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Shakespearean musical slated for Sterling College Theatre
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STERLING — The Bard gets a brand-new beat as Sterling College Music Theatre stages the new show Twelfth Night: the musical at Culbertson Auditorium on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, April 14, 15, and 16. The new show is based on the popular Shakespearean comedy of the same name. 

With music styles ranging from Ragtime to Rhythm & Blues and from Showtunes to Soul all by contemporary songwriter/performer Shaina Taub, this joyful 90-minute rendition was first staged by New York’s Public Theatre. The show has only been seen once in Kansas – by Music Theatre of Wichita in the fall of 2021 while still battling COVID restrictions. 

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night tells the story of Viola, a young heroine who washes up on the shores of Illyria, disguises herself as a man, is sent to court a Countess and falls hard for a Duke. As she navigates this strange and wonderful new land, she finds her true self and true love in the process.

This contemporary musical follows all of the conventions of a Shakespearean comedy – mistaken identities, loads of comic business, a wedding and (spoiler alert) a happy ending. Full of pure joy, lots of laughs, and a deeper message of empathy and compassion, Twelfth Night: the musical is bound to become a music theatre classic for all ages. 

Kaitlyn Lumbert of Rose Hill and Rachel Thomson of Buhler will play Viola. Caleb Brownlee of Sterling will play the Duke Orsino. Countess Oliva will be played by Keeley Coon of Eureka and Aubrey Anderson of Sterling. 

Zeke Thompson of Newton will play Viola’s twin, Sebastian. Jake Pieplow of Sterling will play comic foil Sir Toby Belch, and Luke Harding of Sterling will play the pompous Malvolio. The foppish Sir Andrew Aguecheek will be played by Joshua Morris of Hutchinson.

Mary Little of Hutchinson will play the narrator and clown Feste. Maria, maid to Olivia, will be played by Anna Cortez of El Paso, Texas. Noah Svaty of Sterling will play the sea captain Antonio, and Justin Smiley of Edmund, Okla. will play the servant Fabian.

Those playing multiple ensemble characters include Lily Stansbury of Lorraine; Rebekah Parish, Macy Brownlee, Bryson Brownlee of Sterling; Torey Wilson of Rural Hall, North Carolina, Kurt Keegan of Burlington, and Braydon Keeler of Hutchinson. 

The Shakespearean musical is being directed by Sterling College Theatre Artistic Director Sasha Hildebrand with vocal music professor Marisa Callan serving as both music director and accompanist. Technical Theatre Director Stephen English is designing the set. In addition to being in the cast, junior student Rachel Thomson is serving as choreographer.

There will be four performances of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night: the musical - two evening and two matinee performances. The evening performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 14 and 15. The matinees will be at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 15 and 16. All performances will be in Culbertson Auditorium. Tickets for the show are $15 for adults and $5 for students and are available at or at the door before each performance.