By Sheri Berger
The Lofte Community Theatre in Manley, Nebraska proudly presents the musical, I Do! I Do! I Do! I Do!, which opens July 17th.
I Do! I Do! is a musical about the highs and lows of a lifetime of marriage together for the couple, Michael and Agnes. As they experience each life event and grow in and out of each era of their lives, Michael and Agnes grow in and out of love, reflecting on their dreams and regrets from the past. The story, originally Directed and Choreographed by Gower Champion, debuted on Broadway in December of 1966, originally starring Robert Preston and Mary Martin, and later starring Rock Hudson and Carol Burnett. I Do! I Do! closed in June 1968 after 560 performances and received seven Tony Award Nominations. It ran off-Broadway for 42 years, and has ever since been a popular production for regional theatre in the US and Canada.
The book and lyrics were written by Tom Jones, who was best known for the musical, The Fantasticks. Music was written by Harvey Schmidt, who also worked with Tom Jones in all of his major musicals, including The Fantasticks, Our Town, and 110 in the Shade. Jones and Schmidt, both from Texas, were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012.
Attempts to turn the play into a film starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke failed in 1969. However, in 1982 a television version was produced starring Lee Remick and Hal Linden.
The original two-character play, “I Do! I Do!”, calls for aging the same actors for each era and has since been adapted into an eight-character play of four age-appropriate couples, and subsequently was renamed “I Do! I Do! I Do! I Do!”. This new adaptation also includes some strengthening of the Agnes character, which makes her much more relatable to our present era, since originally the script was written for the span of this couple’s 50 year marriage from 1895 to 1945.
This new adaptation is not only better suited for regional theatre, it’s also a fantastic choice made by Artistic Director Kevin Colbert, who for the past year has had to plan and prepare for a play while possible Covid restrictions were still uncertain. Benji Pettiford, sometimes seen acting on the Lofte stage, will be debuting his talents for the first time in this production as Musical Director.
The characters, Michael and Agnes, will be played by:
Ross Mumford and Lilly Frields
Chris Berger and Anna Rebecca Felber
James Nygren and Betty Colbert
Gary Williams and Barb Nowick
Musical Direction – Benji Pettiford
Stage Management – Miki Valenta
Choreography – Becca Schumucker
Light and Sound – Nick Haussler
Properties – Sheila Hansen
Costume Design – Janet Sorensen
I Do! I Do! I Do! I Do! will open July 17th at the Lofte Community Theatre, 15841 Manley Road, Manley, Nebraska. Performance dates are July 17th, 18th, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 29th, 30th, 31st and Aug 1st. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday performances begin at 7:00PM. Sunday performances begin at 2:00PM.
Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at www.lofte.org. General Admission Tickets are $24 and parking is free. For questions, or to purchase tickets over the phone, call the Box Office at 402-234-2553 from 8AM – 12PM. For the most current socially distanced seating information, please check their website www.lofte.org.
I Do! I Do! I Do! I Do! is presented with arrangement with Music Theatre International.
Sheri Berger is a business minion, dog momma, arts groupie, and is the co-host with her husband, Chris Berger, of the Platte River Bard Podcast.