Coming Spring 2024

Performance Dates: April 26-28, 2024

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The Crew of Camelot Theatre’s Production of 

Little House on the Prairie the Musical

Directed by:

Brad D Fowler

 

Music Direction by:

Jolicia Ratliff

 

Synopsis

ACT 1

It is the 1880s, and the US government is opening new land for settlers in Dakota Territory. The whole country is on the move. Young LAURA INGALLS longs to move west (Thunder). Her father, CHARLES (“PA”), has to convince her mother, CAROLINE (“MA”), that moving west would present new opportunities. Ma is unsure about moving again and is worried about the hard-ships the family will undoubtedly face in settling untamed land, but she ultimately agrees to follow her and Pa’s shared dream of making a better life for their family, and the Ingalls family heads west (Up Ahead). Pa decides to settle near the new town of De Smet, though Laura wishes to keep on journeying (The Prairie Moves). When Pa travels to the Land Office to file his homestead claim, he meets a young homesteader, ALMANZO WILDER, who has decided to settle on his own (Old Enough). Pa returns to his family, and over several months, they build a little house on the prairie (Make It Home).

Laura, MARY, and CARRIE start school in De Smet, where they meet snobbish NELLIE OLESON, who looks down at Laura’s rough-and-tumble ways (Country Girls). Laura has a hard time adjusting to school, and causes a major disruption in the classroom (Rock). All three Ingalls sisters are sent home, as Laura and her mother consider how different Laura is from Mary (How Can You Be So Good?).  

A winter of dangerous blizzards closes in and supply trains stop running. The people of De Smet are running out of food (Uncle Sam, Where are You?). Almanzo Wilder and Cap Garland set out to find wheat to save the town (Blizzard). Mary, Carrie and Ma become very sick, and Pa blames himself for the risk he took in leading his family out west into such peril and hardship (Tin Cup). Almanzo and Cap find the wheat, but Mary grows weak, and her vision begins to fail. Laura reassures her sister and vows to help her (I’ll Be Your Eyes).

The long winter ends. Pa and Ma hope for a good crop (Almost Wheat). At a Fourth of July celebration, the Ingalls sisters watch Almanzo compete in a horse race (Go Like The Wind). Almanzo asks Lau-ra to go buggy riding, but when a prairie fire destroys the wheat crop, the Ingalls family is penniless. Sacrificing her own personal freedom, Laura agrees to teach at a school twelve miles away to help pay Mary’s tuition at a college for the blind (I’ll Be Your Eyes Reprise).

Act 2

Ma and Pa prepare to send Laura and Mary from home, in two different directions (The Prairie Moves Reprise). Laura starts teaching at the Brewster School, while Mary heads to college in Vinton, Iowa (Prairie Strong). A be-leaguered MRS. BREWSTER resents having Laura stay with her and makes life miserable. In De Smet, Nellie Oleson laments over missing Laura (Without An Enemy).

Laura struggles to manage her classroom, and Mary adjusts to life away from home (How Can You Be So Good Reprise). Almanzo surprises Laura by coming in his sleigh to take her home for weekends (Faster).

As weeks go by, Laura begins to make progress with her teaching, but Mrs. Brewster grows more openly despondent over her feelings of being trapped in the untamed and empty land as she must “obey” her husband (Teach The Wind). Fearful she may be journeying down a similar path, Laura tells a startled Almanzo she’s not interested in anything more than free rides (Leaving). Laura successfully finishes the term while Mary thrives in college (Make It Home Reprise). When Laura returns to De Smet, she discovers that Mary has found her own way to pay for college and Almanzo is riding with Nellie Oleson. Laura doesn’t know what will make her life meaningful and happy any-more (My Restless Heart).

Time passes, and De Smet continues to grow and thrive (Prairie Strong Reprise). Laura, in spite of her fears, continues to be drawn to Almanzo while at the same time re-mains unhappy with her life and unsure of her future. She struggles to be the responsible grown woman she envisions she must be. Ma advises Laura to always keep her wild spirit (Wild Child) and Laura is finally set free. When Almanzo proposes, Laura agrees to marry him, as long as she will not have to obey him (Faster/The Prairie Moves Reprise).

Laura and Almanzo marry, and the Ingalls family and the people of De Smet look forward to a bright and happy future (Go Like The Wind/Finale).

About the Show

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Characters

Laura Ingalls:  

Headstrong, feisty, and independent, Laura Ingalls shares her father’s sense of ad-venture and love for life.
 
In real life: Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957) became one of the most be-loved children’s authors of all time when, in her sixties and seventies, she wrote the Little House series of novels. The novels were the inspiration for a long-running television series, as well as Little House on the Prairie, the Musical. 
 

Charles “Pa” Ingalls: 

 Laura’s father. A hunter, trapper, carpenter, and adventurer, Pa is constantly seeking a better life for his family.

In real life: Charles Philip Ingalls (1836-1902) was born in New York State.  Charles Ingalls spent much of his life moving around the American frontier looking for new opportunities and security for his family. He served as a Justice of the Peace in De Smet, and was respected as one of the town’s founding citizens.

 

Caroline “Ma” Ingalls:  

Laura’s mother. Gentle and caring, but strong and determined, Ma wants her daughters to have an education and lead civilized lives. 

In real life: Caroline Lake Quiner Ingalls (1839-1924) was born in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. After working as a teacher, she married Charles Ingalls. She lived in De Smet, South Dakota from 1880 until her death in 1924.
 
 

Mary Ingalls: 

 
Laura’s oldest sister; sweet, patient, and well- behaved with a passion for learning, Mary goes blind after a bout of scarlet fever.
 
