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'Route 66' comes by Worthington

Photo taken by E2G Inc. Ed McAtee, Joe Parrish, Craig Petersen and Charlie Reese will be performing "Route 66" at Memorial Auditorium on New Year's Eve.

WORTHINGTON -- People longing to travel the renowned Route 66 will soon have the opportunity to -- via the Memorial Auditorium and Performing Arts Center stage, that is.

The new musical revue "Route 66" will be coming to Memorial Auditorium next week. The show will mark the continuation of an auditorium tradition of hosting a performance on New Year's Eve.

"The Friends of the Auditorium present a New Year's Eve show every year to the community and surrounding area," said Margaret Hurlbut Vosburgh, manager of Memorial Auditorium.

However, this year will be different from the past.

'"Snow on the Porch' has been the New Year's Eve show of past years, and has generally been performed by local volunteers," Vosburgh said. "However, as the years go on, it gets more difficult to find volunteers."

So this year, the Friends of the Auditorium board decided to bring in a different show to ring in the new year.

"The Friends of the Auditorium had the opportunity to go see the show ("Route 66") and they thought it was great," Vosburgh said.

"Route 66" was originally written for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater and authored by Roger Bean, a writer and director who specializes in jukebox musicals.

Monday's show is sponsored by Jim and Angie Mixner of Worthington, and will be performed by four actors and vocalists: Ed McAtee, Joe Parrish, Craig Petersen and Charlie Reese.

"It's a professional group that comes out of the Des Moines area," Vosburgh said. "It's something different than done in the past."

The show takes audience members on a drive along Route 66 and introduces them to several different cities and characters along the way, including a lonesome cowboy and a lawman.

"It starts out in Chicago, where the beginning of Route 66 starts, and they travel all across America to the California coast," Vosburgh said.

The show involves more than 30 musical numbers from the '50s and '60s, including "Dead Man's Curve," "G.T.O" and "King of the Road." The songs are incorporated throughout the show in various ways.

"They actually have some vintage radio ads that are part of the performance," Vosburgh said.

"Take a dollop of 'Grease,' mix in some 'Pump Boys and Dinettes' and add a generous dose of 'Forever Plaid' and you've got the pedal-to-the-metal, high-octane fun of 'Route 66,'" the show's promotional material states.

The script has a little bit of everything, including a lot of comedy within the dialogue, Vosburgh said.

"This is really a family show, so bring the kids, the family, the neighbors, whoever," Vosburgh said.

"Route 66" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. New Year's Eve at Memorial Auditorium. Advanced tickets can be purchased at a lower price at the box office from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday or by phone. Tickets will also be available at the door.