Putting On The Show

Missoula Director Katherine Norman and Oskaloosa High School Junior Mandi Vogel rehearse the upcoming performance of Beauty Lou and the County Beast. photo by Andy McGuire/George Daily Auditorium

Missoula Director Katherine Norman and Oskaloosa High School Junior Mandi Vogel rehearse the upcoming performance of Beauty Lou and the County Beast. photo by Andy McGuire/George Daily Auditorium

Oskaloosa, Iowa – Missoula Children’s Theatre has been coming to town for over 15 years now. Year after year, the young people of Oskaloosa flock to George Daily Auditorium to be a part of the annual tradition.

There, a duo of highly trained acting professionals cast and produce a show in just 5 days. They then pack up the set into a pick-up truck and spend the day driving to the next location. This is done over and over for months.

This year, Katherine Norman and Emily Usher have come to town, bringing with them the show, Beauty Lou and the County Beast. It’s the tale of Beauty and the Beast, but re-imagined in the southwest with cowboys and rodeo stars.

For Norman, her career with Missoula was an accident. “I had never heard of Missoula and a couple of years ago, I went to a unified audition.” Unified auditions give each performer a short time to present themselves to dozens of companies at the same time.

“Missoula called me back, and I sat in that meeting and I said what? You travel and you teach and you work with students and you perform. By the end of that meeting I knew I wanted to work with the company,” said Norman

“On tour you have very high highs and very low lows,” said Norman of life on the road. “It is exhausting to travel so much, but we meet such wonderful people and every week the kids just blow us away with what they are able to learn.”

Last week, the duo was in Mohtomedi, Minnesota, this week in Oskaloosa and when the show is over on Saturday night, they, along with any help they can find, will load their truck and head off for Red Wing, Minnesota.

So when does a performer find their way home, or to their apartment, or that place they may “hang their hat”?

“Well, we don’t have apartments,” said Norman. “We live in our truck and right now our mailing address is the home office in Montana.”

Tour actors can sign on seasonally, or for the year. “Emily and I have both been on the road for quite a long time,” said Norman who will finish out her contract in May.

This is Norman’s forth season, and she says she still enjoys it.

The Missoula Childrens Theater will perform Beauty Lou and the County Beast this Saturday, January 18th, at 3pm and 7 pm.

If you have any question, you can call the George Daily Auditorium at 641.672.0799

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