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Sondheim, Sherlock and Chekhov to Headline Liberty Theater Company’s Season
Sunday, June 26, 2022



“The Hound of Baskervilles” will lead off the season for the Liberty Theatre Company when the thespians takes the stage for 12 performances of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic between Aug. 18 and Sept. 4.

But you might want to call Sherlock “Shirley Holmes.”

This off-the-wall adaptation directed by Neil Brookshire will feature an all-female cast embroiled in  anarchic verbal slapstick and comic performances as they investigate a monstrous beast terrorizing the moors. Tickets are on sale now at

The play will be staged at the Wood River High School Performing Arts Theatre as the company continues its efforts to raise $1.7 million to perform structural renovation and add features to satisfy post-pandemic industry standards to the historic Liberty Theatre so they can stage plays on that stage.

About $1.2 of those funds will be used to renovate the theater; the rest will provide an endowment to ensure ongoing upkeep.

Members of the Liberty Theatre Company revealed their season Friday night on a picture-perfect evening on an empty lot across the street from the theater they wish to call home.

Many of those in attendance pitched in. Betty Grant, for instance, donated $40 of her $400 Bingo winnings at The Senior Connection to the cause.

Company member Chris Carwithen said this season’s offerings will feature a lot of local talent, including that of music meister R.L. Rowsey, who will be involved in two productions.

Here’s the lineup, in addition to “The Hound of Baskervilles”:

  • “The Last Five Years,” which will open in September, follows the story of a struggling actress and a budding novelist embarking on a successful career who meet, fall in love, marry and divorce over the span of five years.

    Thespians promise the audience will laugh and cry while tapping their toes to music they’ll never forget as Cathy tells the story from the end of their marriage and Jamie from when they first meet. The two-person musical will be directed by Tracey Sunderland with musical direction by R.L. Rowsey.

  • “A Night of Sondheim” concert musical in December is an original piece that will be conceived and directed by R.L. Rowsey. A tribute to one of the most prolific artists in modern musical history, it will celebrate the composer’s most enduring works.
  • “I Take Your Hand in Mine,” is a play reading that will be directed by Naomi McDougall Jones in February 2023.

    Written by Carol Rocamora, it’s based on 400 love letters between playwright Anton Chekhov and actress Olga Knipper, who had a short but eloquent love until Chekhov’s death from tuberculosis at age 44. The two were married for three of the six years they knew each other but Chekhov lived large in Yalta and Knipper in Moscow as Chekhov’s health and Knipper’s work kept them apart most of the time.   The eloquent and moving play reminds audiences that love always endures despite the miles that may separate.

  • “Red,” a searing portrait of an artist’s ambition and vulnerability, will be directed by Claudia McCain and will open in March 2023.

It tells the story of master abstract expressionist Mark Rothko who has just landed the biggest  commission in the history of modern art—a series of murals for New York’s Four Seasons Restaurant. Rothko works feverishly with his young assistant Ken in the two years that follow. But when Ken gains the confidence to challenge him, Rothko faces the agonizing possibility that his crowning achievement could become his undoing.

Those wishing to make a donation to the Relight the Liberty campaign may do so at  Questions? Call the company’s executive director JD McDonnell at 208-582-8384.

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