Children’s Opera to Tour Locally

OTTUMWA-The American Gothic Performing Arts Festival will tour with its production of Jack and the Beanstalk Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, June 19, 20 & 21 to area schools, daycares and Prairie Hills Assisted Living.

The children’s opera is an operatic version of the story of Jack and the Beanstalk based on scenes from operettas by Gilbert & Sullivan.

Living in poverty with his mother, Jack sells the family cow to a mysterious dustman for a handful of beans. When he returns home and shows his mom the scrawny seeds, she throws them out a window in despair. The beans, of course, take root, and in the moonlight a magical stalk grows to the sky. Discovering the beanstalk and climbing it, as any boy hero would, Jack finds himself in the castle of a very large oaf and his kindly, but haggard, wife. Learning that this giant has taken his father’s golden hen, Jack, with the help of the Giant’s wife, stealthily takes it back. The Giant, in pursuit of Jack, receives a bump on the head after falling from the beanstalk, causing him to forget he’s supposed to be “bad.” Realizing all the trouble he’s caused, the Giant resolves to behave well, agreeing that consideration for others requires people large and small to treat other people as they would want to be treated.

Performances are scheduled Monday, June 19, 1:30 p.m. at Eddyville Elementary School, 702 Vance Street, Eddyville; Tuesday, June 20 at 10 a.m. at Liberty Elementary School, 50 Traxler Drive and at 3:15 p.m. at Prairie Hills Assisted Living, 173 E. Rochester Road; Wednesday, June 21, 10 a.m. at Cardinal Elementary School, 5414 Highway 16, and final at 2 p.m. at the YMCA, 611 N. Hancock Street. All performances are free and open to the public.

President Dennis Willhoit encourages parents and grandparent to take advantage of this very cute show. “It’s a great way to grow a young person’s love of singing and it’s entertaining for any age and the director manages to work in a little adult humor here and there as well.” He especially encourages the public to attend the Prairie Hills showing. “It was wonderful last year
to see the youngest and the oldest of our community sharing a performance together. It was special.”

The opera features young opera singers from Wisconsin and Minnesota. They are Sonia Cummings, Max Muter and Elijah Schuh. The show’s director is Keswick native Susan
Bender, currently professor of music at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. The accompanist is Alex “Sasha” Ponomarchuk. Costume and set design is by Carolyn Doerr of

The show is underwritten by John Deere Ottumwa Works. No tickets are required, but further information can be found at