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Murder mystery will kick off next theatre season

Murder mystery will kick off next theatre season

NORFOLK, Neb. -- There is nothing quite like performing in front of a live audience.

Northeast Community College students get an opportunity to do just that several times each year through a cooperative effort with the Norfolk Community Theatre. 
Adam Peterson knows what it is like and the adrenaline rush it brings. The Northeast theatre and speech instructor and director of theatre has been on all sides of play production but is wearing his director’s hat this time. 
Earlier this week, he could be seen offering advice to actors and offering insight to everyone from the stage crew about 1950s appropriateness with dress to helping actors enunciate British accents. 
The helpful encouragement was offered for “A Murder is Announced.” Northeast and Norfolk Community Theatre will be performing the Agatha Christie classic at the Cox Activities Center Theatre.  
The first of this season’s shows will be performed on Thursday to Saturday, Oct. 5-7, and Oct. 12-14, at 7:30 p.m. each day. There also will be a 1:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Oct. 8.  
Whether directing from up high at the back of the theater as he runs the lights or up front near the stage, it is apparent that the actors feel at home with Peterson. The actors were at ease as they asked questions or shared challenges, noting how something as small as someone standing in the wrong spot can throw off the dialogue. 
“We’ve had this arrangement (with the Norfolk Community Theatre) for over 50 years,” Peterson said. “It’s a great experience for my students to get an opportunity to get some real-world experience.” 
Peterson, who has been directing plays at Northeast since 2009, said there usually is one all-college show each year. A photo of that annual play is hung in the hallway at the theater, with the line of photos getting quite lengthy. 
Northeast students are involved behind the scenes as well. Students who are in Applied Theater work on the stage crew. There are at least 15 students involved directly with the play, plus about 20 to 25 additional students who are involved in the construction of the sets. 
Northeast faculty also find time to help, including Brandon Keller, the ag instructor who is the stage manager, and Jay Grote, the systems administrator, who runs the backstage crew as assistant stage manager.
Wendy Swenson, Spanish instructor, and Stacey Aldag, math instructor, oversee prop acquisition. 

“They went out and got all our hand props for the production,” Peterson said.  
Others assisting with the play are Lonn Atwood, who did scenic design, along with Chet Harper, a retired stage professional. Adam Peterson is also running the lights and sound. 

Students involved in the production are Gunnar Oleson, Katy Edmisten, Charlie Starkel, Savanna Vervynck, Micah Goedeken, Yuri Vicente, Hunter Patterson and Charlie Henkel. Additionally, Ryan Hobza’s first year construction students built the set and Adam Peterson’s applied Theatre students provide support behind the scenes.

Others not previously named involved in the production are Amber Doughty, Kelly McKeown, Yuri Vicente, Kaylee Molden, Hunter Patterson, Kat Stuthman and Charlie Henkel.

All performances will be in the Cox Activities Center Theatre. Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for students. Purchase tickets at There is a $5 fee for walk-up tickets. Admission is free for Northeast Community College students and employees.

Photo Play Cutline 1 

Northeast Community College Theatre Director Adam Peterson (on floor) and experienced actress Libby McKay (stage, who is in charge of costumes) go over costume this week during a rehearsal for the college’s next play, “A Murder is Announced.” (Northeast Community College)


Photo Play Cutline 2 

Rehearsing a performance for “A Murder is Announced” are (from left) Sharra Lutjens, Marie Kubo and Gunnar Oleson. (Northeast Community College)



Photo Play Cutline 3

Marie Kubo (left) and Sharra Lutjens practice one of the early scenes for the murder-mystery that opens next month on the Northeast campus. (Northeast Community College)