TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — To help fine-tune the overall shows, the River City Players held dress rehearsals and preview performances this week. Opening night for the 36th season is Thursday, June 13, with "60s Rock and Roll." "60s Country" kicks off on Friday, June 14.

This music review is produced by NSU's College of Liberal Arts and presented by the Sequoyah Institute.

"The preview shows are attended by sponsors and volunteers and we invited the downtown businesses," said Hannah Truitt, Sequoyah Institute coordinator. "Members of RSVP are volunteers. They serve concessions and scan tickets."

Donations are accepted for the popcorn and drinks available for show attendees.

Nine university students have learned 82 songs this season, as well as dance moves to help entertain the audiences and show off their skills.

"We cut a few songs to keep it to an hour and 45 with intermission," said Robyn Pursley, chair of Art and Drama at Northeastern State University.

The cast was selected after 30 people auditioned at NSU, University of Central Oklahoma, and Oklahoma City University.

Cast members who returned this year, and the number of years and their hometowns are: Trico Blue, four years, Tahlequah; Lyric Peterson, four years, Tahlequah; Auburn Kirkhart, two years, Fort Gibson; and Carly Johnson, two years, Muskogee.

New to the cast are: Katelyn Morton, Tahlequah; Denver King, Bixby; Libby McCormack, Guthrie; Hagen Wano, Guthrie; and D.J. Fortner, Austin, Texas.

"The show provides summer stock experience for university students. We had a big group to choose from, which was nice," said Pursley.

The cast is made up of five women and four men this season, and Pursley said that allows them to add a little more dancing while others are singing.

While last year's shows had small segments of similar songs, those have been removed.

"The first act is a larger section with fewer breaks, so that allowed us to do more songs. The second act is the same," said Pursley. "The band goes from song to song really fast. It makes the show flow even better."

The backing band is more visible with the current stage configuration. Members of the River City Players band are: Farren Mayfield, director and piano; Bradley Spears, guitar; Bill Perkins, fiddle; Jeric Davison, tenor sax; Blayne Littleford, bass; and Andrew Lindroth, drums.

"There are seven in the tech crew and they are all NSU students or recently graduated," said Pruitt.

RCP alumna Sydney Jennings came back from New York to do choreography.

"It's good to work with newer cast members. This group has a little bit more dance background and training," said Jennings. "This show is high-caliber. It is comparable to shows I've seen in New York."

Anderson Daniel, another former River City Player, taught all the vocals.

The 2019 River City Players season runs through Aug. 3. The June 28 country show is already sold out. With tour groups coming for this Branson-style show, more performance dates could sell out. No shows will be performed July 4-5.

"60s Rock and Roll" performances are on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m. "60s Country" is performed on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. All shows are in the NSU Playhouse, 300 N. Muskogee Ave.

Tickets prices are: $13 for adults; $11 for NSU alumni and employees; $10 for seniors; and $7 for children. Discounts are available for groups of 12 or more. Teachers with a valid school ID can get $3 off the Thursday night "60s Rock and Roll" ticket prices. When buying online, the code "TEACH" will be entered for the discount.

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