KIRTLAND-The public is invited to enjoy a look into the past in an all-new musical theater production portraying life in Historic Kirtland during the decade of pioneer development in the 1830s.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will present This is Kirtland! on weekends during the month of July. The show features a cast of fifty adults and children and dramatizes events in the lives of the families who formed the nucleus of the early Church in Kirtland.
This is Kirtland! is directed by Polly Dunn of Shaker Heights, Ohio, whose degree in theater education has been enhanced by years of experience in choreographing, directing and performing in many different venues.
“The focus of this show is really on the experiences of these early converts, as well as the sacrifices they chose to make during this most significant time in the organization of the Church,” Ms Dunn said. “The cast of characters includes several well-known figures in Church history, among them Joseph Smith and his wife, Emma, Brigham Young and Newell K. Whitney and his wife, Elizabeth.”
The spotlight will shine brightly on inspiring and often humorous stories taken from the personal writings of less well known early members of the Church like Parley and Thankful Pratt, Jonathon and Caroline Crosby, Heber and Vilate Kimball and the young Mary Elizabeth Rollins.
The musical director for This is Kirtland!! is Dr. Robert Dunn, the director of Music Education at Case Western Reserve University. The original score has been a team effort, led by composer and arranger Sheri McMurtrey, who herself used to live just a few miles from Kirtland. The songs vary from large group numbers that celebrate a sense of community among the diverse early church members to a poignant love song adapted from an actual letter by Joseph Smith to his wife Emma. Ms. Dunn describes a rousing dance number that is pure celebration, where all the characters kick up their heels and forget their worries for a while, from the youngest to the oldest.
This is Kirtland! runs during the first four weekends in July on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. at the Kirtland Stake Center, 8751 Chillicothe Road in Kirtland. Admission is free, but advance notice is requested for groups larger than 20. For more information or to schedule a large group, please call 440-256-9805 or 1-866-584-9805.