Tom K. Ryan’s popular comic strip characters will come to life on the Rend Lake College stage next month with the 2005 RLC Kids Musical, “Tumbleweeds.”
Community youths will perform in the production, which was written by Tim Kelly with music by Arne Christiansen. With hilarious lyrics by Ole Kittleson, foot-stompin’ tunes abound in this Western farce.
“Tumbleweeds,” Ryan’s cheerfully irreverent look at the Old West, is the popular comic strip found in hundreds of newspapers. The strip gets its name from the likeable cowpoke who tries his best to be an optimist.
The husband-crazed Hildegard Hamhocker (crazy for any husband as long as it’s Tumbleweeds) is brought to life with songs such as “Marryin’ Fever” and “I Got Everythin’ But the Man” as she chases the title character all over Grimy Gulch, trying the drag the resistant bachelor to the altar.
As for the other residents, Judge Frump (who gives everyone a fair and impartial conviction) chases the bank robber Snake-Eye McFoul all over town with a hopelessly inept deputy and a posse of confused citizens.
The Choo-Choo Railway wants to wipe Grimy Gulch from the map, and it sends Throckmorton Fleesum, a sly con man, and his accomplice Clementine Greedy to arrange things with the meanest man in town – McFoul. When Fleesum and Clementine arrive on the scene, they decide to enlist the aid of the Poohawks, a nearby tribe of rather modern-thinking Native Americans who can only be induced to stage a war if the price is right. Throckmorton wants them to chase the good citizens out of Grimy Gulch so it can be leveled for the new railway.
Tumbleweeds has decided he likes Grimy Gulch, but no one is interested in Tumbleweeds’ attempt to improve the town except his former school teacher, Prudence Lovely, who arrives with a stagecoach of romantic young ladies on an educational tour. When his teacher from back east arrives, sparking romance in the cowboy’s heart, he digs in his spurs and rolls up his sleeves for a high-noon showdown with the villains.
Tumbleweeds will have to escape from the angry Poohawks first or risk becoming the centerpiece of the “Poohawk Barbeque.” To help out, Prudence plans to open a “School For the Ignorant.”
The show will run Thursday, May 19, through Sunday, May 22, at the Rend Lake College Theatre. The Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7 p.m. and the Sunday performance will be a 2 p.m. matinee.
Don’t miss this rambunctious romp of a musical comedy. Tickets are $10 and are available by calling (618) 437-5321, Ext. 1200, or toll-free (in-district only) at 1-800-369-5321, Ext. 1200. Visa, MasterCard and Discover are accepted.