The State Theatre transforms into a circus tent the weekend of August 15 for the local premiere of
The Circus of Terror
By Luke Davidson and Jonathan Horn
Sponsored by Z-Theatre
This new farcical, musical whodunit is set during late 1929 on the site of a run-down circus in desperate need of financial assistance. The circus performers encounter numerous obstacles that prevent them from putting on a show — including a mysterious killer who is murdering the circus’ main acts. Mystery, music and comedy combine for an evening of home-grown entertainment.
7:30 PM, Friday, August 15
7:30 PM, Saturday, August 16
2:00 PM, Sunday, August 17
$4 Ages 11-18
FREE ages 10 and under
Tickets are available at Crossings at Carnegie, 320 East Ave in Zumbrota, (507-732-7616) and at the door one hour prior to showtime. All seats are general admission.
Family Friendly, but rated PG because some characters die.
Davidson approached Z-Theatre last summer with the idea of staging “Circus” at the State Theatre. As a cast member of the wildly successful 2012 production of Forever Plaid at the State Theatre, he knew it was the perfect venue for “Circus.” The show had made its debut on the Perpich Center stage just months before while Davidson was a student at the Perpich Arts High School in Golden Valley, MN. Both script and score were tweaked and polished during the preparation for the Perpich performance. Eventually what began as a just-for-fun endeavor in early 2012 became a real production in 2013. However, many local people were unable to attend the Perpich performance and both men were eager to showcase their work locally. Z-Theatre quickly recognized this as a perfect opportunity to promote local talent and agreed to financially sponsor the production. Davidson and Horn have taken on the lion’s share of all production details, with Z-Theatre providing assistance when requested. The pair commented, “We’d like to thank everyone involved in making this production possible. It’s not every day two young playwrights from rural Minnesota get a chance to direct their own work on a real stage with a team of people just as excited as we are!”
Coincidentally, opening night of “The Circus of Terror” falls almost exactly on the 86th anniversary of the Ringling Brothers-Barnum and Bailey Circus train derailment in Zumbrota on August 12, 1928. That incident occurred in the early morning hours of a Sunday. Thousands of people came to the area to witness the spectacle, which included zebras, albino horses and other exotic animals grazing in the pastures of Zumbrota. When the restaurants in town ran out of food, local residents pitched in and supplied meals at the Armory for the stranded travelers. The State Theatre played host to the circus people, filling up twice for a showing of, ironically, a film called “Circus.” Of course, seating accommodations had to be made as the audience included the world’s tallest man, midgets, and the world’s fattest woman, Alice from Dallas, billed at 683 pounds. The circus later proclaimed that Zumbrota showed hospitality beyond anything they had ever experienced.
Jonathan Horn (Kenyon) wrote the music for the show. Jonathan is currently studying at University of Northwestern—St. Paul as a double major in Music Composition and Theatre. He has written several compositions for piano, as well as a few other instruments. Luke Davidson (Wanamingo) is studying at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY as a Musical Theatre major. He has written screenplays for a few short films, such as Crazy About Macy directed by Adam Jacobs. Crazy About Macy won “Best Narrative” and “Best of the Festival” at the EDU Film Festival in Minneapolis, MN.
The cast of “Circus” includes Jason Hanson, Justin Lewis, Cynthia Biorn, Luke Davidson, Elyce Darcy, Heather Hauser, JC Koepsell, Katie Doehling, Anna Telecky, Carrie Doehling, Izzy Telecky, Dave Davidson, and Bella McMahan.
This production is made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
All shows are at Zumbrota’s Historic State Theatre, 96 East 4th Street, Zumbrota.