A new show is having its world premiere on the Community Players Stage.
Described as similar to “Winnie the Pooh," “The Wind in the Willows” and the “Brambly Hedge” books, “The Last Ticket Out of Thistleberry Thicket” follows a group of woodland creatures and garden sprites, whose lives are thrown off course when a postcard blows into town.
The show is being performed by Acting Up, a program targeted at teaching fifth through eighth grade students about all aspects of putting together a show, with productions held at the end of each semester.
Emmy Hoefer, who plays Emeline, says her character is frustrated at the start of the show.
“She wants to leave the town and go her own way, but she’s basically engaged to be married to a guy she hates,” Hoefer said. “So she comes up with this plan to reveal a postcard and show everyone that they don’t need a wedding, but they can still have fun. She just wants to leave the thicket.”
Hoefer has acted in several Acting Up productions, including “The Lion King” as Timone and “The Hobbit” as a dwarf, and says Emeline is different than her other roles.
“I normally play the goofy sidekick, but this time, she’s kind of bossy in a way,” Hoefer said.
Tyler Rinne, Community Players’ Associate Artistic Director and writer of the show, said Hoefer does a great job with her role.
“I’ve been really impressed with her range,” Rinne said. “In the show, the part asks her to be pretty emotional in a lot of ways. And not only that, but there’s a lot of humor to it, and she especially brings that to the character. She’s just a really funny and energetic and talented young actress, as well, and she’s brought a life to the performance.”
This marks Rinne’s fifth show written for the Acting Up program.
“It’s a cool opportunity for the kids to be part of a world premiere, and also for me just to get an original work out there and share it with people,” Rinne said.
Rinne said that when writing the show, he does not think about the limitations Community Players has.
“I never write with actors in mind,” Rinne said. “I just write it like I would any story, then take it to auditions, and the kids and my production team always rise to the challenge and put on a good show.”
Nolan Marlatt, who plays the narrator Curtis J. Magpie, said that the show has a deeper, more emotional tone than previous Acting Up shows.
“I think it’s kind of a fun show that people should definitely come to see,” Marlatt said. “It has a different feeling, but is still a very cute show, a very interesting show, and will keep the audience engaged throughout.”
“There’s a lot of deeper themes to it that I think anybody of any age can relate to,” Rinne said. “If they’ve ever had to make a big choice in their life, or if they’re nervous about their future, anything like that. Or honestly, if they just enjoy a cute, fun little story.”
The show is being sponsored by the Beatrice Area Arts Council.
Performances are Friday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 5 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students, with discounts available for groups of 10 or more.
Tickets can be purchased through the box office, located at 412 Ella St., by calling (402) 228-1801 or online at www.beatricecommunityplayers.com