By Sue Moore
“The Great Campaign” seeks to shed some light on the national elections as the Showboat crew votes for its captain in much the way the nation votes for its president, according to Dr. Ken Franklin, the show’s director.
The contest for captain takes place at the Vicksburg Performing Arts Center on February 26, 27, and 28, with the curtain going up at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and 2 p.m. for the Sunday performance. Tickets are all general admission in 2016.
A spaghetti dinner, served by the Boy Scouts and their leaders in Vicksburg Troop 251 will get everyone in the right mood for the songs and jokes from the Showboat cast, says Kevin Bordon, scout troop leader. Advance “combo” tickets for the show and the dinner will be available at Hill’s Pharmacy and from the Boy Scouts. The troop is also planning a brunch in advance of Sunday’s matinee from noon to 2 p.m. Bordon points out. All three meals are a fundraiser for the scouts. The Rotary Club and its charities will benefit from proceeds from the show, David Aubry, president of the club says.
Both groups have combined to offer a silent auction that will be held in the cafeteria each night and for the Sunday matinee. Some great and small surprises will be auctioned off to also help raise funds for the scouts and Rotary Club, according to Mary Ruple, who is working out the details.
On stage, an emissary from Rotary International shows up to demand that the position of captain of the Showboat be duly elected by conducting a proper election campaign. Thus the setting for a debate between the captain, his first mate who decides to throw himself into the ring and Vera Burris, a walk-on from last year’s show played by Jim Thompson, who wowed the audience with his impersonation of the great lady enjoying her tea and crumpets. Things get out of hand from there, said Franklin, the lead writer of the script committee.
The crew of the Vicksburg Rotary Showboat is comprised of a male chorus with many years of experience singing together. They are volunteers who love to sing and are led by Chris Garrett in his eleventh year as the chorus director. There are soloists who are well known to the community, in particular Charlie Glaes, in his 20th year of being on stage, Bob Donelson, Carl Keller, Jeremy Franklin, and Dusty Morris, the high school choir conductor. Mike Tichvon serves the club as general chairman of the Showboat.
This is the 63rd rendition of the Vicksburg Rotary Showboat. Over $550,000 has been raised through these performances and given right back into the community for improvements. Big items include a three year pledge to help build the pavilion, start-up funds to launch the Revolutionary War re-enactments, Rocket football helmets, Sunset Elementary school’s playground equipment, ALS Foundation, Generous Hands, Vicksburg Historical Society Historic Footprint Project, Vicksburg Athletic Boosters and the United Way of Vicksburg.
Combo tickets for the dinner and show for adults are $15 which represents a $3 overall price reduction. Single tickets for the show are $10 and $8 for the dinner. Children under 10 will pay $10 for the combo ticket each night. The combo brunch ticket is $12 for adults and $10 for kids under age 10.
For further information on tickets, call Hill’s Pharmacy, 649-1476. Tickets will also be available on the day of each show at the high school box office and from the scouts at the cafeteria door.