Little House on the Prairie Tour, with Gilbert, Launches Oct. 13 in St. Paul

By Andrew Gans
13 Oct 2009

Melissa Gilbert in Little House on the Prairie.
Melissa Gilbert in Little House on the Prairie.
Photo by Jerry Dalia

Following a limited engagement at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse, the new musical Little House on the Prairie launches its national tour Oct. 13 at the Ordway Theater in St. Paul, MN.

The engagement at the Ordway will continue through Oct. 25. Following St. Paul, Little House will be seen in Nashville, Denver, Omaha, Raleigh, Sacramento and Toronto, among other cities.

Melissa Gilbert, who, as a child actress, famously starred as Laura in the TV series based on the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, plays Ma in the new musical, which also features Beauty and the Beast veteran Steve Blanchard (Charles "Pa" Ingalls); Kara Lindsay (Laura Ingalls); Kevin Massey of Broadway's Tarzan and Big River (Almanzo Wilder); Paper Mill Happy Days veteran Kate Loprest of Broadway's Xanadu (Nellie Oleson); Alessa Neeck of Lincoln Center's Happiness (Mary); Carly Rose Sonenclar, a Young Cosette in Broadway's Les Miz (Carrie Ingalls); plus Taylor Bera, Michael Boxleitner, Megan Campanile, Kurt Engh, Shawn Hamilton, Jessica Hershberg, Meredith Inglesby, Caroline Innerbichler, Lizzie Klemperer, Garen McRoberts, Brian Muller, Will Ray, Gayle Samuels, Dustin Sullivan, Todd Thurston, Tony Vierling and Christian Whelan.

Little House on the Prairie The Musical had its world premiere at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis in summer 2008; principals Gilbert, Blanchard and Lindsay were featured there. It was initiated for the stage by Adrianne Lobel and Francesca Zambello. The project has libretto by Tony Award winner Rachel Sheinkin (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), music by Rachel Portman (Oscar-winning composer for "Emma"), lyrics by Donna di Novelli and direction by Zambello (director of Disney's The Little Mermaid on Broadway and The Old Globe's The First Wives Club).

According to press notes, "Little House on the Prairie has remained one of the most beloved celebrations of early Americana since the appearance of Laura Ingalls Wilder's popular classic book series 70 years ago. Now the inspirational stories take on a brand new frontier in an uplifting new musical. Melissa Gilbert, who played 'Laura' for ten years in the much-loved television series, continues her legacy by playing 'Ma.' Families will continue to fall in love with these life-affirming stories about the Ingalls' struggles and triumphs through the celebration of the pioneering spirit and the core values on which this country was founded a spirit that resonates within each of us today."

Music supervisor is Kevin Stites; music director is Richard Carsey; orchestrations are by Larry Hochman. The creative team includes Michele Lynch (choreographer), Adrianne Lobel (scenic designer), Jess Goldstein (costume designer), Mark McCullough (lighting designer), Carl Casella and Dominic Sack (sound designers). Charles LaPointe is the hair and wig designer. The production stage manager is Michael Danek.

The current tour itinerary follows:
10/13/09-10/25/09 in St. Paul at the Ordway Theater
10/27/09-11/1/09 in Nashville at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center
11/3/09-11/5/09 in Little Rock at the Robinson Auditorium
11/6/09-11/8/09 in Springfield, MO at the Hammons Auditorium
11/10/09-11/15/09 in Tulsa at the Tulsa PAC
11/17/09-11/22/09 in Oklahoma City at the Music Hall
11/24/2009-11/29/2009 in St. Louis at the Fox Theatre
12/1/2009 - 12/5/2009 in Detroit at the Fox Theatre
12/8/09-12/13/09 in Tempe at the Gammage Auditorium
12/15/09-12/27/09 in Denver at the Buell Auditorium
1/5/10-1/10/10 in Fayetteville at the Walton Arts Center
1/12/10-1/17/10 in Omaha at the Orpheum Theatre
1/26/10-2/28/10 in Toronto at the The Canon
3/2/10-3/7/10 in Tampa at the Tampa Bay PAC
3/9/10-3/14/10 in Naples at the The Philharmonic
3/16/10-3/21/10 in Raleigh at the BTI Center
3/23/10-3/28/10 in Appleton at the Fox Cities PAC
4/6/10-4/11/10 in Spokane at the Spokane Opera House
4/14/10-4/25/10 in Sacramento at the Community Center Theater
4/27/10-5/9/10 in Houston at the Hobby Center for the Perf. Arts
6/1/10-6/6/10 in Sioux Falls at the Washington Pavilion
6/15/10-6/20/10 in Atlanta (TOTS) at the The Fox Theatre

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