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Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, April 20, 2006

Marquee going up at theater

It has taken quite a while, but the facing for the marquee at the Pricness Theatre, which is being restored on the Mount Ayr square, was being put together early this week.

Funds are still being raised to restore the theater.



Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, June 14, 2007

Winners were named in the Jay-Lynn-O Tours Princess Theatre golf tournament Friday, a fund-raiser which brought over $2,200 to the theater effort. Winner of the tournament with a 28 was the four-some of Ronche and Katie STILL, T. J. REDDING and Regan MAIN. Winner of the second flight was the team of Calvin and Roena ADAMS and Leroy TRIMBLE and Shirley VICE, which shot a 33. Winning the third flight of the tournament was the team of Randy and Joyce VARDAMAN and Steve and Cheryl TAYLOR, which shot a 36.

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, August 14, 2008

'Farmer Song' to open theater

The Whitby family of Becky, Frank, and Ruth (left) watch as their farm and household items are sold in the opening auction scene of "Farmer Song -- The Musical," the production under rehearsal for the grand opening of the Princess Theater next week. Auctioneer George XXXX looks for bids from the people of the town in "We Want Some Stuff," one of the musical numbers of the show.

Rehearsals have moved to the new Princess Theater building this week for "Farmer Song -- The Musical," the musical production which will open the Princess Theater in Mount Ayr.

Public performances are planned Thursday, Friday and Saturday, August 21-23 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23-24 with 2 p.m. matinees.

The musical tells the story of two generations of Ringgold county farmers during the farm crisis of the 1980's and the ways they had to adapt to the times. The play follows the romance of Carl and Becky as they try to get a start in farming at the same time that Becky's parents, Frank and Ruth, are leaving the farm.

The play opens with the auction of Frank and Ruth, includes the wedding reception at the intermission for Becky and Carl, and ends with a rousing number about how farmers adapted to keep their land.

Along the way Carl gets his bank loan, purchases a Russian tractor and a used baler, and with the help of his wife Becky's idea, finds a way to stay on the land.

Songs featured in the musical include "We Want Some Stuff," "Iowa Roots," "Ellston," "Hometown Boyfriend," "Need a Loan," "Worn Out Shirt," "Farmer Song," "Russian Tractor," "Oh Becky," "Wild Rose," "Sweet Corn Patch," "I Like Baling," "Alan Greenspan," "Treat Me Like Job," "Crooked," "Farm Wife Song," "Clean Collared," "Honest, Stubborn, Simple," "Old Man Wisdom," "You Can Change," and "That's How I Kept My Land."

The musical was written by Joe HYNEK of Murray and his mother Angie HYNECK of Ellston and received an honor at the 2007 Kennedy Center American College Theater Awards, won the American Society of Agricultural Engineer's Stewart Humanities Award and was performed at the Iowa State Fair and the 2007 New York International Fringe Festival.

Producing the musical as the grand opening attraction for the Princess Theater, newly remodeled on the square in Mount Ayr, has been a "labor of love" by the HYNEKS and the cast.

Cast members include:

Carl Pitney, an ambitious hired farm hand in his early 20's who starts to farm on his own -- Joe HYNEK

Becky Whitby, 20-year-old daughter of Frank and Ruth Whitby who has just returned after graduation from business school -- Callie POORE

Nathan Pitney, young son of Carl and Becky Pitney -- Brian KNAPP

Frank Whitney, a farmer in his 50's who has recently gone broke -- Rick HAWKINS

Ruth Whitney, Frank's compassionete wife in her 50's who has great faith -- Pam POORE

George Brancroft, older crop farmer who is quick to expound his wisdom and who moonlights as an auctioneer -- John M. YOUNG

Latham Calvert, retirement age cattleman with a droll sense of humor who spots for George at auctions -- Chuck WEIMAN

Mildred Miller, the understanding owner of Miller's Feed Store who is mature in age and a good listener -- Sally YOUNG

Edmund Ferris, a prosperous banker who wants to protect the community -- Alan SMITH

Boris, a Russian imigrant garage mechanic and hard-selling implement dealer -- Bill HYNEK

Preacher, minister in the small town -- Gary Van BUSKIRK

Other cast members include sales clerk -- Betsy KEENAN; bank teller -- Vicki ZOLLMAN; town kids -- Allie KNAPP, Will YOUNG, Nick REITER and John A YOUNG and town clogger -- Beulah HUTCHINSON.

Music will be played by Amanda HYNEK, guitar, and Dennis HEMANN, bass.

Angie HYNEK directs the production and Kathy HEMANN is assistant director and in charge of lights and sound. Jane LAWHEAD is choreographer, Kathy BLUNCK is in charge of make-up, Karen BENDER is in charge of tickets, Kim NIEMAN is photographer, Ellen ELLIOTT is in charge of the guest book and Martha LANDPHAIR is chairman of the people working on he wedding reception at the intermission in each performance.

Tickets are on sale at U.S. Bank and the Mount Ayr Record-News. The theater seats a little over 100 people, so getting tickets ahead of time for performances is encouraged.

A special section in next week's Mount Ayr Record-News will feature the new Princess Theater opening.

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, August 28, 2008

Princess Theater shows its stuff with 'grand' opening

Great reviews for the theater and the opening production of "Farmers Song -- The Musical" came with the grand opening of the Princess Theater over the weekend. The production had a full house for six performances and the theater itself drew plenty of praise. The opening continues Sunday with an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. to give people a chance to see the theater behind the scenes. The Princess' life as a movie theater debuts September 5-7 with a run of "The Dark Knight," the latest Batman movie hit.

Here the red carpet is rolled out for the Thursday evening crowd at the theater, which stood in line awaiting a greeting by tuxedoed hosts like Lynn RINEHART.



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Home-grown talent presented "Farmers Song -- The Musical"

  • 1956 Princess Playbill

  • Renovation of Princess Theater

  • Renovation Progress on Princess

  • Princess Theater Opens, 2008

  • Princess Shines

  • Princess 2011 Gala

    Photographs courtesy of Mount Ayr Record News

    Transcriptions by Sharon R. Becker, July of 2012

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