LU spring musical is out of this world
This weekend, Lakeland University will stage the space rock opera "Mission Haus to the Stars," written and directed by Lakeland Professor of History Rick Dodgson.
The show is set for Lakeland's Bradley Theatre on Friday and Saturday, March 31 and April 1, from 7:30-10 p.m. and Sunday, April 2, from 2-4:30 p.m.
The show stars Lakeland students and staff and features local musicians such as Dave Steffen, Ross Fale, Doc Mock, Michael Murphey and Dodgson, who has performed his space rock opera three times previously. Dodgson said some details, such as the performance's name, have been tailored to Lakeland for this performance.
"The story has been different every time, and the stage play has been rewritten for its Lakeland run," Dodgson shared. "In fact, since Lakeland used to be called Mission House until 1956, we could not resist naming this production, 'Mission Haus to the Stars: A Space Rock Opera.'"
The story follows a heroine who is selected during a gameshow to be blasted off into space in search of life. Her goal is to spread peace and love throughout the planets. The story is told through music and comedy and will rely on audience participation to create a universally enjoyed atmosphere.
Because this show has been performed before, the cast will be reusing some old props, including a grill cover in the form of a helmet and football shoulder pads with hoses for a spacesuit. Each prop and costume has been crafted out of used and miscellaneous items for repurposing.
Preparation for the performance involved a largely collaborative process. From props to set design to band rehearsal, community members and Lakeland students were involved in the show's creation. The local classic rock radio station, 106.5 The Buzz, has been running spots to help promote the show, and other local businesses and individuals have helped create some of the special effects and spectacular costumes. Additionally, Dodgson tasked his student cast members with creating interesting lighting and sound effects that mirror the "space rock opera" theme of the performance.
"Students are working on transforming the theater into an immersive experience, with strange sounds and lots of weird visuals," Dodgson added. "We are borrowing from the light shows of the 1960s, using colorful slides and oil light projections to set a very 'cosmic' mood."
Dodgson looks forward to seeing the collaborative performance come together. Refreshments in the form of beer, wine, soda and bakery will be available before the performance. There will also be merchandise such as CDs and t-shirts sold in the lobby for space rockers to purchase.
Tickets are $10 and are available at lakeland.edu/theatre or at Music Boxx Records and Lakeside Music in Sheboygan. Lakeland students and faculty can attend the performance for free and pick their tickets up in the student center or business office at Lakeland. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your seats.