SUBMITTED BY BETH MCMILLEN –
When most people think of Broadway Musicals they think of Rogers and Hammerstein or Lerner and Lowes. Here in Polk County, when we think of musicals we think of our own musical team, Timmerman and Kropp. Over the years they have brought some great entertainment to the community!
Rudi Timmerman came from the Chicago Area to teach chemistry at Wickes High School. Being a small school, a drama teacher was not in their budget. Each year the teachers took turns directing a senior play usually with a light hearted theme like a hillbilly wedding. When it was Rudi’s turn to direct, he wanted to do something more interesting and plays the kids would enjoy doing. Musicals were the obvious choice. The Wickes kids had a great time doing shows like The Wizard of Oz, By-Bye-Birdie, and Fiddler on the Roof.
Rudi expanded his interest in the theatre and joined OLT, still in it’s early days. He did the technical, behind the scenes things. He designed and built sets as well as doing lighting and sound.
Larry Kropp was offered a position as a Math Instructor at RMCC. He accepted and he and his family moved from Ohio to Mena. The first OLT play that Judy directed was “Best Christmas Pageant Ever.”
With Rudi’s interest in musicals, and Judy’s musical talent, they teamed up with Rudi as Director and Judy as Musical Director. Their first production, The Sound of Music, was a great success. The audience loved it! The Timmerman and Kropp musical team was born! Among some of the plays they have directed are: Fiddler on the Roof, Bye-Bye-Birdie, The Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka, and Once Upon a Mattress
Every year the community looks forward to the musicals! There is excitement in the air as people ask “What is the musical this year? When the name of the musical is announced and dates of auditions are published, the crown gathers. There is always a large crowd for auditions where often, new talent is discovered.
This year the team of Timmerman and Kropp is directing Oliver., a musical based on 1838 Charles Dickens novel, Oliver Twist,. With a cast of 50 excited actors and actresses, and great music, Oliver is sure to be added to the long list of successful plays directed by The Musical Team, Timmerman and Kropp.
Performance dates are two weekends: April 15-17 and 22-24.