Northeastern's River City Players get boost from experienced cast

(Tahlequah, OK)--If rock ‘n’ roll is your thing, then enjoy a Branson-style show with the River City Players from Northeastern State University this summer on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The seasoned cast will help make the show a hit, with seven of eight members returning from last year.

Robyn Pursley, artistic director of RCP, said, "I am so excited about our cast and shows this season. I feel very fortunate to have so much returning talent this year. Having so many returning performers makes everyone's job a little bit easier, but don't underestimate our newcomers. We have some excellent new talent joining the River City family this year. They are all such strong performers that I feel more than confident in projecting that our shows will be spectacular this season."

Returning for a sixth year is Kira Abbott of Seminole, and this is also her second year as the River City Players' choreographer. She is an instructor for the Tahlequah Ballet and says she is "inspired by the cast, students and her parents."

Daniel Woodworth of Tahlequah is returning for his third year with the production and says he loves belting bass for the Players. He says he is inspired by his mother and hopes RCP "can prepare him for the 'real' world of showbiz."

Melodie McCay of Tulsa is also a third year performer and a member of NSU’s GoVertigo Dance Company. McCay is active on and off campus as the assistant director of the local Boys and Girls Club and Chi Alpha Campus Ministries. She hopes to teach children about music and theatre after graduating in 2011.

Jillian Dunn says she is excited to return to the stage with River City. Dunn is from Muskogee and is a junior at NSU, where she is majoring in psychology and theater. Dunn competed in Eastern District Honor Choir from 2005-07 and is active in NSU Theatre.

One can also see Savannah Hamilton, known to many as “Sissy." She is in her third year with the Players. Hamilton graduates in December and will be the fourth woman in her family to earn a degree at NSU.

"I am inspired by my family and God," she said. "No matter where I go or what I do, they will always be by my side. If God brings you to it, then God will bring you through it.”

Brian Gaylor also returns this summer. A Tahlequah resident for 21 years, Gaylor also mentors at the Boys and Girls Club. He says he would one day love to perform, direct or produce a Broadway show and the River City Players will help him gain performance experience. Gaylor says he is inspired by Tahlequah High School choir director Margie Green "because she is a brilliant musician, teacher and friend." Gaylor believes that “music and performing are the most addicting drugs a person can do.”

Anderson Daniel also returns and says he is "extremely excited" to be back with RCP. He attends Oklahoma City University and majors in music theater. Anderson’s father, Dr. Robert Daniel, is an associate professor of music at NSU. Anderson says he hopes to one day make it big on Broadway and is influenced by the vocal talent of Ben Folds.

New to the cast is Jacob Vandiver, a graduate of Fort Gibson High School who plans to start classes at NSU this fall. He received first place in the Fine Arts Festival for Oklahoma Youth Ministry and hopes to become a successful vocal artist.

River City Players can be seen from June 24 through August 7 at the Shawnee Street Theater located on the northwest corner of College Avenue and Downing Street. Their productions of Hollywood Hits can be seen Thursday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Oldies But Goodies can be seen Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.

If country music is more your style, then check out Downtown Country at the University Playhouse located on the northeast corner of Muskogee Avenue and Downing Street. Their productions of Destination Country can be seen Thursday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and If This Ol’ Dock Could Talk can be seen Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.

Ticket prices are adults $12, NSU alumni and employees $10, seniors 60-over and groups of 12 or more $8, children and NSU students $6. A $1 discount is available for advance tickets purchased for June performances. For tickets or reservations call (918) 458-2075.

The Stars in the Summer Series is made possible by NSU’s College of Liberal Arts and sponsored by the Tahlequah Area Tourism Council. 

Published: 6/16/2010 12:49:27 PM

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