Oh, the horror of the hilarity
LUVERNE -- The trick-or treating may be over, but the Green Earth Players have a few monstrous thrills -- and a few laughs, too -- in store for area theatergoers.
The Luverne-based troupe will stage a musical, "I'm Sorry the Bridge Is Out, You'll Have to Spend the Night," on two upcoming weekends at the Historic Palace Theatre in downtown Luverne.
The play, written by Sheldon Allman and Bob Pickett -- the latter the composer of the popular Halloween tune "Monster Mash" -- is a riff on the classic tale of a couple stranded at a castle inhabited by crazy creatures.
"You've got the classic horror story-type setup," explained Shawn Kinsinger, who has assumed directing duties for the production. "A couple young innocents (John and Mary) who fall into the waiting arms of all these monsters, who want to use them for their own plots and schemes. They get stranded at Frankenstein's castle, discover the bridge has collapsed, and get stuck in this castle for the rest of the night. Then every major movie monster comes out of the woodwork, and there's singing and dancing. It makes for a great show."
When it came to casting, Kinsinger had to take a different approach to matching the actors with the parts.
"People had their favorites, and choosing who got to be what monster was one of those rare times when you had to look at how somebody looks and decide who would make a good Frankenstein, who would make a good Dracula," he said.
The cast of 13 -- a number that Kinsinger says harbors no unlucky connotations for him -- has been having a good time preparing for their campy roles.
"It's been going great," said Kinsinger. "We've just been having a blast. But we usually have to stop every once in a while and get all the giggles out before we can keep going."
"I'm Sorry the Bridge Is Out" is the first play the Green Earth Players have mounted following a move to a new headquarters, and they are still settling in to the new digs.
"Breaking it in for the first time is a bit of a challenge," Kinsinger explained. "Usually somebody on the board or somebody who is in the show knows where everything is, but all that knowledge went right out the window with the move. Did we throw that away? Is it upstairs? And we've got a bit smaller rehearsal space, too. For shows with more cast members, it can be a bit more cramped. But we make up for that in the work space area. We've got a bigger space to build sets, so we're way ahead of schedule on those."
Musically, the play should appeal to a wide variety of people.
"There are a lot of genres of music covered, including blues and doo wop," Kinsinger noted.
The synopsis of the plays provides these details about the musical score:
Dr. Frankenstein wants John's brain for his creation and tells why in the song, "A Well-Trained Brain." Igor feels he won't be using his brain so, in "Play Your Hunch," he says it might as well be transferred into John's body. Then, in "All Eternity Blues," Dracula reveals his plan to add Mary to his harem -- while feasting on John. Mom Talbot bemoans her fate as the mother of a wolfman in "The Things a Mother Goes Through."
With its seasonal appropriateness and combination of songs and laughs, the Green Earth Players hope to attract enthusiastic audiences at each of the six production dates.
"People like to come to a show and laugh, not to say that the serious shows wouldn't go over well," said Kinsinger. "But people will come to a show if they know they're going to get a good chuckle."
"I'm Sorry the Bridge Is Out" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday; and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16 and 17 and 2 p.m. Nov. 18. Tickets are available by calling the box office at the Carnegie Cultural Center, (507) 283-8294.
Daily Globe Features Editor Beth Rickers can be reached at 376-7327.