‘Utopia’: The Iowa Musical Revue

Popular production is coming to Webster City Community Theatre

-Submitted photo
Megan Schettler Schug, Craig Petersen and Mary Bricker perform a scene from “Utopia — The Iowa Musical Revue.” The production comes to the Webster City Community Theatre Friday, Saturday and March 25. The theater is located at 1001 Willson Ave. in Webster City.

WEBSTER CITY — Webster City will be the first stop on the tour of “Utopia — The Iowa Musical Revue,” as Epic Stage Productions kicks off a 2018 tour of several Iowa communities.

In partnership with Webster City Community Theatre, and in conjunction with the Iowa Community Theatre Association’s state convention, three performances will be presented in Webster City this month. The performances will be held Friday and March 24 at 7:30 p.m. as well as Sunday, March 25, at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $15 and are available at the WCCT website, wcctonline.org, or at the door prior to performances. The theater is located at 1001 Willson Ave., in Webster City.

Officials said the production contains subject matter that may not be suitable for audiences under the age of 13.

“Utopia — The Iowa Musical Revue” celebrates — and pokes a little fun at — the unique people, places and traditions of the great state of Iowa.

The 2018 touring production will feature the “greatest hits” from all five of the previous versions of the show since its inception in 2009. They will include sketches and parody songs about everything from RAGBRAI and the Cy-Hawk football game to detasseling and the Iowa weather.

Organizers said more than 4,000 people have viewed the production to date.

The musical was created by Iowa playwright and Fort Dodge native Robert John Ford. Other musicals to his credit include “Caucus! The Musical” and “Six-on-Six: The Musical.” The touring production will feature four of the five original cast members — Mary Bricker, Craig Petersen, Megan Schettler Schug and Katelyn McBurney — along with newcomer Shane Donegan.

“Utopia is the perfect entertainment option for Iowas who like to laugh at themselves and visitors who want a hilarious taste of the Hawkeye State,” said Ford. “The show will bring a smile to your face and a warm feeling to your heartland.”

The 2018 touring production is supported in part by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

ICTA convention

In even-numbered years, members of the Iowa Community Theatre Association gather for their state convention. WCCT will be hosting members from across Iowa on March 23-25. Features of the weekend are workshops presented by professional theatre people from Florida, Nebraska and Iowa. Topics covered are directing, costuming, fighting, radio theatre, and theatre games. Also scheduled are the annual meeting and election of board members, presentation of Awards of Excellence, and three performances of “Utopia: The Iowa Musical Revue.”

The 15 board members will also participate in a workshop with Kathy Pingel of Florida, a trainer with the American Association of Community Theatres.

Fort Dodge native John Robert Ford’s work will be center stage

Robert John Ford is an award-winning playwright, composer and lyricist whose plays have been produced throughout the country. He was born and raised in Fort Dodge and attended Iowa State University, where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1985.

From 1988 to 2003, he was employed by the world-renowned Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, where he initially worked in the marketing and development departments. In 1994, he was named the theatre’s casting director and served as the artistic associate to Artistic Director Jack O’Brien and Executive Producer Craig Noel. While at the Globe, he completed his first full-length play — “Wake,” a drama about the AIDS epidemic. A staged reading of the play in 1990 was so well-received by Globe audiences and artists that he was encouraged to more actively pursue his passion for playwriting and composing. Over the course of the next 13 years, he completed more works, including his first musical “Six-on-Six,” for which he wrote the book, music and lyrics, according to his website.

In 2004, he returned to his home state of Iowa.

In 2014, he was one of five artists selected to be an Iowa Arts Council Fellow in the inaugural year of the program.