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Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Theatre steps into the Shakespeare fray with ‘Twelfth Night’


Twelfth Night

Uptown Theatre — opens Thursday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Pictured, L-R: John Zbanek Hill (Malvolio) & Nikki Scheel (Olivia) -- photo by Grant Freeman
Pictured, L-R: John Zbanek Hill (Malvolio) & Nikki Scheel (Olivia) — photo by Grant Freeman

Mistaken identities, separated twins, cross-dressing and crossed garters will cross the stage this weekend in Twelfth Night, Or What You Will at Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Theatre. William Shakespeare’s early 1600s madcap comedy kicks off on Thursday, July 21 at the Uptown Theatre in the First Street Community Center (221 1st St., Mt. Vernon). The beloved play first appeared in print in Shakespeare’s 1623 First Folio, which will be making its own appearance at the University of Iowa libraries later this year.

Twelfth Night is MVLCT’s first foray into the works of Shakespeare. The play is helmed by Director Grant Freeman. Often the purview only of professional theatres, eastern Iowa has been seeing a flurry of community theatre Shakespeare productions recently, including Theatre Cedar Rapids’ lauded recent production of Hamlet. Local actors are proving consistently eager to tackle the challenge and the fun of these classic works.

Pictured, L-R: John Gruber-Miller (Sir Andrew), Duane Larson (Sir Toby), Joe Williams (Fabian) -- photo by Grant Freeman
John Gruber-Miller (Sir Andrew), Duane Larson (Sir Toby), Joe Williams (Fabian) — photo by Grant Freeman

Iowa City’s K. Michael Moore, who plays Duke Orsino in this production, is no stranger to the lure of the bard. “I love the language of Shakespeare,” he says, “and love to perform it on stage. There’s a magic to the words. A lot of people today are intimidated by his plays because of the language and I believe it’s important to break through that barrier and showing people how powerful and beautiful his plays are.”

Shakespeare was a powerful draw for him on this show, which features actors from across the area. “This is my first show with MVLCT,” he notes. “It’s funny – I lived in Mount Vernon for a few years but was doing a lot of shows in Iowa City at the time, and never even realized I could also be doing great theater in a few blocks from my house. I’m really happy to be able to correct that mistake with this production.”

Braden Rood (Feste, posing in this pic as Sir Topas) -- photo by
Braden Rood (Feste, posing in this pic as Sir Topas) — photo by Grant Freeman

Twelfth Night runs just one weekend, Thursday, July 21 through Saturday, July 23 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, July 24 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12; for reservations in advance, call 319-535-2030.


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