performed on November 9 – 11 in Decker Auditorium at Iowa Central Community College.

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