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Festival board already looking ahead to 40th Anniversary season

Members of the cast of Urinetown, a mainstage show at the Stephenville Theatre Festival, pose for a photo during a rehearsal early in the season.
Members of the cast of Urinetown, a mainstage show at the Stephenville Theatre Festival, pose for a photo during a rehearsal early in the season.

Carol Betts, a regular patron of the Stephenville Theatre Festival who attends most of the shows each year, said overall she enjoyed the season more this year than last year.

She recognized that no matter what you put on stage, you won’t please everybody.

Betts found that one of the mainstage shows, “Urinetown,” started out slow and that a lot of people didn’t like it because of the nature of it. But for her, it picked up well and she enjoyed the dancing, singing and the professionalism of the performance.

For Betts, the children’s show “Cinderella – A Rat-ical Retelling” was excellent.

As a retired kindergarten teacher she really enjoyed the show, especially watching how children in front of her got into it.

“It was one of the best children’s shows I’ve seen at the festival for a long time,” she said.

Betts really liked “Rocketman, Elton John,” which featured his music in a dinner theatre setting.

She said there was no waiting for the meal and the show itself was very well done. She said dinner theatre is something the festival should certainly look at for future seasons, as they are popular in the area.

While Betts was impressed with how the two performers in “For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again” were able to remember all their lines, the play itself didn’t “do it” for her. While she generally likes plays, she didn’t like that one.

She said “The Marvelous Wonderettes,” a mainstage musical was just a fun show that was lively, quick and snappy and fun for the audience members.

Betts said “Legacy: Country Legends” was great and she was glad to see Jennifer Dawson-Hobbs back on stage, this time with Donovan Conran and Hayward Bennett.

“It was well done and appealed to people. The festival needs to look at things people here are used to and they should bring back former performers at the festival from previous years for their 40th anniversary next year,” she said.

Elizabeth Brown, chair of the festival board of directors, said the festival board is looking at something big for the milestone season next year, which will be announced at a later date.

She felt this season went well and recognized a few of the shows didn’t bring in the size of audiences they had hoped but others did exceptionally well.

“But the season is made up of the sum of the parts,” Brown said.

The biggest draw was “Rocketman” for which they added a fifth show, with all of them sold out.

She said “Cinderella” was loved by the children, that Cindy O’Neill’s “A Night With…” had a full house and lots of people were out to see the Country Legends show.

While the mainstage shows did not do as well as hoped, Brown said both were still performed well.

She said the board of directors is now planning for next season

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