In real life: Mary Amelia Ingalls (1865-1928) went blind at age 14 in 1879 after an illness and stroke. She attended the Iowa College for the Blind, graduating in 1889. After college, she returned to De Smet, and later moved to Carrie’s home in Keystone, South Dakota, where she died in 1928.
 

Carrie Ingalls:  

 
Laura’s younger sister, who looks up to and ad-mires Laura and Mary.
 
In real life: Caroline Celestia “Carrie” In-galls (1870-1946) grew up to be a newspaper editor in Keystone, South Dakota, the town at the base of Mount Rushmore.
 

Mr. Boast:

 
a friend of Pa’s in De Smet, who is also filing a home-stead claim near De Smet.
 
In real life: Robert Boast and his wife Ella were close friends of the Ingalls family. The Boasts were the second family to permanently live in what became the town of De Smet.
 
 

Almanzo Wilder: 

 
a young home-steader in De Smet, who eventually marries Laura Ingalls.
 
In real life: Almanzo James Wilder (1857-1949) grew up in New York State before moving west to Minnesota and South Dakota. In 1885, he married Laura Ingalls. In 1894, Laura and Almanzo moved to Mansfield, Missouri, where they lived at Rocky Ridge Farm. A master woodworker, Almanzo carved many pieces of furniture at Rocky Ridge. His name was actually pronounced Al-MAN-zo. 
 
 

Mr. Oleson:

 
the owner of the General Store in De Smet.
 
In real life: William Owens and his wife Margaret ran a store in the town of Walnut Grove, Minnesota, when the Ingalls family lived there. In her books, Laura changed their last name to “Oleson.”
 
 

Miss Wilder:

 
Laura, Mary, and Carrie’s schoolteacher in De Smet; Almanzo Wilder’s sister.
 
In real life: Eliza Jane Wilder was Alman-zo’s bossy older sister and Laura’s teacher in De Smet. She appears in Laura’s books Farmer Boy and Little Town on the Prairie. Called “E.J.” by her family and friends, she eventually moved to Louisiana, and be-came a key figure in Rose Wilder’s life.
 
 

Willie Oleson:

 
a schoolmate of the Ingalls girls; the younger brother of Nellie Oleson.
 
In real life: Willie Owens was Nellie Ow-en’s younger brother. He later went blind in an accident with firecrackers; he went to a college for the blind as well.
 
 

Cap Garland:

 
a schoolmate of the Ingalls girls and a friend of Almanzo Wilder; he and Almanzo go find wheat on the prairie during the hard winter.
 
In real life: Oscar Edmund Garland, known as “Cap,” was one of Laura’s school-mates in De Smet. Before Almanzo began courting her, Laura had a bit of a crush on Cap. Cap Garland died in 1891 near De Smet in a farm machinery explosion.
 
 

Nellie Oleson:  

 
Laura’s arch- enemy; the snooty, haughty, and manipulative daughter of
a town storekeeper.
 
In real life: The character of Nellie Ole-son is based on three of Laura’s childhood classmates: Nellie Owens, Genevieve Mas-ters, and Stella Gilbert. Nellie Owens was the daughter of a storekeeper in Walnut Grove. Genny Masters knew Laura in both Walnut Grove and De Smet, and served as the ba-sis for Nellie in Little Town on the Prairie and These Happy Golden Years. Stella Gilbert was briefly interested in Almanzo, before Laura and Almanzo began courting.
 
 

Mary Power:

 
one of Nellie Oleson’s best friends.
 
In real life: Mary Power was one of Laura’s best friends during her teenage years in De Smet. She married a banker, and lived across the street from Ma and Pa Ingalls for many years.
 
 

Ida: 

 
another of Nellie Oleson’s best friends.
 
In real life: Ida Brown’s real name was Ida B. Wright, and she was the adopted daughter of De Smet’s Reverend Brown. Ida Brown and her beau Elmer McConnell were the witnesses at Laura and Almanzo’s wedding.
 

Dr. Tann:

 
a doctor who cares for Mary when she is going blind.
 
In real life: Dr. Tann appears in Laura’s novel Little House on the Prairie. George A. Tann was an African American doctor who cared for the Ingalls family when they contracted malaria in Kansas.
 

Mrs. Loftus: 

 
a townswoman of De Smet.
 
In real life: Daniel Loftus was a store-keeper in De Smet. When Almanzo and Cap Garland brought the much-needed wheat to town in the long winter, Mr. Loftus paid for it… then tried to make a handsome profit! Daniel Loftus and his wife are buried in the De Smet Cemetery.
 
 

Mr. Brewster:

 
a homesteader who hires Laura for her first teaching position.
 
In real life: The unpleasant “Brewster” family in These Happy Golden Years is based on the Bouchie family that lived twelve miles south of De Smet. Mr. Brewster was a cousin of Robert Boast.
 
 

Mrs. Lib Brewster:  

 
Mr. Brewster’s unhappy wife; she is having a lot of difficulty adjusting to life on the prairie.
 
In real life: The unhappy Mrs. Brewster in These Happy Golden Years is based on Olive Bouchie. Many women on the frontier experienced severe depression from the harsh living conditions.
 
 

Blanche: 

 
Mary’s good friend at college.
 
In real life: Mary’s College for the Blind still exists and provides services to blind and visually impaired students. It is now called the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, and it is still located in Vinton, Iowa.
 
 

Clarence, Ruby, Tommy, Martha:

 
Laura’s students at the Brewster school.
 
In real life: Isaac, Clarence, and Fanny Ruth Bouchie were students of Laura’s at the Bouchie School south of De Smet.