Archive for Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Basehor’s founding family focus of Dairy Days musical

May 30, 2007

Ephraim and Ruben Basehor, the founders of the City of Basehor, come alive in "Basehor: A Musical" Part II.

The musical, made up of a cast of locals, will be performed three times this weekend during Basehor Dairy Days.

A sequel to the original play written by Frank Gilgin, Part II explores the lives of the Basehor brothers, their families and events in Basehor from 1891 to 1922. Linwood native John Robison said it took him about three and a half months to write Part II, which he finished at the beginning of this year.

Reading and memorizing pertinent parts of a large book full of stories and facts about the city along with Internet research guided Robison through the process, he said.

"The (Basehor) Historical Society commissioned me to do it," he said. "It highlights all the main things from its founding to the death of Ephraim."

The play includes several songs from the time period and covers important historical events specific to the city, including building banks and mills, the first Western Union telegraph station and a large fire at the lumberyard.

It also touches on national events such as World War I and Prohibition.

But with the deaths of both the brothers will the show be a tearjerker? Robison said it might.

"It's kind of like the Titanic," he said. "You know what's going to happen, but once you see it, it's not as sad as you thought it would be. It's sort of like passing the torch."

Tuesday night was spent approving costumes, tweaking the set and running through the show with as little stopping as possible in the Basehor-Linwood High School auditorium. After a run-through was completed, Robison praised his cast.

"I'm excited now," he said. "I'm not scared in the least."

Cast members will wrap up their six weeks of rehearsal with their first show at 7 p.m., Friday, June 1. The next show will be at the conclusion of the Basehor Dairy Days festival at 4 p.m. Saturday, June 2, and the third show will be at 3 p.m., Sunday, June 3. All three shows will be performed in the BLHS auditorium.

"It's really fun to see a project I've worked so hard on come to life," Robison said.

Dairy Days lineup

Along with "Basehor: A Musical" Part II, the BLHS athletic grounds will be a lively place Saturday afternoon with several performance groups, food and craft vendors, face painting and inflatable games. The day will begin at 7:30 a.m. with a 5K Fun Run. Medals will be awarded in each age group.

A Chris Cakes Pancake Breakfast will begin at 8 a.m. The group has been serving and entertaining the Kansas City area and the Midwest with their pancake flipping for 23 years. The company, which has been featured on the Food Network show "Unwrapped," also challenges customers to beat the all-you-can-eat pancake record of 72 pancakes.

The Kansas City St. Andrew Highland Dancers and Bagpiper along with the Prairie Dulcimer Club will entertain guests with dancing and music before the Dairy Farmers Luncheon, which begins at 11:30 a.m.

Don't forget to look for "Sizzle the Bull," the official mascot of the Kansas City T-Bones, along with Shriners' clowns, who will be making balloon animals.

Award-winning tumblers and dancers from Judy's Studio will perform before the headline concert featuring "Four Fried Chickens and a Coke," beginning at 1 p.m.

The 11-piece band, formed in April 1997, got its name from a scene in the "Blues Brothers" movie and has released two CDs, "Unplucked" and "Poultry in Motion." The band, which performs in the Kansas City area, plays original songs, as well as selections from James Brown, Otis Redding, Chicago, Stevie Ray Vaughn and more.

Free health screenings

Members of the Basehor Lions Club have arranged to bring in the Kansas Lions Mobile Screening Unit and will offer free screening for visual acuity, field of vision (glaucoma), hearing, blood pressure and blood sugar.

The mobile screening unit will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., said Hubert "Hans" Lamprecht, Lions president.

The Lions also will be selling buffalo burgers and bratwurst.

Lions also will collect used eyeglasses and hearing aids, which will be refurbished and sent to needy people around the globe. And they'll be selling raffle tickets for their annual Fourth of July smoker raffle at the Basehor fireworks display.

A complete schedule of Basehor Dairy Days, which celebrates Basehor's dairy history, can be found online at basehor.org/basehordairydays.pdf.

For more information, contact Melanie Morris at 721-1778 or Jenne Laytham at 724-2828.

Musical features

Large cast

The cast of characters for "Basehor: A Musical, Part II" includes Ephraim Basehor, played by John Robison, who is portrayed as an outgoing man known for hording his fortune and hating banks.

Daniel Stueckemann plays the part of Ruben Basehor, who always seems to be engrossed in his books.

The brothers' three sisters, Martha Rickenbaugh, Barbara Mast and Eliza Zook -- played by Dee Lewis, Jessica Robins and Nola Cooper, respectively -- go out of their way to look after their brothers and the household. Kayla Murphy plays the family's skittish servant, Nettie Trusky, and the brothers' mischievous young nephews John and Willis Heinly are played by Alexis Hunt-Frank and Cassidy Cooper.

Lauren Jackson plays the part of Ephraim's love interest Rose Budd, while the part of the town's first telegraph operator Tillman Colburn is played by Julie Robison.

Jeral Cooper plays the part of Doc Johnson, the town's doctor. Shirlene Pouppirt, Cathy Stueckemann, RoJean Mustain and Aileen Seeman make up the Musical Society, Denise Gibson is the accompanist and Carl Robison is in charge of technical operations.

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