Ozark Actors Theatre Celebrates 25 Years

Ozark Actors Theatre in Rolla celebrates 25 years of entertainment this year.

Ozark Actors Theatre’s 25th Anniversary season will open with the family favorite The Wizard of Oz, a musical never before seen on the Ozark Actors Theatre main stage. The side-splitting farce Noises Off, also new to the Ozark Actors Theatre stage, will be the second show. The professional season will close with The Diviners, a deeply moving drama that Ozark Actors Theatre last presented in its very first season, 1988 (click here to see the 2012 performance schedule).

After the close of the professional season, Ozark Actors Theatre will present its first annual OAT Jr. production, Les Miserables (school edition). The world-wide smash musical will be performed entirely by students from the region; cast members will be ages 18 and younger.

Producing Artistic Director Jason Cannon says of the season, “We are so excited to present these shows. The audience response to our 2011 season – which also combined comedy, musical, and drama – was so encouraging. Oz is a perennial favorite, Noises Off has often and rightly been called the funniest play ever written, and The Diviners is a lovely play that is our way of acknowledging the incredible vision and passion of Ozark Actors Theatre’s founders. The Diviners was one of the first plays Ozark Actors Theatre ever presented, in their first season, and now a quarter century later as a Silver Anniversary tribute we thought it only fitting to present it again.”

A scene from Ozark Actors Theatre's 2011 production of Annie.

Ozark Actors Theatre is a hidden jewel in the rolling hills of the Ozarks. OAT is one of only two professional summer stock theatres in out-state Missouri.  Located in Rolla, OAT is a non-profit organization.  Founded in 1987 by Gail Andrews-Hintz, a Rolla native returning from New York, and F. Reed Brown; along with a founding Board of Trustees consisting of citizens from Rolla, Cuba, Waynesville and other communities in south central Missouri, the desire of these interested citizens was to bring quality live professional theatre to the Ozarks.

OAT first opened its doors to area audiences in 1988 with the production of Godspell in the historic (and converted) First Baptist Church known as the Cedar Street Playhouse.  In 1989, Ozark Actors Theatre achieved status as an Equity Small Professional Theatre affiliated with the national union of professional actors and stage managers.

Ozark Actors Theatre will also present their rendition of So You Think You Can Dance: Rolla Edition, a dancing talent show based on the popular hit TV show.  The show starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Cedar Street Playhouse, 701 North Cedar St. in Rolla, home of Ozark Actors Theatre.  Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door.  While there will be a panel of judges, the audience will also be invited to vote for the winning performances.

For more on Ozark Actors Theatre, find them on Facebook, and visit their YouTube Channel.

Written by Aimee Campbell, tourism director, Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center