Prairie Rep enters season with new management

Todd Vanderwerff

Todd Vanderwerff

After nearly 30 years at the helm of Prairie Repertory Theatre, Dr. James L. Johnson, head of theatre at SDSU, is retiring and leaving PRT in the hands of a new administrative head.

But according to that new administrative head, Johnson will be missed, but his baby is in capable hands.

“I think it’s going to be a great season,” said Corey Shelsta, an associate professor of theatre at SDSU. “I think we’re going to miss Dr. Johnson’s leadership, but like the cliche goes, the show must go on.”

Now entering its 33rd season, PRT features an eclectic line-up.

Leading off the season is Damn Yankees, the story of a man who sells his soul to the devil one spectacular baseball season. One of the all-time classics, Damn Yankees somehow mixes baseball, song and dance and the story of Faust into a one potent blend.

“It’s a good summer show. … What’s more summertime than baseball?” Shelsta said.

After Damn Yankees closes, PRT will produce The Foreigner, a lively little comedy set in a Georgia lodge, where a man goes to lose his troubles and finds himself with a whole new set of them.

“The Foreigner,” which has appeared on the PRT stage two times previously, remains one of the most requested shows in PRT history.

“Everybody loves The Foreigner because it’s so funny and it’s so wacky,” Shelsta said.

Following that will be Caught in the Net, a new farce from the prolific Ray Cooney, which manages to wring comic hilarity out of the Internet and bigamy.

Cooney, who also wrote It Runs in the Family and Run for Your Wife, is a PRT favorite.

“Our audiences are now learning some of the names and Ray Cooney is a name that really strikes with our audience,” Shelsta said.

Finally, the season offers The World Goes Round, a musical revue based around the music of Kander and Ebb, who wrote Chicago and Cabaret.

“It’s got great music. … It’s kind of like listening to a greatest hits CD,” Shelsta said.