Return to Niobrara graced The Rose stage in its world premiere and I left the theater in awe and amazement! The story begins with Steven (Kenny Ramos) being kicked out of school for the length of his hair, which the Principal (Nils Haaland) says is part of their protocol. Steven dives into the history of the Ponca people and finds out he is a descendent of Chief Standing Bear (Albert Ybarra) and his family helps him understand their history. They end up going to trial to defend Steven’s rights, just like Standing Bear did with General George Crook in the 1870s. Steven has to find himself throughout the story and figures out what he stands for, while teaching us about acceptance along the way.
The story, written by Mary Kathryn Nagle, was a hit with the audience, receiving an astounding applause at the end of the show. Under the direction of Roxanne Wach, this compelling tale of overcoming adversity truly came to life on stage. It had the use of beautiful flute music by Michael Murphy to accompany the historic set and projections, by Kathy Voecks and Brittany Merenda. Craig S. Moxon also shined his light on the show with subtle lighting changes and powerful colors. Sherri Geerdes designed costumes to fit the timeline and did plenty of research on the Ponca to ensure accuracy, especially that of Chief Standing Bear, who wore a beautiful ensemble including a chest plate designed by Erin Bragg.
Return to Niobrara is a show you need to see, especially with the current state of the nation and the world. It makes connections between today’s political climate and what happened to Chief Standing Bear. The Rose is committed to their mission, which is to enrich the lives of children and families through live theater and arts education. This show had encapsulated that mission, and it held the attention of the entire audience throughout.
Get tickets now by calling The Box Office at 402-345-4849 or visiting www.rosetheater.org today! This is a show you and your family do not want to miss.
Until next time,