Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s groundbreaking musical version of Edna Ferber’s novel examines the lives of Cap’n Andy and his troupe of traveling show boat performers, including his naïve daughter Magnolia, her gambling husband Gaylord Ravenal, the tragic mixed-race actress Julie, and black stevedore Joe, who marvels at the constancy of the “Ol’ Man River” they travel on. The show spans the years from 1880 to 1927. This lyrical masterpiece concerns the lives, loves and heartbreaks of three generations of show folk on the Mississippi, in Chicago, and on Broadway.
Music by Jerome Kern, Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Based on the novel Show Boat by Edna Ferber
Officially opening the 80th season was a revival of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein’s “Show Boat.” The production featured 67 performers and an orchestra of 25. The technical staff worked wonders using the limited space and an aged lighting board and fixtures to present this highly praised show. “Show Boat” in 1961 made possible the building of the Robinhood Lane Theatre, and now the 2002 “Show Boat” was on hand to open the celebration of 80 seasons. In the “Show Boat” program was a small broadside program for the “The Parson’s Bride,” a play within the musical. Also in the program was the announcement of the first “The Pantagraph’s Holiday Spectacular” as produced by Community Players. Ticket information for this special three performance production could be found at the Community Players’ box office.